Art on the Bridge

There’s something magical about a work of art that sends me an inaudible message from the artist. Usually, it’s a clue that allows me to perceive the work in a totally unexpected way. That is how I felt about the eight artists who won ten coveted commissions for artworks on the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Their works all reflect different interpretations of the site of the former Tappan Zee Bridge and its successor.

“Leaping Sturgeon” by Wendy Klemperer (photo credit: Tim Grajek)

“A salute to the future, to technological advancement, and to change” is how Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong describes the elegant steel arches of Current, her sculpture at the Westchester terminus. Its sleek lines echo the angles of the bridge itself. As its lights reflect the ebb and flow of the river, it is a playful counterpoint to the bridge, which is an engineering feat and a work of art in its own right.

On the Rockland Esposito Trail, Ilan Averbuch’s monumental sculpture delivers a historical viewpoint. Tappan Zee consists of ten abstracted figures sharing the weight of a stone canoe as they traverse a path alongside the river. It is a narrative that recalls the people who once lived in the region and the value of communal effort. It would be hard to view this work of art without thinking of the heavy load this bridge carries and appreciating the enormous effort that went into its construction.

Some visitors to the bridge will welcome the nod to environmental concerns captured in the work of Wendy Klemperer’s Leaping Sturgeon. Wendy says: “I explore the continuity between all forms of life on earth. In this anthropocene age, which threatens vast swathes of biodiversity, focusing on the animal realm seems no less important to me than on that of humans.” As a former scientist, she takes special note in her artistic practice of anatomy, behavior, evolution, and conservation status.

Learn more about these artworks in ArtsWestchester’s July issue of ArtsNews.