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Roving Rube

Outdoor Art

June 1, 2003

Ned Smyth's "The Upper Room", Battery Park City




























Two critiques:

from Killer Essays":

In my analysis, I will have a well thought out argument on the reactions of the public to works of public art...

When an artist displays a work of art in a public place he or she must take into consideration many different aspects before making the structure. The degree of interaction that may take place between the public and the work of art is well thought out by the artists. The artist considers what the piece is portraying and the purpose of making art...

For example, The Upper Room, by Ned Smyth. This is a structure that has chairs and tables, which are created in a very beautiful, pastel colored mosaic. Its a called a room because it act as an interior room although it is part of the exterior environment. A series of columns separates it from the surroundings. People are attracted by the soft pinkish colors and the very elaborate glass and stone mosaics. People go there to eat their lunch, relax, read a book, or just to enjoy the view of the water. Sometimes children go there and pretend the sculpture as a castle or some enchanted site that they imagine. The artist wanted to make a place for the people to come together; to commune and interact with one another. It is a place for the community to take time to relax and to break free from their busy schedule.


As people walk along the path, they can visually see the sculpture, which is off to the side [Fig. 1]...People become physically interacted with the piece, because it offers a place to sit and rest, eat, meet with friends, or simply to enjoy the view of the water...When I viewed the sculpture, there were people escaping from every day life by sitting on the stools reading the newspaper, and talking with friends...The artist told me that when the sculpture was first put up in 1987, there were complaints from people living in the apartments close by. They complained that large groups of people (including Hells Angels) were having loud parties late at night inside The Upper Room...The artist explained that Americans are very fast paced and do not take the time to relax, as do people in other countries...The different ways in which people interact with this piece of work, from my experiences, are what the artist intended upon...The artist carefully chose to make a work of art that people can interact with, a work that functions in multiple ways...As I have discussed, people in the public interact both physically and emotionally with The Upper Room...

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