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Public Project with High Line Art Commission

Gilbert & George: Waking
High Line

September 3 - October 1, 2013
New York, NY

Public Project with High Line Art Commission

Gilbert & George: Waking
High Line

September 3 - October 1, 2013
New York, NY

For the High Line, Gilbert & George will present Waking (1984), an image populated by the young that represent the primal life forces at their most formative and explosive stages. Originally 36 feet long, the image shows the artists occupying the center of a symmetrical and intensely colored multi-figure composition. Around them is an assembled cast of youngsters. The artists - their faces transformed into masks by overlaid color - evoke a kind of inner awakening, perhaps the passage from boyhood to manhood, which the hierarchy of the three figures seems to suggest.

Presented by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art has commissioned acclaimed artists Gilbert & George to present the latest installment on High Line Billboard. Located within the Edison ParkFast parking lot next to the High Line at West 18th Street and 10th Avenue, Gilbert & George’s 1984 panoramic picture Waking will be on view from Tuesday, September 3 through Tuesday, October 1, 2013. This will mark the eleventh installment on High Line Billboard, which has previously featured works by John Baldessari, Anne Collier, Maurizio Cattelan, Paola Pivi, and Raymond Pettibon, among others.


Gilbert & George are some of today’s most influential artists. Based in London’s East End, they have been two people but one artist since the 1960s. Creating their pictures in large scale, they have been composing images of our times and the western urban townscape changing around them. From the beginning, they wanted to communicate beyond the narrow confines of the art world, adopting the slogan ‘Art for All.’ They create each picture from many images that are superimposed in their studio. The subjects are taken against a black background and then the images are hand-colored.


For the High Line, Gilbert & George will present Waking (1984), an image populated by the young that represent the primal life forces at their most formative and explosive stages. Originally 36 feet long, the image shows the artists occupying the center of a symmetrical and intensely colored multi-figure composition. Around them is an assembled cast of youngsters. The artists - their faces transformed into masks by overlaid color - evoke a kind of inner awakening, perhaps the passage from boyhood to manhood, which the hierarchy of the three figures seems to suggest.


“Gilbert & George are world-renowned artists who have transformed themselves and their images into icons of contemporary art and culture. With their art, Gilbert & George have imagined a trans-cultural, pan-sexual world of colorful integration and collective participation,” says Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator & Director of High Line Art. “Installed next to the High Line at 10th Avenue, Gilbert & George’s billboard continues the British artists’ commitment to bring art closer to life. Since the 1960s, ‘Art for All’ has been Gilbert & George’s motto, which takes on even a stronger meaning as their art will be viewable by the thousands of visitors to the High Line as well as the street traffic along 10th Avenue.”

Exhibition Artists