Cube, meet spikes.
The Alamo returned in November and now another piece of monumental art is being installed outside of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. The sculpture, a nine-foot-by-nine-foot cube with spikes mounted on top, is by John Hejduk, an artist, architect and former Dean Emeritus of Cooper Union.
Hejduk’s original sculpture, on which this re-construction is based, is titled “House of the Suicide” and “House of the Mother of the Suicide.” First constructed in 1990, the sculptures are a memorial to Jan Palach, a young Czech dissident who self-immolated in protest of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The works became a permanent exhibit in Prague last winter. Meanwhile, this memorial sculpture is an accompaniment to photos of Hejduk’s work by his photographer of record, the renowned Hélène Binet. The exhibition, which opens March 29, includes the many realizations of the Palach memorial.
Yesterday, people milled about curiously as three very busy-looking men fixed slabs of black metal onto the base structure. Judging by the atmosphere of awe and admiration, the barely completed structure is already a welcome guest here.
John Hejduk – Jan Palach Memorial from March 29 to June 11, Cooper Union Foundation Building exterior, 7 East 7th St.
Hélène Binet – John Hejduk Works from March 29 to April 29, Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery, 7 East 7th St.
Correction: The original version of this post was revised to clarify that the memorial is a reproduction of the original. The artist’s name was also misspelled in one instance.