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Massive Mowing Picasso Will Stay in Brooklyn a Little Lawnger

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Picasso’s green period ain’t over yet. A 10-foot-tall sculpture of the Spanish artist cutting grass was supposed to be taken down this week, but the massive tribute to the striped one just got a four-week extension.

Elliott Arkin working on “The Spanish Gardener.” (Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative)

“The Spanish Gardener,” hilariously tending to an empty lot at the corner of Degraw Street and Columbia Streets, is the work of Elliott Arkin. The Brooklyn artist created a much smaller version in 2009 as part of his A Peaceable Kingdom series, featuring lawn gnomes of Georgia O’Keefe planting flowers, Van Gogh sewing seeds, and a speedo-wearing Andy Warhol filling up a kiddie pool from atop one of his trademark Brillo boxes. Other irreverent sculptures depict Ai Weiwei flipping the bird and art critic Charlie Finch cannibalizing gallerists Mary Boone and Jeffrey Deitch.

A press release from the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, the non-profit that oversees the waterfront greenway from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge, explains the possible meanings behind the grass-cutting cubist.

In overview, the piece can be seen as a salutation to the common man. A gardening lawn gnome also can have many other implications as it compares artists to caretakers, planting ideas and doing the work that shapes our space and world. It also playfully juxtaposes the artist/patron/viewer relationship and is a satire on the on the art world with political, environmental, and social commentary.

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative unveiled the sculpture on June 1 and tweeted today that its run would be extended to August 10th “due to popular demand.” If you’re headed to the Formula E electric car races in Red Hook this weekend, you may want to check it out.




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