Uraeus by Anselm Kiefer at Rockefeller Center

Public Art Fund is an independent, non-profit arts organization founded in 1977 that presents contemporary art in New York City's public spaces.
Tishman Speyer Properties is a company, founded in in 1978 by Robert Tishman and Jerry Speyer, that invests in real estate.
Lawrence Gilbert "Larry" Gagosian  is an Armenian American art dealer who owns the Gagosian Gallery chain of art galleries.
Together with Gagosian, Tishman Speyer, and the Public Art Fund, German artist Anselm Kiefer  unveiled a site-specific commission for Rockefeller Center.
Anselm Kiefer  is the German artist known for his monumental paintings and installations layering history, culture, religion and mythology. He has achieved critical acclaim for his monumental body of work, which directly addresses questions of collective memory and national identity in Germany after World War II.  

Kiefer lives with his teenage children outside Paris in what used to be a department store warehouse.  He moved there  after running out of space at his 200-acre estate in the south of France ,  transformed into a dystopian landscape of teetering towers and tunnels to nowhere.  One day, after his death, Kiefer hopes it will open to the public as a museum.
Throughout his nearly fifty-year career, the German artist Anselm Kiefer (born 1945) has never been afraid to wrestle with the past.

Kiefer’s first major work was 1969's Occupations: a series of still controversial photographs depicting the artist in his father’s military uniform and performing the Nazi salute, a gesture banned in Germany since 1945. Kiefer visited places across Europe that had experienced blitzkrieg operations by the Panzer divisions of the German armed forces, and captured himself saluting the scenery.
One of Kiefer  best-known works, Margarete deals with themes related to memory, loss, and German history.  As the culminating piece in a series, the painting is inspired by Romanian poet Paul Celan's searing work "Death Fugue," which recounts his incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp.
Kiefer first visited New York    in 1971 when he was a student.    Later he said:  “I’ve always been a builder. For me, a painting is never finished It changes all the time  Kind of like the New York skyline—proof that all that glitters is not gold.

" Provocations: Anselm Kiefer"   at The Met Breuer  that featured    34 works on paper and one painting  closed a month ago,  on  April 8, 2018.
Uraeus, the artist’s first site-specific outdoor public sculpture in the United States  is installed  at the top of Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens, facing Fifth Avenue.  Tremendous wings span 30 feet; at their epicenter, an open book sits atop a soaring column. A snake is wrapped around the supporting post, at the base of which more books lie.  

Originally, the uraeus is the symbol of the Lower Egypt patron goddess, Wadjet. She is believed to take the form of the cobra on land and having her on the crown of the king would signify her protection from enemies. It is usually seen on headdresses, crowns and the brow of statues of kings and queens . The Uraeus rearing cobra symbol was  one of the most potent symbols of ancient Egypt symbolizing the absolute power and authority of the gods and the Egyptian monarchy. The snake also bring  to mind the myth of the phoenix emerging from the ashes, as well as the Biblical snake, the medical symbol and other iconography.

Many readings are possible,” the artist agreed at the opening preview, though his actual inspiration for the sculpture was a passage from Nietsche’s description of Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance.”

Influential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is known for his writings on good and evil, the end of religion in modern society and the concept of a "super-man." Certain aspects of Nietzsche's work were used by the Nazi Party of the 1930s–'40s as justification for its activities; this selective and misleading use of his work has somewhat darkened his reputation for later audiences.

 " Thus Spoke Zarathustra: " is one of the most explosive books ever published, filled with radical ideas and vivid imagery, it takes the form of a prose poem, recounting the story of a prophet, who descends from the mountains to preach to mankind. Among the many philosophers, thinkers and writers who drew on the work were Heidegger, Freud, Jung, Kafka and D. H. Lawrence, while Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Frederick Delius all composed music using text from the book.

Vessel, 365-day Christmas tree in Hudson Yards

There’s only one developer in New York currently tasked with building an entire city neighborhood, and that’s the Related.    In 2008, Related embarked on Hudson Yards, a type of project never before tackled  in New York.    Stephen M. Ross,  real estate developer,  is the chairman and majority owner of The Related Companies.     Related is best known for developing the Time Warner   Center, where Ross lives and works.    Hudson Yards , spanning seven   city  blocks,  is   a new frontier in the live-work-play ideal of New York City. 

A model of Hudson Yards  in Times Warner center
Hudson Yards is billed as the largest private real estate project in the nation.  The mega development is expected to take 10 years of construction and cost more than $20 billion. 
When built  Hudson Yards  will ultimately offer 14 acres of open space, a one-million-square-foot mall with 16 restaurants, and the Shed, an arts center that will be physically connected to 15 Hudson Yards.

But Hudson Yards isn’t just about new skyscrapers. Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau, the impresarios of the Hudson Yards project wanted to create a new New-York Icon.  

Two years ago Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross promised New York Times reporter Charles Bagli that the firm would install an iconic sculpture at Hudson Yards that would rival the Eiffel Tower.  Stephen Ross made the plaza’s centerpiece a personal project, and started with the wise observation that “(...)every visitor, and every New Yorker, wants to go to Rockefeller Center during Christmas season, to see the tree.” He continued, “So I said, ‘I need a three-hundred-and-sixty-five-day tree, O.K.?’ ”
Now the work is almost complete on   British designer Thomas Heatherwick's giant honeycomb of interlinked staircases, placed at the centre of the Hudson Yards. 

Vanity Fair named Thomas Heatherwick  "by almost any measure the hottest designer in the world today". NewYorker published an article about  Heatherwick
Heatherwick was known in Britain for three striking but impermanent designs. His Shanghai Expo pavilion had a scheduled life of only six months. In 2002, for a site in Manchester, Heatherwick Studio had created B of the Bang, a two-hundred-foot-tall cluster of metal spikes emanating from the top of a column, to suggest a midair explosion.   
Heatherwick designed  the cauldron for  Olympic Games 2012 , and he made a sensation out of it. Discounting a recommendation from officials that it should have no moving parts, he provided the opening ceremony with a moment of high emotion. The cauldron looked like something that should malfunction, yet it worked. Today, the Museum of London has a permanent exhibition celebrating the design. 

 Heatherwick's Vessel ,   the centerpiece of Hudson Yards,   rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings.
Vessel will eventually be surrounded by a public plaza and gardens, and visitors will be able to climb its metal-clad staircases for better views of the area. The steps are arranged in layers that widen from a hexagonal base that measures 50 feet (15 metres) in diameter to a top layer that is 150 feet (46 metres) across.

Heatherwick who built Vessel  said the idea for the structure, which resembles an endless stair by Dutch graphic artist M C Escher, came from when he found an abandoned flight of wooden stairs as a student.  Heatherwick  also  said  that his monumental honeycomb was inspired by the ancient stepwells of India—gargantuan wells built with staircases zigzagging down their sides to allow access to deep water.

What he did, in effect, was to turn the stepwell inside out, lifting it above ground and making it into vertical public space.
“I fell in love instantly,” Ross told the New Yorker. “My guys around here thought I was out of my goddamn mind. It was too big, too this, too that. ‘How are we going to build it?’ ‘What’s it going to cost?’ I said, ‘I don’t care.’”

The Astor Place Cube,formally, named Alamo

The New York City parks department lists 843 permanent artworks on its sites, including monuments, fountains, mosaics and other styles. Astor Place’s cube   named  "Alamo"  was the first permanent contemporary outdoor sculpture installed in New York City. It was created by American  artist Tony Rosenthal, best known for his monumental public art  sculptures. His art dealer Sam Kootz, who also represented Pablo Picasso, not only  convinced  to use the nickname "Tony" instead of his real name Bernard. Koots also   recommended  the artist name to concentrate on creating abstract geometric sculptures.
  Alamo was originally created  for a citywide exhibit, put on by the New York City Parks Department, called “Sculpture in Environment.” The sculpture's name, Alamo was selected by the artist's wife because its scale and mass reminded her of the Alamo Mission.

Spanish Mission
This Spanish mission complex, originally known as Misión San Antonio de Valero, was the first of six San Antonio missions founded by Catholic missionaries along the San Antonio River in the early 1700s. Spanish soldiers used the mission church as a fort during Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.

In the same year, 1967,  Rosental also created cube in  Detroit.
 These two cubes were the first ones but not the last ones created by the sculptor.  A year later in 1968 a cube in   Ann Harbor, Michigan was created.  In 1972  similar cube appeared in New London, Connecticut.

Cube in Michigan
The cube has been the subject of numerous pranks and hoaxes, from being covered in yarn to being converted to a Rubik’s cube. In 2013, a fake documentary claimed a 37-year-old writer named Dave lived inside the sculpture.  There was even a legend that kissing the cube ensured a relationship would last forever.

Cube in Detroit
 The cube was  made out of weathering steel ( trade name Cor-ten). Weathering steel is a high strength low alloy steel that was originally developed by United States Steel in the 1930s to resist corrosion and abrasion.
The Cube was removed from its spot in 2014 in order to facilitate the renovation of the public space, including the addition of seating and more pedestrian plazas. The cube returned to its place in 2016.