Wake on Times Square

On July 11 in a major partnership with Times Square Arts  a new  artworks opened in Times Square. 
Wake by the artist Mel Chin  is a 24-foot-tall installation that evokes the hull of a shipwreck crossed with the skeletal remains of a marine mammal. Adjacent to the shipwreck is a  21-foot-tall sculpture. 
Mel Chin was born  is Houston, Texas  and moved to New York in 1983. Chin places art in landscapes, in public spaces, and in gallery and museum exhibitions. In 1984 Mel Chin was   Artist-in-Residence   in Bryant park,   then suffering from criminal activity and lack of use. 



MYRRHA P.I.A in Bryant Park
The artist   constructed his piece "MYRRHA P.I.A. (Post Industrial Age)" in the park, during the summer and fall of 1984. Chin used  nineteenth century fabrication techniques to create a three-dimensional figurative sculpture of a female set on a wood pedestal, and placed in the center of the lawn. Chin's Myrrha was heavily based on Doré's engraving of Dante's portrayal of Myrrha in Divine Comedy. 


Chin once stated: “Making objects and marks is also about making possibilities, making choices—and that is one of the last freedoms we have. To provide that is one of the functions of art.”

 The sculpture on Times Square based off of a figurehead of 19th-century opera singer, Jenny Lind.
  Nicknamed the ‘Swedish Nightingale’, Jenny Lind (original name Johanna Maria Lind) was a soprano whose voice was admired by Chopin, Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann. 

People loved her, and she became one of the most adored singers of the 1800s. Lind made her debut  at Stockholm in 1838 , first appeared in London in Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable in 1847  and    in 1850 toured the United States under P.T. Barnum’s auspices.  From the moment of her arrival in New York, Lind was a sensation.  The New York Tribune summarized her popularity: “Jenny Lind’s first concert is over; and all doubts are at an end. She is the greatest singer we have ever heard”. All told, Jenny Lind’s tour is believed to have netted Barnum close to a half-million dollars, an astonishing sum in 1850.


USS Nightingale
The  figurehead was  mounted on the 19th Century clipper ship, the USS Nightingale.   She was built originally to carry passengers across the Atlantic to the Great Exhibition in London, and was then to be exhibited in the Thames with her large saloons and luxurious cabins. Unfortunately money ran out before the fittings were completed, and the Nightingale was sold at auction in Boston. During the Civil War, she served as an armed cruiser for the Federal Navy. 


After the War, the Nightingale was the flagship for the Western Union Telegraph Company’s Pacific project.

 Nightingale`s last homeport had been Kragerö, in southern Norway. The figurehead was lost .  It was rediscovered  almost a century later and ended up in the hands of a Swedish antique dealer in 1994.  He spent 13 years researching its history.  In January 2008 f ship's figurehead once used as a scarecrow on a Swedish farm has been sold at auction at Sotheby's in New York for $100,000.