Kevin J. Kelley
"Con Ed Ball" by Lars-Erik Fisk
An artist and a gallery director who got their starts in Burlington are now making a splash on Broadway — not in the Times Square theater district but on the mainly residential Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Lars-Erik Fisk, a native Vermonter and 1993 graduate of the University of Vermont, last week installed “Con Ed Ball” on Broadway's leafy median at its busy intersection with West 79th Street. Fisk's riff on Consolidated Edison, the New York City gas and electric utility, is one in a group of 10 public art works temporarily situated along a five-mile stretch of Broadway.
The pieces by 10 contemporary artists that make up the display were chosen by Pascal Spengemann, a former curator of the BCA Center
(then called Firehouse Gallery) on the Church Street Marketplace. He collaborated with Max Levai, owner of Marlborough Chelsea
, a Manhattan gallery where Spengemann works as director.
Fisk has been creating spherical art objects for the past two decades, but it's unlikely any of them have a cuteness quotient greater than that of “Con Ed Ball.” It's fitted on a small pedestal at a tilt, like that of the head of an inquisitive puppy. The piece also resembles a space capsule of the sort ET might have used on his visit to the kiddies of Earth. “Con Ed Ball” further appears to have eyes, ears and an itty-bitty button nose.
Some passersby pause to peer into those eyes, which they understandably assume to be windows. But they aren't. A grayish scrim blocks views of whatever might be inside. Some other Fisk pieces, such as “Barn Ball” in the lobby of UVM's Fleming Museum
, do allow glimpses of the interior — which, in that case, is lined with sisal that resembles straw.
Now a New York City resident, Fisk worked for a time as creative director of outdoor art installations at Phish
concerts. He was also Seven Days
' first art director.
“Con Ed Ball” was featured in a New York Times story
last week about the exhibit that Spengemann helped organize. The collective display is titled “Broadway Morey Boogie
” as a dual homage to modernist artist Piet Mondrian's signature painting, “Broadway Boogie Woogie,” and to Tom Morey, creator of the Morey boogie board. The works will remain in place until February 2015.