Orly Genger’s “YOU” actually isn’t just an art installation

coincidence

By now, you’ve probably walked by Orly Genger’s YOUa.k.a. that gigantic mass of lobster rope on the Quiet Green. The structure, which is allegedly a work of “public art,” wraps around a tree at one end and extends towards the Van Wickle Gates at the other. Viewers are drawn to the structure’s unique contour, layout, and location–features they naïvely attribute to Genger’s artistic vision. “After all,” they assume, “what else would explain it? It was purely her decision–it’s not like there was an ulterior motive behind her design.”

Or was there?

The sculpture suspiciously resembles a number of other very interesting objects, which begs the question: what is the real purpose behind Orly Genger’s YOU?

Here are some possible explanations:

paxson sledding on orly genger sculpture

I’m not saying that this happened, but…

Possibility #1: President Paxson’s personal street-luge practice course. If you had the opportunity, would you learn to luge? You would, wouldn’t you? For that matter, wouldn’t anyone…even President Paxson? Enter: YOU. At second glance, it’s glaringly obvious that the structure is actually a miniature practice course for President Paxson to use when she doesn’t have enough time to get away from the office and go to the nearest street-luge practice facility.

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Alums who do cool things: Orly Genger ’01 returns to Brown for installation, You

Orly Genger '01, with her 2013 piece Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park, NYC

Orly Genger ’01, with her 2013 piece Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park, NYC

Orly Genger ’01 has returned to campus for her newest site-specific installation, You. This 250-foot-long recycled lobster rope sculpture will transform the Quiet Green between University Hall and the Van Winkle Gates. The installation will be completed this Thursday, and the piece will remain on view through Summer 2015.

Orly, based in New York, is known for her large-scale hand-knotted rope installations. After receiving her BA from Brown in 2001, Orly went on to receive her post-baccalaureate degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. Orly’s large-scale work has been displayed in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, and The Contemporary Austin. Orly’s largest installation to date, Red, Yellow and Blue, was installed at NYC’s Madison Square Park in May 2013, made out of 1.4 million feet of hand-crocheted rope.

Blog chatted with Genger as she worked on the project’s installation earlier this week:

BlogDH: What was the creative process like for this project? How did the collaboration with Brown start?

Genger: Brown approached me to come and do a piece here, so I came back, which has been a pleasure. I walked around and picked a location, and then drew out some ideas. This rope was originally from Red, Yellow and Blue, which was then made into a piece on the Chicago lakefront, and is now in its third life here.

BlogDH: What drew you to this location, out of the ones you surveyed?

Genger: There were a few options. This one seemed the best because I liked the amount of foot traffic in this spot, as well as the significance of being by the Gates. The proximity to the art department was also nice, because I spent so much of my time there and walked through this green so often as a student.

BlogDH: What was your experience at Brown like?

Genger: Brown for me was completely crucial to where I am today. If I didn’t have the experiences that I had at Brown, I don’t know if I’d be doing what I’m doing now. It created a real comfort zone to experiment and to try things that maybe otherwise I wouldn’t have tried. It gave me the space I needed to become an artist.

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