new-york

Sculpture Garden

Ward’s Island

Ward’s Island, in addition to being home of the Manhattan Psychiatric Center, is where a population of homeless men hang their hats, and it is a grim, ugly, dramatic mess of a place. A de Chirico– style metaphysical mood pervades it, a mood supplied by the huge, viaduct-shaped, concrete ramp of the Triboro Bridge, which slices into the island’s eastern shore at an almost inconceivably nasty angle (with traffic creating the music of ten thousand buzzards); given focus by the mute, monolithic buildings; and given meaning by the isolate human figures wandering down paths—many with a perpetual, quick-glance-over-the-shoulder tic of (dare I say it) paranoia. Ward’s Island, of course, is also home to “the largest outdoor exhibition site in New York City.”

In a New Yorker profile (August 30, 1982) by Lawrence Weschler, Knud Jensen, the subject of the piece and director of the Louisiana Museum in

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