New York

Jerilea Zempel

Battery Park

Jerilea Zempel’s Excess Volatility, 1989, looks like a captured beast. Located just south of a subway station in the Wall Street area, it resides in a triangular site that is completely enclosed by a black railing. Its stalking, crouched form suggests that it has been chased and bullied onto the site and is now protected, but trapped, by the surrounding urban armor. The temporary appearance of this object does not suggest run-of-the-mill public art; there is something startling and surreal in its occupation.

Zempel’s sculpture combines industrial and natural elements. The carcass of the piece is a ragged, green Volkswagen Bug. The artist glued a skin of pine needles on all of the interior surfaces of the car. But, soon after it was installed, the car was set on fire by vandals, and Zempel decided to paint the charred interior a brilliant orange-red in homage to the torching. On the outside

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