Virtual Visit: Empire State Plaza Art Collection
Explore the monumental sculptures of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Art Collection.
17 Outdoor Sculptures
92 Collection Artworks
“Untitled” Most Common Artwork Title
16 Site-Specific Commissioned Works
81 Collection Artists
Artworks created between 1952-1973
Ellsworth Kelly standing next to his sculpture, Yellow Blue, 1968.
Claes Oldenburg, Geometric Mouse, Scale A, 1/6, 1969. Taken October 21, 1974.
George Rickey in his studio.
George Rickey, Two Lines Oblique, (1968-71).
Tony Smith standing next to his sculpture, The Snake is Out, ⅓, 1962-69.
Francois Stahly, Labyrinth, 1970-71. Photo taken September 27, 1974.
Francois Stahly, Labyrinth, 1970-71. Photo taken May 20, 1975.
How many outdoor sculptures are there on the Empire State Plaza?
There are 17 outdoor sculptures included within the 92 artworks of the Empire State Plaza Art Collection.
Why are the works of art all modern?
Just as any style has waves of popularity, the artwork of the Empire State Plaza Art Collection was created between the years of 1952 and 1973 when abstraction was a popular style of art. It was also Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller’s preferred artistic style.
Why are so many artworks of the collection Untitled?
The majority of artists in the collection wanted viewers to freely interpret their abstract art without titles influencing their understanding of the work.
Did Claes Oldenburg intend for his sculpture to resemble Mickey Mouse?
Yes and no! While Geometric Mouse, Scale A, ⅙ does resemble the popular Disney character, it also was inspired by early movie cameras. Oldenburg adopted the image of a mouse as an autobiographical logo throughout his career.
Which outdoor sculptor also designed playgrounds?
In the same year he made Wild Rice, Lyman Kipp participated in the 1967 National Playground Competition in Washington, D.C.
How long are the steel lines of George Rickey’s kinetic sculpture, Two Lines Oblique?
Each stainless-steel line making up the Y shape of Two Lines Oblique is 32 feet long and can swing in long circles extending 8 feet from the ground to 54 feet in the air.
Did any of the sculptors get to choose where their works are placed outside on the Plaza?
Yes, several of our outdoor sculptures are site-specific. George Sugarman cited the location of Trio along a busy pedestrian walkway on the Plaza purposely so viewers can visually explore the many curves and angles of his work.