One of the most popular New York City icons is the Coney Island Cyclone, a 1927 landmark wooden roller coaster, whose jack-knife turns and precipitous drops have thrilled hundreds of thousands of visitors since it opened in 1927.
It also is the inspiration for Coney Night Maze, a monumental sculptural installation by artist Donna Dennis, also a sculpture professor in the Purchase College School of the Arts’ Art+Design program, which will be presented to the public for the first time at the Neuberger Museum of Art from June 7 through September 15, 2013.
Thirteen years in the making, Coney Night Maze draws on the labyrinth of fences, gates, and ramps nestled among the I-beams and columns located beneath the actual Cyclone.
Rising to a height of twelve feet, the installation includes an ascending rollercoaster-like track which weaves in and out of the darkness, then descends into the distance, skimming the edge of a rock wall that runs the work’s entire 27-foot length. Set in a darkened space and lit by rows of bare bulbs, the hovering Cyclone structure with its dead ends, locked gates, and abandoned ticket booths, evokes a phantasmal nocturnal composition of compressed architecture in which the sound of a rollercoaster is heard faintly in the distance.
How does one reach the track and its promise of a ride? Says Dennis, “This artwork is experienced from its perimeter. Maze encourages the viewer to encircle the piece. But because there is a deserted, middle-of-the-night quality about it, it’s like going into the realm of the unknown. I’ve created a work that people will want to get into, but they’ll have to use their imaginations to do that.”
The following programs and events are planned in conjunction with the exhibition. Click here for further event details.
Neu Nights Out with WFUV Radio 90.7 FM / wfuv.org Friday, June 7, 6–8:30 pm
New York History and Artists’ Responses: a Conversation Thursday, July 11, 7 pm
Family Second Saturdays: The Cyclone Roller Coaster Saturday, July 13 & Saturday, August 10, 1–4 pm
Tour Coney Island and Visit Sideshows by the Sea Sunday, August 18, 1–4 pm
Poetry in the Galleries: Anne Waldman Thursday, September 12, 7 pm
Click here for more about Purchase College School of Art and Design