Tom Fruin, "Watertower"

Tom Fruin, “Watertower” (photo by Robert Banat)

As either an antidote or a companion (depending on your view) to its uber-expensive and iconic Clock Tower building, Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood will get a different kind of tower this week — a water tower, which is actually a giant art project, a large and colorful public sculpture by Brooklyn artist Tom Fruin.

The piece, “Watertower,” is constructed entirely from salvaged and recycled Plexiglas and steel; Fruin gathered the 1,000 pieces of plexiglas from businesses and buildings all over New York City and the steel from Pennsylvania. This is the fourth work in a global series of sculptures by the artist, all of which pay tribute to architectural icons in their respective locations (an obelisk in Buenos Aires, for example) using the same materials combined to form a gridded, patchwork and playful aesthetic.

“Watertower,” which opens this Thursday, June 7, will be illuminated by the sun during the day and light sequences by projection designer Jeff Sugg at night, bringing to mind a kind of glowing, sculptural, scrap-art version of another famous tribute to New York — Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie.” And as it turns out, Fruin isn’t the first artist to pay tribute to the city’s skyline with a water tower of his own making: Rachel Whiteread constructed one of cast resin in 1998. Whiteread’s water tower stood for two years over Soho; that this one is going up in Brooklyn may be a sign of the changed (artistic) times.

“Watertower,” located at 20 Jay Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn, opens on June 7 and will be on view through June 2013. Daily light shows run from dusk until morning.

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Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...

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