Andy Goldsworthy in NY

At Andy Goldsworthy’s first solo exhibition in New York in 1993, he showed what has since become his trademark work: sculptures and installations made on site in natural environments with location-specific materials. Since then he has become the leader, if not the only artist working in this way. His latest show, however, is a bit of a departure. “New York Dirt Water Light” is also about the way people interact with an environment, only this time Goldsworthy has chosen New York City, not the rainforest.

He uses some of his trademark motifs like the “rain shadows” and time-based photographs, but has adapted them to life in the city. ”People and dirt,” says Goldsworthy, “are nature in New York.” In fact those are the two natural elements he worked with for this series, most notably in his dirt sculpture, an installation composed entirely of New York City grit and grime collected over several days from a variety of locations.

The rest of the pieces focus on Times Square, which Goldsworthy chose as the epicenter of the city and the location for most of his experiments. There are 9 photographic suites in which Goldsworthy drew on the ground with water and documented the reflections of the surrounding lights as the water evaporated. Fans will be familiar with the triptych of “rain shadow” videos. For these Goldsworthy lies on the ground during a rain until the ground around him is completely wet. When he stands the dry imprint of his body fades slowly with the falling rain. Of course, doing this in Manhattan presents challenges the artist probably never faced in nature.

“New York Dirt Water Light” at Galerie LeLong, May 6 – June 19.