Without Stephen Glassman’s eight-story-tall sculpture Flows Two Ways, the view out of the primarily subsidized, middle-income apartments at Via 57 West, a new mixed-use and residential high-rise on the West Side of Manhattan, would have been a concrete wall. Instead, residents now see a 3,600-square-foot sculpture that looks like the Hudson River at sunset, complete with boulders.
“As a New York native, the movement to save the Hudson River was formative in my growth as a young artist intent on creating works of scale and social impact,” Glassman says. Inspired by the palettes of Hudson River School artists, he created the layered, 32,000-pound composite and prefabricated structure from 35 interlocking panels and 400 60-foot pipe clusters. Hanging from a sliding plate system that accounts for thermal expansion and the forces of wind, snow, and ice, the inventive structure appears to float off the building. Flows Two Ways, which is also visible from the street, gets its name from the Mahican name for the Hudson, Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk. Meaning “the river that flows both ways,” the original Native American name references the river’s partially estuarine nature.