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Massive woman's head sculpture in Jersey City shushes toward lower Manhattan

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Richard Gray Gallery

In a growing neighborhood of Jersey City across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan, there’s a newcomer who just wants a little quiet.

Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s Water’s Soul installation depicts the elongated head of a young woman with her finger to her lips, inviting the city “to keep silent, to listen to the profound noise of the water talking to us.”

The sculpture towers 80 feet above the Hudson, four miles upstream from the Statue of Liberty. The piece, which will be dedicated on Thursday, is best viewed from the busy river, the artist said.

“With great ethereal beauty, Plensa’s site-specific installation serves as a tribute to the Hudson River, aligning with the artist’s ongoing interest in bodies of water as proxies for humankind,” the piece’s commissioner said.


Plensa also hopes that Water’s Soul will draw attention to the importance of water in the midst of climate change.

“As climate change already threatens to take hold of our beautiful planet, we must join together to protect water as one of the most precious elements in nature,” Plensa said. “It is not owned by anyone but belongs to all of us. Water is the source of life, and Water’s Soul is a celebration of life.”

Residents of the area gave it mixed reviews.

“I don’t find it fitting in the entire environment,” one said.

“Why is she shushing?” asked another.


Plensa says the figure, whose eyes are closed, is inviting introspection and unity from the noisy city.

“It is my wish for Water’s Soul to become an icon for Newport and a landmark that visually connects it with New York City across the Hudson River,” Plensa said. “Just as Water’s Soul acts to unite the city of Jersey City and New York City, we are reminded that water is the great public space that unites and embraces communities as well as people around the world.”

Plensa is responsible for dozens of public art installations in numerous cities, including in Chicago’s Millennium Park and the London Shard.

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Tags: News, New York City, New Jersey, Public Art

Original Author: Virginia Aabram

Original Location: Massive woman's head sculpture in Jersey City shushes toward lower Manhattan

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