Update: The High Line + Koons

Image by James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and . Courtesy of Friends of the

In the middle of March, we attended a community meeting for the third installment of the High Line and shared James Corner and DS + R’s visions for the final stretch of the elevated rail line.   While the meeting offered an in depth look as to how it would tie together the previously featured conceptual elements, perhaps the already daring project needs a little more spice…perhaps, the High Line needs Jeff Koons.  The American artist has been in contact with the founders of the Friends of the High Line (the nonprofit which saved the railway from being demolished) as it is possible the public park could be outfitted with his lastest sculpture, Train, a massive replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive.  Oh, and did we mention that the train would be danging dramatically in the air, suspended from a crane?

More about Train after the break. 

Balloon Flower / Koon via Wired New York

New Yorkers already encounter Koons’ art on a daily basis when passing by 7 World Trade Center where his Balloon Flower is situated (a red stainless steel sculpture that  or perhaps in 2000, when Koon’s massive 43 foot flower Puppy was exhibited at Rockefeller Center comprised of 70,000 flowering plants covering a steel and soil structure.  Both pieces share insight into Koon’s artistic inclination to highlight and distort the scalar and construction qualities of subjects derived from American mass media and pop culture.  Plus, the work often generates an immediate and extreme reaction, as is the case with Koons’ lastest, Train.

Puppy / Koons

With an price tag of at least $25 million to create and install, Train would capitalize on the industrial history of the High Line and as Koons told the New York Times, “represent the ephemeral energy that runs through the city every day.”  Yet, the pretty steep price tag is a major obstacle for the endeavor, as Friends of the High Line must first raise multiple millions to complete the third installment of the High Line.  Robert Hammond, a founder of Friends of the High Line, is hoping a donor would supply the financial backing to acquire the sculpture.  Such a hope is not a wild idea as several donors have given enormously generous gifts to the High Line in the recent past such as the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation’s $20 million and Barry Diller, chairman of IAC and Expedia, and his wife, the designer Diane von Furstenberg’s $15 million gift, and CSX Transportation Inc’s gift for support the last section of the project.

Hanging Heart / Koons


While the rendering of the steel and carbon fiber train precariously hanging over the park at 10th Avenue and 30th Street may seem a little daunting, its interesting to note that New York is not the only city interested in acquiring Train.  In fact,  after conducting a feasibility study, Los Angeles is highly attracted to Train and so both cities may wind up with a replica in the future.  Koons explained to the New York Times, “there’s some symmetry in this sort of transcontinental rail idea.”

What do you think of the dangling train?   Will it add to the experience of the High Line, or is the project just as strong without it?


Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Update: The High Line + Koons" 29 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=221550>
  • http://rndrd.com Josh Conrad

    kind of a cheesy one-liner…

  • Alex

    Oh come on, April Fool’s day isn’t for another 2 days!

  • brb001

    I really like the Highline and I could see the value a having a train sitting on it (as it would have some educational value for modern city kids)…

    …but hanging a train above the Highline as if it were a corpse in a noose? W.T.F! Aside from being wasteful, I think I would avoid that part of the path. In a city where planes crash into buildings who would want to risk a train falling on them?

  • FRM

    This was planned for LACMA first. It would be a shame to see it realized somewhere else..

  • Booh

    Yeah. True story. The proposal is actually a rather old one. Actually I think it’s kinda funny that Jeff Koons is pulling the old architects trick: I couldn’t get my clients to pay for it at LACMA… so lets repitch the concept in NYC… and THIS TIME it makes even more sense!