Credit: Photographs courtesy of Chris Arend Photography
Stone and marble, 20 ft x 24 ft, 1985
Above Seventh Avenue museum doors
Smyth created a mosaic of a great, mythic owl to “protect” the museum and to reflect the museum’s role as guardian of Alaska history and culture. Smyth chose an owl because of its mythical, spiritual and cultural connections. The work is interpreted in many different ways. In some cultures, the owl symbolizes death; in others, the owl symbolizes wisdom and is the creature that brings knowledge to the world.
Ned Smyth is a prominent New York artist who has created more than 30 large-scale public installations across the country including Upper Room, the first art project commissioned for Battery Park City, N.Y. His international exhibition history includes The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, PS1 and Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.