Tribeca Park Becomes the Nest for Artist's Egg-Shaped Globe

In Tribeca Park, Leonard Ursachi begins the installation of What A Wonderful World, transported from his Dumbo studio. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jun. 28, 2017

A rough-hewed, egg-shaped globe is now the centerpiece of Tribeca Park, at Beach Street and West Broadway. On Sunday, June 25, artist Leonard Ursachi installed his temporary, eight-foot-tall public art project made of woven branches and continents of concrete that he has titled What a Wonderful World.

The materials, Ursachi says, allude to the way Native Americans once built their homes and how dwellings are still constructed in some parts of the world. (He chose concrete over mud for the sake of durability.) The egg, inspired by the ovoid sculptures of Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi, is meant to symbolize beginnings, Ursachi says.

So does the title come with a dose of irony, or is the world as wonderful as it suggests?

“It looks like it is wonderful,” says the noncommittal artist, with a smile. “Unless you want to get deep into it. That’s why I made the world map so vague. You can’t be too serious about it.”

But he can be serious about it. Though he often speaks of the oppressive system he left behind in Romania nearly 30 years ago, Ursachi now talks of disappointment in his adopted country.

“I find it very hard to believe how much antagonism there is and how much hate, you know,” he says, noting that he has positioned the America of his sculpture in the park’s best light. “I’m trying to make it more positive.”

This is Ursachi’s first public art project in Tribeca Park since 2002, when he installed Open House, a 14-foot high, 96-square-foot building that invited visitors to venture inside. (One couple held their wedding there.)

No sooner had Ursachi, assisted by Markku Ripatti, installed What a Wonderful World than passersby were taking its picture, staring into its mirrored window, or just doing double takes. Two visitors from Israel, both in their early 20s, looked it over with deep fascination, and found meaning.

“I see that we are all connected to each other, no matter where we live,” said one.

“Especially in this urban place, with all these tall buildings,” said the other, his eyes riveted on the piece. “Wow!”

What a Wonderful World, part of the city Parks Department’s Art in the Parks program, will be on display for six months. Tribeca Park is at Beach Street and West Broadway.