Erwin Wurm's 18-Foot-Tall Box Man Is the Latest Sentinel to Watch Over NYC's Standard Hotel

Erwin Wurm's 18-Foot-Tall Box Man Is the Latest Sentinel to Watch Over NYC's Standard Hotel
Erwin Wurm's "Big Kastenmann" (2012) at The Standard
(Courtesy of the Artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York / Photography by Adrian Gaut)

NEW YORK — Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm, known for his surrealist sculptures of fat cars, blobby humanoid figures, and oversized hats, is the latest artist to grace the front of New York's Standard Hotel with a custom work. The new installation, which went up over the weekend, is called “Big Kastenmann,” which translates to “Big Box Man,” and is on view to the curious July 21 through November 2.

It’s a riff on Wurm’s earlier piece “Kastenmann,” an absurdist creation composed of a monochrome box sprouting human legs and wearing fashionable clothing, made in 2010. The Standard version, installed on Saturday, reaches a whopping 18 feet tall, big enough to attract even the most near-sighted of chunky-glasses-wearing Meatpacking District denizens and become a magnetic attraction for walkers on the nearby High Line. The work is made from cast aluminum, with a torso partially coated in pink enamel paint, befitting Wurm’s signature style. It was forged in the Strassacker foundry in Sussen, Germany.

 

For guests who are turned on to Wurm's signature aesthetic wackiness by the big scupture, the Standard is also releasing a limited-edition print by the artist to be sold in the gift shop. Suggestively titled “Pee on Someone’s Rug” (2003), the print hails from the educational “Instructions on How to Be Politically Incorrect” series. It depicts a woman dressed in heels and a polka-dotted cocktail dress urinating on a shag rug in a luxurious apartment, surrounded by a few other guests, who appear nonplussed. We don’t recommend following Wurm's instructions while staying in the hotel's accomodations.

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