Art In Proximity: The Ego and the Id

If you happen to be on 5th Avenue and 60th in New York City and aren’t racing down the street with your face burrowed into your scarf, you may notice two strange objects in the Doris C. Freedom Plaza at the edge of Central Park, a home to public art installations in Central Park since the early 1980s.

The two monolithic pieces are “The Ego and the Id” by contemporary Austrian artist Franz West. The whimsical sculptures look like vaguely sinister ribbons, their brightly colored structures reminiscent of the seedy underbelly of a carnival sideshow, though it may have just been the gloomy weather that created the atmosphere of foreboding.

One of the pieces is bubble-gum pink, a giant version of the Franz West sculpture “Laokoon” that was a part of the Yale University Art Gallery’s exhibition “Continuous Present.” The other is made up of blocks of orange, yellow, green and blue, a striped scrunchy from the 90s stretched one too many times. But whether it be whimsical or sinister, lighthearted or strange, the sculpture can’t help but elicit a question from curious passersby: which is the ego and which is the id? I still can’t decide.

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