“Ladies of Steel” Sculpture Exhibit Highlights International Women’s Day and Women’s HIstory Month

Ladies of Steel,  an installation of four sculptures by Judith Peck, is now on display at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, highlighting International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s History Month. The exhibit remains through August 2023. The park is located on East 47th Street between 2nd Avenue and UN Plaza (1st Ave), Manhattan.

(l-R) Reclining Woman, River Flow, Joyful Company, Women’s Nature–Landscape of Hills and Valleys Photography by Jon Scarlet

“Steel is strong but malleable; it can bend,” states the artist. First she sketches, then cuts and shapes steel sheets with a welding torch.

Of her piece “River Flow,” Peck notes,“I like to think of the sculpture like a woman, relaxed in its soft curves but confident, even with its internal divisions, to make the journey, go with the flow. ”

She sees whimsy in all four “ladies.” The figure with her arm extended walks a dog on a leash. Peck left the dog out to be imagined or filled by real pets.  Photographer Jon Scarlet captured the first pooches to pose in Dag Plaza.

Peck’s work is wide-ranging in its diversity and use of mediums, which include bronze, stone and wood. A Professor Emeritus of Art at Ramapo (State) College, during her 42 year tenure, Dr. Peck instituted an on-going program training college students to conduct art workshops in jails, homes for abused children, psychiatric centers, domestic violence shelters and nursing homes. A prolific author, Art and Social Interaction was recently released  by Routledge Publishers along with a second book for parents and elementary school teachers, Dynamic Play and Creative Movement: Powering Body and Brain. 

Sherrill Kazan, president of Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, worked with NYC Parks Senior Public Arts Coordinator Elizabeth Masella  and Shamina de Gonzaga, executive editor of Centerpoint Now for World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN),  to bring the exhibit to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza under the Art in the Parks program of NYC Parks & Recreation.


For more about Judith Peck’s sculpture,


For more about Judith Peck’s books,


For more information, contact fdhp@hammarskjoldplaza.org.

Sculpture Talk, Garden Walk and Cafe Social, July 20, 5:30 to 7 PM

The hydrangeas are blooming, bees are buzzing. Join us!

5:30 PM Meet artist Cecile Chong on the Sculpture Platform for an up-close intro to “El Dorado, the New Forty Niners”.
5:45 PM Tour the flower border with garden guide. Learn about pollinators, fragrance and what’s in bloom.
6:00 PM Convene at park cafe for artist’s inside story that spans continents, languages and geography. Kid’s art project too.

Coffee beverages and ice cream available for purchase at the Pink Moose Cafe.

Presented by Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation.

El Dorado, the New Forty Niners, an installation in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza with figures displayed on platforms representing the 17 United Nations Goals for Sustainable Development. Artist: Cecile Chong

Peace Gorilla Sculpture Welcomes All, including the Blind and Visually Impaired

“Public art is for everyone,” says artist Noa Bornstein, who recently  attached a tactile QR code linked to an audio recording on the base of her  bronze sculpture on display in the historic UN gateway, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, through August. “Many venues  discourage visitors from touching objects of art, but Peace Gorilla welcomes human touch.” 

The gorilla’s outstretched arm elicits “high-fives” from  park visitors while kids delight in climbing  on her  body. The word “Friend” is cast in 90 languages on the concrete base, and Bornstein is always exploring  ways to engage the public through playful interaction. 

To make the popular sculpture user-friendly to the blind and visually impaired, Bornstein consulted with disability specialists. Then during a week of Earth Day celebrations, three visually impaired musicians from the Lions Club LB Band, escorted by Joy Bieder, a Certified Orientation and Mobility specialist, assembled on a bench next to Peace Gorilla  and after a spirited drum session, held  their cell phones to the  tactile QR code and listened to Bornstein’s recorded  description.  Julie Spodnick, a Certified Vision Rehab Teacher assisted. She and  Joy Bieder  also work for VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 

Lions Club LB Band: Musicans Robert Weeks, Alex Barrera, Braulio Thorne

What’s next? A label in Braille and English will be mounted next to the  tactile QR code, which was  produced in brass by Visual Mechanics, a neighbor of Bornstein’s studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn  

The tactile QR code was suggested by Nitza Danieli, who works as a contract artist educator with the visually impaired at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bornstein also consulted with Maia Scott, a blind artist and teacher in San Francisco,  and actress Dawn Del Orbe, who records audio guides for museums. The “look but don’t touch” rule is giving way to more inclusive approaches. Some exhibits include “beacons ” that emit pleasant natural sounds to guide the  blind to a location. 

Also on display through August are three sculptures of larger-than-life  human figures by Jim Rennert curated by Sherrill Kazan, president of Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, in collaboration with NYC Parks Arts & Antiquities. 

“Public art is  a universal language and integral to the city’s renewal. Both exhibits invite public interaction,” says Kazan. “It’s fitting that Peace Gorilla is located in this hub of diversity, a park named after Nobel Peace Laureate Dag Hammarskjold,  the second Secretary General of the United Nations.” 

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is located on East 47th Street between UN Plaza (1st Ave.) and 2nd Ave, Manhattan. Public art exhibitions are organized through NYC Art in the Parks.

(CLICK ON THIS LINK): Photos and Video – Peace Gorilla Says (noabornstein.com)


Sculpture: Bronze, 45” h x 48” x 48”, 400 lbs

Base: Concrete, 8” h x 48” x 48”, 400 lbs

On the top of the base, “Friend” in the six official languages of the United Nations appears under the title “Peace Gorilla”followed by the subtitle: “Shalom, Salaam, Tomodachi” (“Hello, Peace, Friend,” in Hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese). These are the words that Bornstein, a perpetual language student, seemed to hear as the gorilla “reached out her arm” during the process of creation. 

The word “Friend” in 90 languages is set into the four sides and top of the base  from templates made by Visual Mechanics. The concrete base was created by Oso Industries with assistance from Wellstone NYC Custom Woodworking—all neighbors of Bornstein in the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC). The original gorilla was made of sisal fiber and burlap in structolite and plaster over wire mesh and metal. The bronze casting was produced at Bedi-Makky Art Foundry in Greenpoint Brooklyn, using the traditional French sand-casting method.


Frog Prince and Wood Fairy Sculpture by Ailene Fields

Ailene Fields is an American sculptor who works in stone, bronze and acrylic. Themes in her work are evocative of dreams and magic, calling forth the qualities that make us human. Her sculptures often feature animals, mythological figures and architectural elements.


Starting in late 2019 and running through summer 2020, in conjunction with Six Summit Gallery, Fields is exhibiting three public art installations of fantastical representational works at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Bella Abzug Park at Hudson Yards and Port Authority Bus Terminal. The two pieces in Hammarskjold Plaza are titled Frog Prince and Wood Fairy

Born Eileen Rubin in 1948 in Brooklyn, New York, she graduated with a degree in English and Greek mythology from Lehman College in 1973. A self-taught potter, she studied the human figure with Bruno Lucchesi at The New School for Social Research in 1980. Lucchesi sent her to Sculpture Center, New York City to further her practical education as a sculptor.

Fields’ first one-person exhibition was in 1987 at the Lavaggi Gallery in New York City. Since then, her work has been continually exhibited in American art galleries, and she has been represented at over 25 group exhibitions in the U.S. Solo museum exhibitions include the Bergen Museum of Art & Science, Paramus, New Jersey, and The Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida. She has taught stone carving at Sculpture Center and The Educational Alliance in NYC and is currently teaching at The Compleat Sculptor in New York City, one of the largest sculpture suppliers in the world, which she co-owns with her husband, Marc Fields.


Environmental Sculpture


Marcos Lutyens’ Universal Solvent is a bench sculpture with a sound component echoing the artist’s environmental  concerns. The bench is made out of water-jet cut, polished aluminum that mimics the appearance of a calm body of water marked by ripples in the contrasting, etched surface. Swipe the QR code posted on the nearby sign to hear a sound recording that explores myths and realities linked to water, an essential element to  life on planet Earth.

Curated by KJ Baysa and Qiuxiao Kun in collaboration with the UN Development Program and exhibited in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza by Art in the Parks, NYC Parks & Recreation Art & Antiquities.

Sculptures: “Beyond the Edge”

hammond-sculpture-enhancedHamptons-based artist Phyllis Hammond has created five new sculptures for Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, entitled Tempo, Alien, Flying, Gateway, and Sign of Freedom. Exhibited together under the title Beyond the Edge, the steel and aluminum sculptures feature narrow stem-like bases topped by whimsical, kinetic elements that rotate in the wind. Hammond uses an improvisational method to create her colorful, large-scale sculptures. The metal cutouts are based on playful, looping doodles on paper that she scans and modifies using a computer program. Once the drawings have been refined digitally, the designs are cut from sheets of metal using a water jet machine. After the metal shapes are hammered, bent and welded into curved shapes, they are powder-coated with brightly colored paint.

Sculpture: Dialogue for Peace by Mazeredo

sculpture dove

Dove Sculpture

Mazeredo is a Brazilian artist from Rio de Janeiro whose works have been displayed in Brazil, Europe and major US cities. Recently, she was honoured in Paris, where her Dialogue exhibit was on display at the festival Le Lavage Du Madeleine. When Pope Francis visited Rio in 2013, he personally blessed her St. Francis and White Dove sculpture, which then went on public display at Lido Square in Copacabana. She started her Dialogue for Peace sculpture series in 2013 to generate awareness that dialogue between cultures through art plays a crucial role in fostering peace and understanding. The white sculpture represents the dove of peace. The two red and green sculptures  symbolize a butterfly (freedom) and two lips (dialogue). Notice how the pieces of white sculpture interlock and connect.