press release

Ryan Gander's The Happy Prince, inspired by Oscar Wilde's beloved children's story, transforms the climactic final scene of the fallen statue into a lyrical work of art, reminiscent of a romantic ruin. Using a sophisticated casting process with glass-reinforced concrete, the artist depicts the scene of the fallen statue at life size; the Prince's heart, sword, and helmet, as well as the body of the dead swallow, lay amidst the debris, the column the Prince once stood upon protruding upward through the rubble. However, unlike the fragments of an actual ruin, Gander's work is one single, massive form. His work is not a literal illustration of Wilde's story so much as a representation of the ruin as an idea. Sited in a densely populated public plaza at the southeast entrance to Central Park, the sculpture resonates with the surrounding civic monuments; it also invites comparisons between the inequalities of wealth in the gilded age of Wilde's fictional city and modern-day New York. The Happy Prince is Ryan Gander's first public art commission in the United States. The artist will also launch the fall 2010 Public Art Fund Talks series with one of his celebrated Loose Associations presentations on Thursday, September 16 at 6:30 pm at The New School's John Tishman Auditorium. To purchase tickets, visit or call 212 223 7805.

Major support provided by the Kraus Family Foundation. Additional support from Lisson Gallery, and from James Keith Brown & Eric G. Diefenbach.

Doris C. Freedman Plaza Central Park 60th Street and 5th Ave New York City

Ryan Gander
The Happy Prince