Art landed! Massive sculpture appears outside Barclays Center and Brooklynites hardly notice

The Brooklyn Paper
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What if an asteroid landed outside the Barclays Center and no one noticed?

On Tuesday afternoon, most Brooklynites walking past the 18,000-seat arena at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues failed to notice the massive meteor-like sculpture that appeared on the plaza in front of the venue last Friday morning.

“I didn’t even know it was there — I was just waiting for the bus,” said Prospect Heights resident Mo Donalds, standing steps away from the 10,000-pound, 20-foot-tall bronze heap.

The sculpture by renowned German-born artist Ursula VonRydingsvard was installed by crane overnight last week. VonRydingsvard first made the intricate art piece named “Ona” — which translates to “she” or “her” in Polish — out of wood and then sent it to a foundry to have it cast in bronze. It was permanently mounted underneath the circular opening in the arena’s roof and surrounded by about a dozen light fixtures in the ground, so that the piece will be illuminated at night. Ona conjured monuments of the natural world for first-time viewers, once it was pointed out to them.

“It looks like a cliff,” said Ernest Singleton of Bedford-Stuyvestant, who at first did not realize that he was in the shadow of a towering sculpture.

The Barclays Center commissioned the mammoth work about a year ago with the intention to show that the nearly one-year-old arena is more than just the home of Brooklyn Nets, arena officials said

“We’re trying to be very varied so that we feel like everyone has a sense of welcome and that it feels like this is part of their community,” said David Berliner, the chief operating officer of Forest City Ratner, the developer behind the arena.

Berliner would not disclose how much Barclays Center paid VonRydingsvard to create the sculpture because revealing that information would be “tacky,” he said.

Most polled Brooklynites agreed that the desertous texture of the art piece meshes well with the Barclays Center’s intentionally rusted look. But some passersby were quick to offer their ideas for a redesign.

“They should have put a basketball on top of it,” said Kina Thompson of East New York. “It’s too plain.”

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
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Reader Feedback

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If you asked me, it feels very overrated just like everything that else that was designed or is being designed for this complex, but that's the AY for you.
Sept. 5, 2013, 8:32 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
It looks like a giant t*rd.

Massive fail.
Sept. 6, 2013, 8:59 am
Lat Ializrab from HappyTown says:
Looks like something that dripped off that nasty rusted out center.

Big turd. Massive dump.
Sept. 6, 2013, 10:02 am
Arty from PH says:
I heart art.
Sept. 6, 2013, 10:03 am
boof from brrrklyn says: mound&tbm=isch
Sept. 6, 2013, 2:10 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Pardon me, but I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this monument. I don't know where to begin, and so I won't. Thanks. John Wasserman.
Sept. 6, 2013, 2:39 pm
Jims from WT says:
I think it's kind of erotic. I will visit it this evening and invite all like-minded to join me, after dusk.
Sept. 6, 2013, 3:35 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Perhaps you should bring a "boom box" and play "Morrison Hotel" during your vist. Of course, this is just one man's suggestion.
Sept. 6, 2013, 3:47 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
I'm glad Barclays Center commissioned the piece. Brooklyn needs more public art of all varieties. One of my favorite things about Montreal is that they incorporate art into so much of the public space. They even have a parking lot where the lines of the spaces were done like vines and branches of trees. It's not picasso but it's inspiring that people would try to elevate such a mundane, utilitarian space. It testifies to the joy that people have for their community, and with all the darkness in the world of late we could all use a big, heaping helping of that around us.
Sept. 7, 2013, 1:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I probably could made something like that for less especially when this looks like an amateur could have made that.
Sept. 8, 2013, 6:53 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Hi Tal-John Wasserman. Will you
Please learn to speak? Thanks for reading (if that is possible for you).
Sept. 9, 2013, 1:56 pm
Haha says:
So cool, Tal. You've hit upon a new E-Z career for yourself. Let us know when you get your first sale!
Sept. 10, 2013, 12:37 pm

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