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.”