The 2.5-ton bronze Hippo Ballerina sculpture, designed by Danish artist, Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, returns to NYC in Pershing Square Plaza West. You may recognize this dazzling dancer from its previous homes in Dante Park, Flatiron South Public Plaza, and the Girl Scouts of America Building.
Skaarup took inspiration from Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and the dancing hippos of Walt Disney’s Fantasia to create the iconic piece. And this time, Hippo Ballerina will no longer perform solo.
The 15-foot sculpture will be accompanied by Hippo Ballerina, pirouette and Rhino Harlequin, pirouette. The trio of sculptures are part of the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program.
Each piece draws from a variety of sources ranging from ancient fables to art history as viewers are encouraged to uncover the “whimsical story or allegory” behind them.
Both Rhino Harlequin, pirouette and Hippo Ballerina, pirouette are from the artist’s Commedia dell’arte series.
“My animal sculptures are a celebration of life and nature and its many intriguing shapes and creatures,” said Bjørn Skaarup. “Each animal is thoroughly culturalized; representing human allegories or use manmade tools, all placed in peculiar and surreal encounters between nature and culture. The result is a group of bronze sculptures that combines the gracious and exclusive with the communicative, distorted, and humorous.”
The sculptures will remain on display through December 2022. So next time you’re around Grand Central, be sure to twirl your way to them.
People can view more works from Skaarup at Cavalier Galleries.
Where: Pershing Square Plaza West located on the west side of Park Avenue between East 41st and East 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan
When: Now – December 2022