August 25, 2016

Jürgen Mayer H’s Installation Winks at Times Square’s Racy Past


Architect Jürgen Mayer H. has designed three X-shaped loungers, titled “XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE,” for a pedestrian plaza in the middle of Times Square. The site-specific installation nods to the famed intersection’s one-of-a-kind history through an angular X-like shape.

Visitors, including Jürgen Mayer H., lounging on the installation. Photography by Marsha Ginsburg.

After overcoming its reputation as a den of criminal activity in the 1980s, Times Square underwent strict revitalization efforts—sometimes termed “Disneyfication”—to attract large-scale theaters, restaurants, hotels, and stores. An intervention by Snøhetta permanently converted the crossroads into a vehicle-free zone in 2014. Mayer H’s XXX-themed display references Times Square’s more nefarious past life, including the adult entertainment industry that once was rooted there.

Mayer H. fabricated each lounger out of aluminum epoxy coated with vibrant pink automobile paint. The type of rubber turf common on playgrounds forms the actual seats, maintaining a comfortable temperature for visitors amid Manhattan’s sweltering summer heat.

Visitors enjoying brief respite from Times Square’s bustle. Photography by Marsha Ginsburg.

The loungers offer temporary respite from the gridlocked intersection’s hectic bustle. “Lying down on XXX allows for a completely different perception of Times Square and its media presence,” Mayer H. says. “The view goes vertical while you are broadcast via the many of public webcams of Times Square looking down on you.”

Mayer H. encourages pedestrians to share selfies taken from the installation with the hashtag #TSqXXX. The piece, commissioned by the Times Square Alliance and Urban Art Projects, opened to the public on August 24 and is located on the Broadway pedestrian plaza between 43rd and 44th streets in Manhattan.

Jürgen Mayer H. snapping a selfie on his lounger. Photography by Marsha Ginsburg.

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