Rose III (2016) is an eight-meter-tall rose created by German artist Isa Genzken. In 2018, the work was permanently installed on the northwest corner of Zuccotti Park, Manhattan - 10 years after the global financial crisis headed nearby at Wall Street. The installation is a collaborative effort between Galerie Buchholz, David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and Genzken’s longtime collector and supporter Lonti Ebers, who generously donated the work to real estate comply Brookfield Properties, which owns and operates the park.
Standing eight meters (26.2 feet) tall and forged from painted steel, Genzken’s yellow rose is rendered with vivid, meticulous detail. It is based on an actual rose that the artist picked and developed for production with her foundry Kunstgeisserei in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Enlarged to monumental size, the rose poses questions of scale, perspective, and viewership in the public realm. Its tall, narrow proportions suggest those of the skyscrapers that make up Manhattan’s iconic skyline, and which have inspired so much of Genzken’s work. Also iconic is the symbol of the rose itself, for all its complex literary associations throughout history, and how these shifting meanings relate to shifting values: how roses were once a rare luxury item, and are now a widely available, nearly ubiquitous commodity.
Throughout the four decades of Isa Genzken’s career, the subjects of architecture, urban space, and their impact on the social life of cities have been central to her singular, multifaceted art practice. Outdoor public sculpture has been a key element of this practice, which Genzken sees as a way of reflecting, complementing, or commenting upon the specific character of a given site’s architectural and historical surroundings. Genzken’s monumental works have been installed in other major urban centers as well. An edition of her first Rose, executed in the 1990s, is permanently on view at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, while an edition of her Rose II is installed in the sculpture garden of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Another work, Two Orchids, stands in New York’s Central Park.