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Brooklyn Heights gets stoned; but is it art or a piece of schist?

The Brooklyn Paper
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Maybe it should have been called “The Confusing Placement of Stone.”

Artist and DUMBO resident Samuel Nigro’s latest monumental work — a large granite monolith standing at the top of Cadman Plaza that he calls “The Strategic Placement of Stone” — has locals scratching their heads and wondering, “Is it art — or just a large granite monolith?”

“It just looks like a cement block,” said Mike Lynes, a Brooklyn Heights resident who was eating lunch nearby. “I’m not much of a Modern Art fan. My wife takes me to the Guggenheim and I make fun of things.”

His wife, Teryl, laughed at his boorishness.

“It’s strategically placed in the fact that it’s right by the path among the trees,” she said.

George Knight, an architect from Connecticut, had another idea for why it was so “strategic.”

“[The city] is using it to hold their turf down,” Knight said.

Clearly, it’s the piece is art — after all, it’s not just a nine-ton slab. Nigro actually took one piece of Vermont marble, broke it into two, chiseled parts of it just so, and then reassembled it in the Downtown park.

And you don’t come up with names like “The Strategic Placement of Stone” unless you’re an artist, right?

And many people love it.

“I think it’s very beautiful, because it’s simple,” said Kahori Takahashi, who lives in Queens and occupied herself by sticking her fingers into several holes along one side of the sculpture.

In an interview, Nigro, who is traveling in Berlin (how artistic!), said sculpture “has the potential to create its own place, contribute to a practiced place, or be used as a tactical place.”

“I chose this particular plot of land of Cadman Plaza for its intimacy and how it is marginalized from the rest of the park by being off to the side and of a different shape than the main quad-like layout,” he told The Brooklyn Paper.

But Nigro’s philosophical ideas of stone don’t necessarily translate to his philosophy of a physical location, which leaves many people to wonder if the artist will return and actually craft his statue.

“They should write something on there that is useful to the public,” said Srinivas Srivatsen, who works nearby.

The work will be on display until next spring. By then, everyone should have figured it out.

Updated 10:58 pm, July 16, 2008
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