New York Post
Talkin' & Walken in the park
This may be the craziest art installation in New York City
EAD to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria and you may trip over its most memorable sight. In a shady corner beneath the trees, they sprout up from the ground like mushrooms. Only they’re not mushrooms — they’re concrete human heads. And not just any heads: These 10 sculptures are stone replicas of actor Christopher Walken’s.
While the enigmatic actor, known equally for “The Deer Hunter” and the famed “Saturday Night Live” cowbell sketch, has become something of a meme, “Monument to Walken” is an authentic tribute to an area icon.
Commissioned as part of the park’s annual Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition, Queens-based sculptor Bryan Zanisnik says he had set out to create a work that “responded to the history of the surrounding neighbor- hood,” and discovered that, not only did Walken grow up in Astoria, but he was a true fixture, with his family owning a bakery only a few blocks from the park.
“Perhaps the project suggests that Walken’s DNA was imbued into the soil of Astoria, and now Walken mushrooms are growing everywhere,” says Zanisnik, who wants the piece to be both “a monument to [Walken] in his home neighborhood” and “a bit
unsettling.” Accompanied by a comic from collaborator Eric Winkler cautioning you not to eat the Walkens, it’s a success on both counts.
And if these Walkens do whet your appetite? The sculptor has provided The Post his guidelines for representing that unmistakable face: “You can almost draw a straight line over Walken’s hair, and this is probably his most iconic feature,” Zanisnik says. “In addition, his brow line should be straight, his eyes should be sunken with bags under them, and he should definitely not be smiling.”
Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd., at Broadway, Astoria. Free; open 9 a.m. to sunset. SocratesSculpturePark.org