Wake: NYC Times Square

“Wake” Sculpture by Mel Chin Created in Collaboration with UNC Asheville — Opens in New York’s Times Square

UNC Online | July 19, 2018 | By Communications

Designed, engineered, sculpted and fabricated in UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, Mel Chin’s Wake sculptural installation was officially unveiled in New York City’s Times Square at a public and media event on July 11, 2018.

UNC Asheville students and faculty from mechatronics engineering, art, and other disciplines began working in August with Chin, the conceptual artist was the university’s Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow in fall semester 2017. Work on the project continued into July when the sculpture was trucked in many pieces from Asheville to New York City. The STEAM Studio team worked round the clock in shifts from July 8 until early morning on July 11 to complete installation of Wake.

Wake is paired with Unmoored, a mixed reality work presenting a digital vision of a future Times Square after many years of sea level rise. Chin takes on the 19th century origins of celebrity and marketing, our changing relationship with nature, and the 21st century ability to project an audience deep into the future through technology. Read the full story.

Wake Comes to Life

Visiting Artists & Collaborators

In addition to UNCA students, faculty and staff, an incredible group of artists and fabricators lent their talents to the realization of Wake. We are incredibly grateful for their work and for the time they shared with our team and our students. Several of the lead artists and fabricators are highlighted below.

Sandra Sell

Sandra Sell took lead on the assemblage and carving of Jenny’s skirt. Using chainsaws and grinders, Sell expertly crafted the folds. She worked with Sculpture student Jeb Hedgecock to translate the digital model of the skirt into the real thing.

Nina Nichols

Nina Nichols created and executed the paint plan for the entire piece making newly processed wood and fiberglass look like it had weathered a century and a half on the ocean floor. Nichols also taught our students and staff how to work with foam, fiberglass, and resin to create Jenny’s bodice, arms, and head.

Justin Turcotte

Justin Turcotte supported all fabrication efforts, including the intricate I-Beam base for the ship. He worked with UNCA faculty Jordan Krutsch to fabricate the rib structures. His expertise in forming and welding steel in addition to moving it around a jobsite safely was instrumental in the fabrication and installation.

Charles Tucker

Charles Tucker brought an incredible crew of folks with him from Ohio in the final weeks ahead of the installation. He and his crew jumped in and took charge of the rib carving and handrail fabrication. Their work was critical for getting the piece finished in time.

In the News

Meet Jenny Lind on Times Square, NYC

Nordstjernan | August 19, 2018
An installation in central New York City showcases the world renowned Swedish singer. Read More

Waking up in NYC: Mel Chin + UNC Asheville in Times Square

AVL Today | July 19, 2018 | Mary Willison
After months in the making, local artist Mel Chin’s sculpture, Wake, which he worked on with a team of students, faculty and community artists in UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, was revealed to the public last week in Times Square. Read More

Mel Chin creation (with UNC-A) opens in NY’s Times Square

The Tribune Papers | July 19, 2018
Designed, engineered, sculpted and fabricated in UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, Mel Chin’s Wake sculptural installation was officially unveiled in New York City’s Times Square at a public and media event held July 11. Read More

Sink or Sink: Mel Chin in Times Square

Art in America | July 17, 2018 | by Sean J Patrick Carney
Surveying the spectacular bedlam around me, I spotted my mark: a large carcass of a wooden ship beached at the southern part of the square near 46th and Broadway, the ribs of its armature jutting skyward. Read More

Mel Chin’s “Wake” and “Unmoored” Unveiled in Times Square

BLOUIN ARTINFO | July 18, 2018
Times Square Arts in collaboration with Queens Museum and No Longer Empty is showcasing Mel Chin’s large-scale sculpture “Wake” and mixed reality public art project “Unmoored” — developed with Microsoft — to explore a surrealistic experience of rising waters in Times Square. The works are on view through September 5 as part of “Mel Chin: All Over the Place.” Read More

This Mixed-Reality Art Project Submerges Times Square

Culture Trip | July 16, 2018 | by Rachel Gould, Art & Design Editor
At the intersection of art and technology, Mel Chin’s large-scale animatronic sculpture, Wake, and its mixed-reality counterpart, Unmoored, are now on view in Times Square. The landmark public art project gives a glimpse of the world’s dystopian future should climate change remain unchecked. Read More

Mel Chin Takes Over Times Square

Glasstire | July 13, 2018 | by Paula Newton
Glasstire is proud to report on Houston native Mel Chin and his various art projects across the globe and now he’s taken over Times Square in New York City. The conceptual artist has dealt with political issues before and now he’s addressing climate change head on. Read More

Times Square floods in ‘Unmoored,’ an AR art experience by Mel Chin and Microsoft

Glasstire | July 12, 2018 | by Shaye Weaver
Like something out of a natural disaster film like “The Day After Tomorrow,” Times Square is submerged underwater and boats have replaced car traffic in a new augmented reality experience by artist Mel Chin called “Unmoored.” Read More

Art exhibit shows New York’s Times Square submerged in water

Al Jazeera | July 12, 2018 | by Kristen Saloomey | VIDEO
The exhibition by Mel Chin shows the observer the links between the shipping that helped make New York City a global commercial hub and the consumption that drives climate change.Read More

Artist Mel Chin Floods Times Square With Virtual Reality Art to Sound the Alarm on Climate Change

Artnet News | July 12, 2018 | by Sarah Cascone
Visitors to New York’s Times Square can sink deep beneath the ocean waves this summer with Wake and Unmoored, a two-part mixed reality art installation from conceptual artist Mel Chin. Read More

Experience A Submerged Times Square Using Mixed Reality

Architect | July 12, 2018 | by Ayda Ayoubi
Artist Mel Chin’s “Unmoored” imagines a future where New York’s Midtown Manhattan is submerged in water. Read More

Artist Mel Chin’s Animatronic Sculpture Officially Unveiled Today In Times Square

Broadway World | July 11, 2018 | BWW News Desk
Visitors will be invited to engage with the sixty-foot animatronic installation Wake, which evokes the hull of a 19th century shipwreck crossed with the skeletal remains of a marine mammal. Read More

U.S. artist ‘floods’ Times Square to bring climate change to life

Reuters | July 11, 2018 | Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Manhattan’s Times Square was “flooded” on Wednesday in a multi-media art display aiming to show how climate change could lead to sea levels rising over low-lying sections of New York City. Read More

Video Coverage

Wake: UNC Asheville Students collaborate with renowned artist Mel Chin
April 13, 2018

UNC Asheville students work on tall order to be installed on Times Square NYC
WLOS News 13 | June 25, 2018

Wake: From UNC Asheville to Times Square (Brent Skidmore)
UNC Asheville | June 28, 2018

Wake: From UNC Asheville to Times Square (Elijah Nonamaker)
UNC Asheville | July 2, 2018

Wake: From UNC Asheville to Times Square (Kaitlin Thomas)
UNC Asheville | July 6, 2018

Wake: UNC Asheville students combine art and engineering.
UNC Asheville | July 9, 2018

UNC Asheville sculpture arrives in Times Square
WLOS News 13 | July 10, 2018

Working Hard in Times Square
UNC Asheville (Facebook) | July 11, 2018

“Unmoored” by Mel Chin
Ashvegas | July 11, 2018

Unmoored and Wake in Times Square by the Artist Mel Chin
Travel and Adventure | July 11, 2018

The Making of the Exhibition for “Wake” by Mel Chin
Travel and Adventure | July 11, 2018

Behind the scenes of Unmoored with artist Mel Chin
>Microsoft | July 11, 2018

Thought Provoking Art Installation
ABC 7 Eyewitness News | July 11, 2018

Mixed media art exhibition imagines Times Square underwater
World News | July 12, 2018

Share: Art exhibit shows New York’s Times Square submerged in water
Al Jazeera | July 12, 2018

Mel Chin: Wake & Unmoored
Times Square NYC | August 9, 2018