June 27, 2023

Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington and Arlington Public Art bring Zaq Landsberg’s Reclining Liberty to Arlington, VA

The 25-foot public artwork, which is inspired by depictions of the reclined Buddha, was recently on view at Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

ARLINGTON, VA., June 27, 2023 – Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington and Arlington Public Art are thrilled to announce the upcoming installation of artist Zaq Landsberg’s celebrated Reclining Liberty in Arlington, Virginia. The 25-foot long sculpture will be installed on MoCA Arlington’s front lawn the first week in August. An opening celebration and community picnic will be held on August 5, 2023, from 11am-1pm.  The work will remain on view until July 28, 2024.

Reclining Liberty takes inspiration from the giant reclining Buddha statues of Asia, which represent the Buddha in one stage on the path to enlightenment and are a theme throughout Buddhist art. By merging the traditional Buddhist reclining pose and the quintessential American figurative symbol, Reclining Liberty asks the viewer to contemplate the status of the ideals the Statue of Liberty represents.

“I’ve been following Zaq’s practice for many years and when I saw Reclining Liberty, I knew it was the perfect work to bring to Arlington.” says Blair Murphy, MoCA Arlington’s Curator of Exhibitions. “I love that the work brings the Statue down to the eye level (and reach) of the public. Its playfulness and accessibility suggest that the ideals of liberty and freedom represented by the Statue of Liberty are active, tangible, and evolving and need to be directly engaged with, debated, and defended.”

Reclining Liberty was originally installed in Morningside Park in Manhattan in April of 2021 and quickly became a neighborhood landmark and a popular spot for formal and impromptu public gatherings. In May of 2022, the work was relocated to Liberty State Park, where it greeted visitors boarding the ferries to Liberty Island. The statue’s move to MoCA Arlington was recently announced by Hyperallergic.

MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art are excited to co-sponsor the work’s first appearance outside of New York and New Jersey. In addition to the opening celebration on August 5th, the work’s yearlong residency at MoCA Arlington will be accompanied by a series of public programs, to be announced at a later date.

“Arlington Public Art is delighted to co-sponsor this ‘enlightened’ temporary public art project in the County’s Maury Park. We look forward to the community conversations that this sculpture will inspire including those related to monuments and memorials, immigration, and our democratic ideals,” says Angela Anderson Adams, Director of Arlington Public Art.

“Recontextualizing Reclining Liberty in Arlington makes sense for our current moment. Placing it within a few miles of Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, the National Mall, etc, adds a new layer onto the work, allows for a new set of meaningful interactions with different communities, and adds to the local and national reevaluation of monuments” says Landsberg. “Their history, how they function in public space, how they’ve changed from their inception, and their impact on society.”

Zaq Landsberg was born in Los Angeles, California and is currently based in New York City. His public artworks and large-scale sculptures have been installed throughout the United States and internationally including at Morningside Park (Harlem, NYC), Liberty State Park (Jersey City, NJ), Green-Wood Cemetery (Brooklyn, NYC), La Ene (Buenos Aires, Argentina), CUAC (Salt Lake City, UT), the Figment Festival (Governor’s Island, NY), Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, NYC), Franconia Sculpture Park (Shafer, MN) and others. He created new works for Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens, NY) through the Art in the Parks: UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant and in Fort Tryon Park (New York, NY) through the New York City Parks’ Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award. Landsberg’s work has been covered in more than 40 countries and 27 languages, including by The New York Times, artnet news, NY Magazine, Time Out NY, Vice, NY Daily News, The Believer, PEOPLE Magazine, Clarín (Argentina), ARTE (France), Blouin Art Info, Gothamist, KSL Salt Lake City, WGN Radio, and The Daily Mail, among others.

The presentation of Reclining Liberty at Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington is organized by Blair Murphy, Curator of Exhibitions, and co-sponsored by MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art.


Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty
Dates: August 5, 2023-July 28, 2024
Opening Celebration: Saturday, August 5, 11am-1pm

Location: 3550 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22201
Co-sponsored by Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington and Arlington Public Art

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