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Katharina Grosse Spray Paints Abandoned Building at Rockaway Beach

Pablo Enriquez

German artist Katharina Grosse has transformed an abbandoned building on a New York beach into an artwork using brightly coloured spray paint. Titled ‘Rockaway!‘, this site-specific outdoor installation has been presented by MoMA PS1 in Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden, a former United States Army base on the Rockaway Point peninsula at the southwest tip of Queens.

Reflecting the bold colors of sunset in the Rockaways, Grosse’s installation serves as a final celebration and memorialization of this iconic building, which was rendered structurally unsound by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and is set to be demolished in late 2016.


Grosse’s singular approach highlights the potential of painting as a medium, and encapsulates the stark beauty of this manmade structure and its natural surroundings. In her practice, Grosse seeks to extend the scope of her painting beyond the borders of the canvas. Grosse’s installation work seamlessly combines subtle nuances of light and shadow, characteristic of traditional landscape painting, with the weight and spectacle of large-scale sculpture. These sprawling and sculptural landscapes evoke the physicality of action painting and earthworks through their gestures and monumentality.

Rockaway! is a celebration of the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway Peninsula following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The installation will remain in place until 30 November 2016.

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all images © Pablo Enriquez