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This Giant Whirlpool Sculpture Is The Perfect Metaphor For 2017

There are plenty of sights at Brooklyn Bridge Park: Manhattan’s scenic skyline, a Jean Nouvel-designed carousel, lush landscaping by Michael Van Valkenburgh. Now, there’s also a 26-foot-wide whirlpool by British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor.

Kapoor–the artist behind Chicago’s famous bean–originally created Descension for an exhibition at Versailles in 2014. The sculpture explored the physical properties of water and tricked viewers eyes into thinking the shallow water funnel was spinning deep into the earth. Commissioned by the Public Art Fund to commemorate its 40th anniversary, the Brooklyn edition of Descension opened May 3 and will remain installed until September.

“Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us,” Nicholas Baume, the Public Art Fund’s director and chief curator, said in a news release. “With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world.”

While the artwork is a few years old, it feels especially relevant today. The ominous vortex of water could be read as a metaphor for the tempestuous political and social climate we’re in today. It looks like the eye of a violent storm that’s poised to devour everything that comes in its path. It’s mesmerizing and hypnotizing, which prompts the question: How long until some drunk buffoon dives in?

See Descension near Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park until September 10, 2017.

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