Some 16 million people annually circulate the Time Warner Center, a monumental glass shopping complex overlooking Manhattan’s Columbus Circle that boasts luxury retail stores and Michelin-star restaurants, not to mention coveted views of Central Park South. Sure, millions of tourists and New Yorkers alike come for the Whole Foods and the high-end boutiques; but they stay for the venerable 12-foot statues of Adam and Eve by acclaimed contemporary artist Fernando Botero.
Forged in Botero’s unmistakable style referred to as “Boterismo,” both Adam and Eve bear the amplified portliness that characterizes the Colombian artist’s beloved aesthetic. The voluminous biblical couple stand separately but unabashedly nude in one of the city’s busiest malls, and they’ve become a must-see since their unveiling.
The Time Warner Center is no white cube gallery, so visitors are free to touch the art. So many hands have copped a feel on Adam’s, shall we say, humble nether region, that it’s been transformed into a substantial golden point of interest all its own. Indeed, he’s been so extensively groped over the years that maintenance has to regularly re-apply the dark bronze patina that he arrived with. Eve’s modesty has been comparatively honored, though her backside has been known to pique the interest of passersby.
Born in Medellín in 1932, Fernando Botero has made a name for himself as one of the most respected and widely-recognized Latin American artists. His drawings, paintings, and sculptures have been exhibited at major art institutions around the world (including his own eponymous museum in Bogotá, Colombia), and his prominent public sculptures of corpulent human and animal subjects constitute their own destinations across New York City, Barcelona, Singapore, and of course, Medellín.
Botero’s refreshingly playful approach to art invites the public to interact with his welcoming figures (when they’re outside of a museum setting), trace their many contours, and—it goes without saying—snap a silly photo.
Know Before You Go
The Time Warner Center is open seven days a week from 10am to 9pm Monday through Saturday, and 11am until 7pm on Sundays.