Constellation by Melissa McGill
Earlier this year, a new constellation was born over the Hudson River north of New York City. Artist Melissa McGill installed her newest work, Constellation, on a tiny island just south of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge in the Hudson Valley. Constellation seems to float above the decaying ruins of Bannerman Castle, the tiny island’s sole inhabitant.
McGill installed 17 metal poles ranging from 40-80 feet tall with a glass globe at each end, creating a gently lit sky, visible to commuters on the bridge and river shores as well as sunset boat tours by the Bannerman Castle Trust and kayak tours through Storm King Adventure Tours.
“As the sun goes down, point by point they come on, and they create this new constellation in the sky,” McGill told the New York Times, when Constellation opened in June of 2015.
Each lighted point refers to features of the castle still standing and significant pieces of the structure that no longer exist, connecting the past and present, the decaying and the decayed with a future of new energy. The lights are tapered aluminum with solar-powered LEDs illuminating the ends.
Fifty miles from Manhattan and 1,000 feet from the shore, the island and its newest art piece was hard fought by McGill, who personally raised funding to see her vision through. McGill's passion for the location of this public art piece is evident in the companion website where visitors may learn about the history of the island and castle, as well as the intended statement of Constellation hovering above.
Constellation is on view through 2017.