Beatriz Cortez, Glacial Erratic, 2020. Commissioned by the Frieze LIFEWTR Sculpture Prize. Steel. Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council. Photo: Casey Kelbaugh / Frieze.
Beatriz Cortez was awarded the inaugural Frieze LIFEWTR Sculpture Prize in 2019. Her proposal was selected by a jury chaired by Brooke Kamin Rapaport (Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator, Madison Square Park Conservancy), and guest judges Taylor Aldridge, Brett Littman, Loring Randolph, and Michaella Solar-March. Made of steel frame and sheet metal, Glacial Erratic evokes an ancient boulder, like the numerous glacial erratics that populate the landscape in New York City. During the last Ice Age, the melting ice opened grooves on the Manhattan bedrock and deposited numerous glacial erratics all over the landscape. These large masses of rock differ in mineral content, in look, in size, and shape, from the native rocks in the local landscape. Visible all over the city, in Central Park, Prospect Park, Battle Hill, the Bronx, among many other sites all over the City, the matter that forms these rocks documents their migration before the human era, as well as the moment in which they emerged from the ice cap cover. As they were exposed to the light and to cosmic rays, the erratics were also touched by radiation, generating a process that documents their migration and the passing of time. Placed in the context of Rockefeller Center, the sculpture ages as it is exposed to the elements and human traffic while marking different temporalities and making visible the planetary nature of ancient migration.