Every year since 2009, the Times Square Alliance has brought a heart-shaped, love-themed work of art to Father Duffy Square in Times Square in order to commemorate Valentine’s Day, a holiday that some New Yorkers dread like subway delays but that others find to be universally delightful. In any case, the annual practice is a great way for different design studios and artists to showcase their unique interpretations of love. 2020’s winning design, Heart Squared, was created by MODU and Eric Forman Studio, and the sculpture that they came up with features 125 individual square mirrors fitted within a steel frame shaped like an anatomically correct human heart.
While looking at the multi-mirrored sculpture from any different angle, spectators will be able to see the sights of Times Square fractured and refracted in a million different directions, but there’s also an added surprise beyond the kaleidoscopic effect. From one specifically marked location next to the sculpture, viewers will be able to see one composite heart image that will reflect the unlikely symmetry of Heart Squared’s surroundings. The sculpture will be officially unveiled on the morning of January 30, and it will be on view for the public throughout the entire month of February.
Works of public art usually reflect the climate and context in which they are made, especially for large audiences who might approach a sculpture with a myriad of different interpretations. The Inaugural Times Square Valentine Heart, made by Gage/Clemenceau Architects, featured a laser-cut heart illuminated by pink lighting. 2012’s sculpture, an interactive heart surrounded by a transparent cube, could be made to “race” with the push of a button, and after Hurricane Sandy decimated New York City at the end of that same year, 2013’s sculpture was made by Brooklyn’s Situ Studio with planks that had been salvaged from storm-damaged boardwalks.
Given the social media saturation that’s spilled into 2020, and the importance of interpersonal communication leading up to the next presidential election, a mirrored heart for Valentine’s Day feels appropriate: we need to be taking hard looks both at ourselves and at each other.