Delacorte Clock

Artist
Designed by Fernando Texidor; Sculptures by Andrea Spadini.

Location
Just south of the Central Park Children's Zoo. [TK--SEE MAP AT CENTRAL PARK CONSERVANCY SITE]

Description
George T. Delacorte, a New-York-City publisher and philanthropist, commissioned the Delacorte Clock for placement in Central Park after becoming enchanted with European animated clocks [1]. The Delacorte Clock is located on an arch above the well-traveled walkway passing by the entrance to the Central Park Zoo, and the clock's imagery picks up on themes appropriate to its location.

At the top of the clock tower, there is a sculpture of a bell, flanked by two monkeys with hammers. Each hour, the monkeys appear to strike the bell with their hammers, counting out the time. Below the monkeys, there is a trellised platform, on which stands an orchestra of 6 animals. Twice each hour, these animals begin a dance around the platform, each playing a different instrument. The orchestra is made up of an accordion-playing elephant, a tambourine-tapping bear, a horn-blowing kangaroo, a penguin drummer, a piping goat, and a hippopotamus violinist. Each animal rotates on its own access, while at the same time the entire group moves in a circle around the platform. The clock's musicians have a repertoire of thirty-two nursery rhymes, chosen by George Delacorte [2].

The sounds of the clock are actually created by an electronic system, designed to simulate the chimes of real bells [3]. The clock also has a heating system, used in the wintertime when there arises the possibility of the clock's mechanisms freezing [4].

Possible discussion themes
How does the imagery of the clock draw on its surroundings?
The Delacorte Clock, with its fanciful animal characters, seems well suited to its placement outside the Central Park Zoo. How does the clock add to the experience of the zoo or of the park? Would the clock be as effective if it were placed elsewhere?

Related art works
There are various other animal-themed sculptures in the area of Central Park near the Delacorte Clock. These works include:
      Still Hunt.
      Balto.

There are various sculptures with Children's themes in the area of Central Park near the Delacorte Clock. These works include:
      Mother Goose.

Footnotes

  1. Gayle, M. & Cohen, M. (1988). The Art Commission and The Municipal Art Society guide to Manhattan's outdoor sculpture. New York: Prentice Hall Press. p. 198.
  2. Schaye, K. (Aug. 12, 1992). "With moving animals and figures of old, they’re...; Clocks that charm." Newsday, p. 25.
  3. Reynolds, D. M. (1988). Monuments and masterpieces: Histories and views of public sculpture in New York City. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 440.
  4. Reynolds, p. 440.
 

 
 
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