Some New Yorkers weren’t sorry to see it go. Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror, installed last fall on the Fifth Avenue side of Rockefeller Center’s promenade, had promised to be a striking presence.
Kapoor first came to public notice in the 1980s with his geometric and biomorphic pieces in stone, pigment, and plaster. In the 1990s he began to explore the notion of the void. His pieces dropped away from you, disappeared into the wall or the floor, seemed both there and not there.
Sky Mirror was another such “non-object,” to use Kapoor’s term, a sharply tilted, three-story mirror of polished stainless steel with fifteen petal-like panels radiating from a round center. The concave side, facing 30 Rockefeller Plaza, turned the iconic building upside down and, on a sunny day, haloed it with blue sky. (At night, the reflected image seemed to be that of a medieval cathedral.) The convex side, facing Saks Fifth Avenue across the street, reflected awestruck pedestrians, street traffic-and a great deal of pavement.
But it was all just too big and intrusive, and the best place to see it was from a distance. The closer one stood to it, the more overwhelming it became. Indeed, it massively obstructed one of the glories of Rockefeller Center: the simple, elegantly proportioned garden pathway opening down to the plaza, the skating rink, and Paul Manship’s Prometheus Fountain at the foot of the immaculate skyscraper....