Mark Reigelman: Threshold
Threshold is a public artwork celebrating the principles of egalitarianism and community-building that have been integral to the history of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Inspired by the Religious Society of Friends who inhabited the city in the late 17th century, as well as the aesthetic of New England’s archetypal colonial doorways, the artwork beckons viewers toward its partially opened door, shining down on Custom House Square from its 17-foot-tall perch.
Constructed mainly of steel and wood, the 17’ tall sculpture also includes colored mirrored acrylic incorporated into the facade, creating a reflective sheen and unique lighting effect. The colorful mirrored design continues as tiled patterns within the polycarbonate transom window above the doorway.
Threshold draws on the unique architecture of the federal doorway of the oldest building in Central New Bedford’s Abolition Row Historic District that has been associated with concealing self-emancipated people. The historical address additionally marks the first meetinghouse of the Society of Friends, dating back to 1785. Threshold’s double-sided door references the community’s diverse history, with its blue façade facing the Wharf and rising sun as a nod to the city’s fishing roots, while its massive arched transom window is tiled together with colorful mirrored pieces, capturing the various identities and cultures that have made up New Bedford. A suspended 8-pointed star references a hugely influential New England quilting pattern, activating the static sculpture with mirrored surfaces that encourage visitors to reflect and contemplate in and around the portal.
Threshold pays homage to New Bedford’s history as a major whaling port, as well as its historical role in abolitionism and the Underground Railroad. With its massive ornate door, the artwork seeks to promote principles of openness and create a welcoming space, inviting locals and visitors to pass through its threshold.
Threshold is on view free and open to the public at Custom House Square in New Bedford and is intended to be explored, interacted with, and used as a backdrop for gathering and events.
Visit: If you are driving to New Bedford to see Threshold, may we suggest enternig into your GPS: 21 Barkers Lane, New Bedford, MA 02740. Threshold is located in the heart of Downtown and from there, you can walk to visit nearby Cultural Centers such as Fishing Heritage Center, New Bedford Art Museum, Rotch Jones Duff House, the Free Public Library’s 3rd floor art collection, and the Whaling Museum. The mural, Community Tides, can be seen from the working waterfront, but is much better in person or by car, about .5 mile from Open Studios. Downtown street parking is available through paying the meters or more off street options at the Elm Street Garage located 51 Elm Street, New Bedford, MA 02740.
DATMA thanks the many individuals, businesses, foundations, and government resources that helped us bring Threshold to New Bedford: New Bedford Massachusetts Cultural Council, Mass Development, New Bedford Education Foundation, NORPEL, Signarama in Raynham, New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC), New Bedford Creative, the Hope Foundation, and many generous individuals who gave in honor of DATMA’s Co-Founder, Roger Mandle.
Mark Reigelman’s site-specific installations deal in the remarkable. Whether it be the materials he uses, their head-turning scale or their placement in public spaces, his works marry wit, context, and the element of surprise. His approach re-evaluates the everyday, reinvigorates public space, and challenges typical urban conditions. Emphasizing research and exploration, his diverse body of work is poised between abstraction and literal representation, which he meticulously integrates into civic spaces.
Reigelman has exhibited work in public sites, galleries and museums across the country. His works, Manifest Destiny! (San Francisco, CA), White Cloud (Cleveland, OH), Wood-Pile (Cleveland, OH), Upriver-Downriver (Louisville, KY) and The Meeting House (Boston, MA) have been recognized by the Americans for the Arts as being amongst the 50 most compelling public works across the country. His newest award winning site-specific installations include Formation at the San Diego International Airport and Sweetwater at the former Domino Sugar Factory site in Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY.
Mark Reigelman studied Sculpture and Industrial Design at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, OH and product design at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts in London, UK. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. www.markreigelman.com