Stairwell Installation Series

Inka Essenhigh: Manhattanhenge

Image: Installation View, Stairwell. 2018. Photo by Martin Parsekian.

An artist whose influences range from Hokusai to Surrealism and Byzantine icons to graphic novels, Inka Essenhigh is known for her hallucinatory scenes that weave narratives about everyday life with otherworldly and science-fiction themes. For her panoramic installation in The Drawing Center’s stairwell, Essenhigh illustrates the story of an imaginary contest staged on a New York City street in which new glass-and-steel condominiums with human attributes engage in a showdown with the city’s more conventional buildings. Drawn directly on the wall, Essenhigh’s anthropomorphic buildings encircle the central motif of the drawing, a golden sunset that replicates “Manhattanhenge”—the effect of the sun when aligned precisely with the city grid—which has long been a mythic part of the city’s monumental architecture.

Inka Essenhigh: Manhattanhenge is part of an ongoing series of commissions for the Stairwell, for which The Drawing Center has asked New York artist Inka Essenhigh to create a site-specific wall drawing. Essenhigh’s installation follows Gary Simmons’s Ghost Reels (2016–18) and Abdelkader Benchamma’s Dark Matter (2015–16).

Organized by Brett Littman, Executive Director.

Exhibition Materials


Past Programs

Related Exhibitions

  • Edie Fake, Sketch for Labyrinth at The Drawing Center, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

    Edie Fake: Labyrinth

  • Gary Simmons, Ghost Reels, 2016. Mixed media, Site-specific installation. Installation at The Drawing Center, New York, 2016. Photograph by Martin Parsekian. (detail)

    Gary Simmons: Ghost Reels

  • Abdelkader Benchamma, Representation of Dark Matter, 2015, Mixed media, Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai and galerie du jour agnes b., Paris. (installation photo by Jose Andres Ramirez.)

    Abdelkader Benchamma: Representation of Dark Matter