Jean Tinguely. Fragment from Homage to New York. 1960

Jean Tinguely Fragment from Homage to New York 1960

  • Not on view

This is one piece of what the artist called a “self-constructing and self-destroying work of art,” composed of bicycle wheels, motors, a piano, an addressograph, a go-cart, a bathtub, and other cast-off objects. Twenty-three feet long, twenty-seven feet high, and painted white, the machine was set in motion on March 18, 1960, before an audience in the Museum’s sculpture garden.

During its brief operation, a meteorological trial balloon inflated and burst, colored smoke was discharged, paintings were made and destroyed, and bottles crashed to the ground. A player piano, metal drums, a radio broadcast, a recording of the artist explaining his work, and a competing shrill voice correcting him provided the cacophonic sound track to the machine’s self-destruction—until it was stopped short by the fire department.

Gallery label from 2011
Painted metal, fabric, tape, wood, and rubber tires
6' 8 1/4" x 29 5/8" x 7' 3 7/8" (203.7 x 75.1 x 223.2 cm)
Gift of the artist
Object number
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Painting and Sculpture