The work of young British contemporary artist Ryan Gander is popping up all over New York right now. At the southeast corner of Central Park (at Fifth Avenue and 60th Street), you’ll find his sculpture The Happy Prince, which looks like someone took a hammer to it. The piece was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s children’s story of a bejeweled statue who convinces a swallow to distribute its gems to the city’s poor and is then torn down by the town leaders who no longer value it. Gander also takes over the Aye Simon Reading Room at the Guggenheim with a site-specific installation as part of the museum’s Intervals series. Here, the artist brings to life the tumultuous friendship of Dutch artists Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) and Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931), imagining a literal fight in the home of the museum’s architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, with glass and rubble scattered everywhere. It seems that with Gander’s work, you always have to watch out for falling debris.

Oct. 13-Jan. 9, 2010