Featured Story

What is that? Sept. 30, 2023

If you know, let us know. Send your responses to [email protected] or phone 631-275-1859.

Last week’s photo, (see below) was one of the most popular we’ve run, both in responses and the delight readers took in seeing (at least half of) Meredith Bergmann’s leaping fish sculpture on Prospect Avenue in the Heights.

(Credit: Ambrose Clancy)

Roger McKeon broke the tape first, emailing the correct ID, adding, “That’s too easy.” Maybe for you, Roger.

It was no mystery either for Peter Reich, who wrote, “Tail of the fish jumping through wave in lawn up the hill from Catholic Church.”

Roz Dimon wrote: “A delightful surprise,” and Art Barnett, Tom Speeches and Stephen Walker weighed in correctly.

On Facebook, Richard Loper, Carmen Hoge Bissell and Carleen Washington caught the fish right away. Marji Cyr called and echoed what others said: “Any time we have guests we have to take them past Meredith’s fish.”

It’s one of those rare works of art that at first sight produces immediate smiles. A large — 13 feet nose to tail — white fish breaks the surface of waves on a green lawn, the head and a fin reaching up and out, the middle of the body still under the surface of the grass, and the tail following.

Part of the wizardry of the sculpture is that the concrete structure is light and liquid, moving before your eyes.

Ms. Bergmann is an artist with works on view in museums around the world, and her public art is on display all over the country, including the U.S. Capitol, and a memorial to the victims of 9/11 in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Her massive, 14-foot-high bronze statue, “The Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument,” is in New York’s Central Park, celebrating American women’s victory in achieving the right to vote.

As for the fish, Ms. Bergmann told the Reporter that she crafted and installed the piece in September 1983 at her family’s summer home. She used Portland cement, steel wool and an “acrylic medium instead of water so it could be waterproof, weatherproof, and crack-proof,” Ms. Bergmann said.

A steel pipe was installed to link the two pieces, and the leaping fish has been making magic on Shelter Island ever since.