Cooper Union in New York, in partnership with the Department of Transportation’s Art Program, has just unveiled its first public exhibition for the recently-completed Cooper Square plaza. Known as the Jan Palach Memorial, the installation is of two spiky 23-foot-tall structures made of timber and metal.
Each work—known separately as House of the Suicide and House of the Mother of the Suicide—honor the Czech dissident Jan Palach. His self-immolation, in protest of the Soviet invasion of 1968, served as a galvanizing force against Czechoslovakia’s communist government.
Both sculptures were designed by John Hejduk, an architect of Czech origin and the founding dean of The Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Hejduk is part of the New York Five, modernist architects whose work was featured in a 1969 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.