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'Along the Arthur Kill' (2007-08) by Bill Murphy, as viewed from the Bayonne Bridge
'Along the Arthur Kill' (2007-08) by Bill Murphy, as viewed from the Bayonne Bridge

Wagner College art professor Bill Murphy has been tapped by the company building the New York Wheel to graphically document the project’s construction, from start to finish, for use in a commemorative coffee table book, posters and other applications.

The New York Wheel will be a 630-foot observation wheel overlooking New York’s upper harbor from the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island. The project site is adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry depot. The wheel, which will rise to more than twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, will become one of the most prominent features of the harbor skyline.

Bill Murphy was born on Staten Island in 1952. He attended public school here and, later, Brooklyn College, the School of Visual Arts, the Art Students League and Vermont College. At the School of Visual Arts he studied with, among others, Jim Kearns, Herb Katzman, Marshall Arisman, Louise Bourgoise and the illustrator Robert Weaver. He has taught at Wagner College since 1994 and directs the Wagner College Gallery.

Murphy is a particularly apt choice for the job of graphically documenting the latest landmark to rise from the Staten Island waterfront. Much of his work — some of which can be found on the artist’s website — documents the decaying remnants of Staten Island’s maritime history. In this new project, he will document the Island waterfront’s next chapter.

Murphy says that he has already begun to scope out the construction site, “but there’s really not a whole to see down there yet.”

Those interested in following the progress of the New York Wheel can visit the project’s website, which includes a live webcam showing the construction area.

On a related note, Bill Murphy will be participating this Sunday, Nov. 15 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in a panel discussion at the new Staten Island Museum campus. The discussion, “A Sense of Place,” opens a new exhibition called “Staten Island Seen,” which traces the borough’s unique history and landscape from the 17th century to the present. Works on display are made by amateur and professional artists, working in a broad range of styles and materials from ink drawing to anaglyph 3-D video. Artists include the masters of the Hudson River School such as Edward Moran and Jasper Cropsey, a native Staten Islander, Cecil C. Bell, who lived on Staten Island, and current talents like Sara Yuster and Bill Murphy. Entrance to the panel discussion is free with paid museum admission. Visit the Staten Island Museum website for more information.

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