Eye-Popping Billboard In Chelsea Called 'Grotesque Distraction'

Chelsea (Staten Island, New York)Chelsea (Manhattan, New York)

A new billboard next to the High Line in Chelsea has plenty of shock value, all right. It looks like it could be an avertisement for jewelry -- or a nail salon. Instead, the graphic image of lovely manicured, jeweled fingers detached from a woman's hands is a work of art.

The eye-popping photograph emerging from a blue velvet background has a captivative audience on the High Line's elevated pathway and on the street below.

"You're walking through the High Line, and you see dismembered fingernails. It ruins the setting.... I don't like it," said High Line visitor Patrick Nolan.

"I said 'of course somebody did that on some horrible drugs cause it looks like mutilation,' " remarked another visitor.

"I just think it's like a funky, cool, bright installment in the city," said Kristen Cook, a college student majoring in art.

The artist, Maurizio Cattelan, 51, has called his piece "surreal, but verging on pop." He created the work with photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari.

Cattelan's billboard -- the fourth in a series of provocative images on display at the High Line -- will be up through June 30.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times