View from Dinosaur BBQ with The Cotton Club on the East side of the viaduct

We love art in public places and this weekend, as part of NYCxDesign Week, we got a sneak preview of the art installations going up underneath the 125th Street viaduct, near Twelfth Avenue in Harlem. REPURPOSE – A Public Art Intervention is the first of a three part installation curated by Savona Bailey-McClain of the West Harlem Art Fund, who is no stranger to some of our favorite art in public places. We followed her underneath the viaduct onto Twelfth Avenue, where we found a small restaurant row and a lot of activity within steps of the Hudson River Pier. 

Dinosaur BBQ with a view of the new Columbia U Science Bldg, part of the Columbia expansion in this area

Ms. Bailey-McClain endeavors to bring life and light to the 125th Street viaduct area with ‘light-graffiti’ artists utilizing the local restaurants, both inside and out.  Beginning at 125th Street, Peter Rogina, collaborating with Eileen Cohen, will project transmitted animated light on the wall of The Cotton Club.  Vicki DaSilva, using fluorescent bulbs attached to a complex system of tracks will use the electronic billboard above The Cotton Club.

Local and international artists and organizations were invited by the West Harlem Art Fund to participate in this project, including Cynthia Beth Rudin, D. Carlton Bright, Dennis Klynsky, Dianne Smith, Erik Sanner, Eva Olsson, Henry Gwiazda, Jonas Nilsson, Peter Regina, Rupert Nesbitt, The Center for Holographic Arts and Harlem Bioscience.

The Cotton Club

On the West side of the viaduct, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will have looping slideshows of the artists inside while Harlem Biospace, a new biotech incubator, will be on the second floor projecting biological imagery onto the sidewalk below.  Yes, this is your chance to walk on moving images of cells.

Peter Rogina testing his light installation onto the wall of The Cotton Club Peter Rogina testing his light installation onto the wall of The Cotton Club

Moving North on Twelfth Avenue, the artist known as Lady K will be creating words in graffiti with reflective tape on the sidewalks and walls between 125th Street and 132nd Street in her endeavor to reflect the inner light of each person passing by. Erik Sanner will be projecting a video game from the Hudson Rive Cafe onto the wall across the street, and Carlton Bright will be projecting what will look like water on to the sidewalk in front of 9A Kitchen & Lounge. 9A  will have nine interior monitors continuously looping the artwork.

The Cotton Club

Covo Trattoria will have sidewalk projections and an indoor loop on their monitor, bringing the installation to 135th Street.  In addition to this event, the Economic Development Corporation commissioned a $14.5 million enhancement project for the illumination of the viaduct with LED lights.  This project is expected to be completed in 2016.

Looking North toward 9A Lounge & the Hudson River Cafe

The next two installations and exhibitions will take place on July 12th and October 4th. Expect lots of digital art, including a digital version of the historic tanker Mary Whalen.  Collaborating with the Sound Art MFA department at Columbia University and the NYU Animation department, the West Harlem Art Fund has brought a plethora of art and enthusiasm to a less often traversed part of Harlem.  All of this is happening during the 200th Birthday of 125th Street!  This Event takes place on Saturday, May 10th and projections begin at 8:30 pm.

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