As we’ve learned, the art scene in New York City is varied, meaning it’s not restricted solely to institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMa. We’ve covered everything from street art, subway art, to artist occupations and squats. The city has turned into an exhibition space and next on the list are corporate lobbies. While displaying works in corporate lobbies may seem like an afterthought in attempts to liven up the dreary atmosphere, many of them actually have quite a robust collection of art work, ranging from paintings to sculptures and installations. Here are 10 lobbies in Manhattan with artworks open completely to the public. So the next time you pass by one if these buildings, walk in and take a look. 

9. IBM Building

Kenny Scharf-Painting-Street Art-IBM Building-590 Madison Avenue-NYC-2

The IBM Building at 590 Madison Avenue has a few pieces of art in the lobby and the front ranging from paintings to sculptures, and even an accidental piece of art. It once even held a 3000 square foot satellite museum of the Whitney. In the IBM lobby, there are works by Kenny Scharf, Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Alexander Calder. Additionally, the atrium, a privately owned public space within the building often hosts art installations.

8. 666 Fifth Avenue

Landscape of Clouds. 

666 Fifth Ave features a landmarked lobby that was a collaboration between architect Robert Carson and the preeminent modern sculptor, Isamu Noguchi. The space features two of Noguchi’s masterworks, Landscape of the Cloud and Waterfall. Landscape of the Cloud was created on models of templates that were taken and executed directly on steel, painted and installed on-site. This piece transformed the lobby from a functional space to a more “inspiringly aesthetic one.”

Waterfall, the complementary work to the other, is made up of curved, cut stainless steel railings, each one different from the other, to create a kind of rippling wave effect. The two pieces add a sleek and modern aesthetic that contrasts all the noise and bustle of the city outside the building.

Isamu Noguchi-Waterfall-666 Fifth Avenue-Lobby-NYC

7. Equitable Life Insurance Building

View from outside 787 Seventh Ave.

Located in the atrium of the Equitable Building (also known as the AXA Center) at 787 Seventh Avenue is a Roy Lichtenstein mural painting. At 68-feet high, Mural with Blue Strokes is one of the country’s largest public art works. Due to its sheer size, it was painted right there in the building itself beginning in December 1985 through January 1986.

According to the New York Times, Lichtenstein climbed up and down an eight-story scaffolding. The work is a collage of images borrowed from the work of some of this century’s leading modern artists and some of Lichtenstein’s own work. The mural “tackles comic strips and the history of modern art.”

6. 51 Astor Place

The picture above might look a little familiar since there are others like it in other museums and the world. This one is known as Balloon Rabbit (Red) and like all the others is by Jeff Koons. Located at 51 Astor Place, Koon’s red rabbit is part of the Edward J. Minskoff’s collection, whose company installed the piece here, where rent is reportedly as high as $115 per square foot. This 14 foot tall, 6,600 pound work was installed in January 2014, and according to Edward J. Minskoff Equities, plans to stay there indefinitely.

5. Bloomberg Building, 731 Lexington Avenue

El Anatsui at Bloomberg Headquarters
Bloomberg occupies floors 1 to 29 of the 55 story building at 731 Lexington Avenue, so it’s no wonder they have amazing art in the lobby. Behind the front desk in the lobby is a large wall piece by Ghanaian sculptor artist El Anatsui and all along a walkway inside the building is an Ursula Van Rydingsvard sculpture. Ms Van Rydingsvard was born in Deensen, Lower Saxony, but has called Brooklyn her home for the past thirty years.

Ursula von Rydingsvard at Bloomberg Hdg

4. One World Trade Center

José Parlá‘s mural painting is the largest of its kind in the whole western hemisphere measuring up to 90 feet tall. The Brooklyn-based painter was commissioned to create a work for the new skyscraper that would be “unifying, instead of divisive,” says Andrew Dermont, who helped advise the project. The artist worked on the mural for eight months in the studio and the remaining two weeks on-site.

Parlá seemed like the right person for the job. His website biography states “his paintings reflect the accumulated memories and experiences [of cities], the walls show a place that was, but no longer is– built over, renewed in some other configuration.” He paints what he describes as “revelations… proof of the history of our neighborhoods.” In the wake of the tragedy of 9/11 and the strong rebuilding of the new Freedom Tower, this mural feels most apt.

3. 125 Maiden Lane

In the Financial District at 125 Maiden Lane, or Water Street Plaza, the lobby has taken putting art in the corporate library to a whole new level by displaying rotating exhibits put together by an internal curator who does what every gallery space does– contact artists and organize openings. The founder and chairman Francis J. Greenburger of the Time Equities, the owners of the building, even established the Art in Buildings program in 2000 evolving today into a program that has a a full-time curator. How’s that for corporate lobby art?

The Art in Buildings website provides updates and information on upcoming exhibits at all of their locations. Time Equities has offices all over the country and in Canada, so exhibits are not restricted to only New York City.

2. The Surrey

The Surrey Hotel Kate Moss Tapestry Upper East Side
Though not a corporate building, the Surrey Hotel at 20 East 76th Street features a wonderful collection of modern art and photography. There’s a wall-sized tapestry of Kate Moss in the lobby, which seems a little strange for a hotel, but Rottet Studio, the interior design firm believed that this would be a great focal point for the lobby, drawing guests away from their rooms and into the lobby.

Behind the concierge desk there’s a Jenny Holzer projection You Are My Own (1996). It is a print projection that rotates pictures of old, ornate buildings with the words “You Are My Own” shining on each. It was put into the hotel to demonstrate a blend of the old and contemporary touches.

Among those, there are also a few more works scattered throughout the hotel by feturing artists like Jimmie Martin, Claus Oldenburg, William Kentridge, Donald Sultan, Mathias Weischar, Richard Serra, Mel Bochner, Cecily Brown, and Imogen Cunningham.

1. 5 Bryant Park

5 Bryant Park has a history of art installations, with a street art art battle that took place in 2013. Then in March 2015, while removing the false front in the entrance vestibule of the 5 Bryant Park, a renovation crew found something quite exciting: a 1950s Max Spivak glass-mosaic mural. The mural, dotted with tools of garment workers, is reminiscent of Joan Miró, and is a delicate ode to the earlier manufacturing era.

As soon as the work was uncovered, the New York Times immediately went to write about it. Within hours of the Times’ column release online, workers put up blue tarps, preventing anyone from viewing it. Equity Office, owner and manager of the building at 5 Bryant Park does not plan to destroy the mural, but does plan to cover it back up.

Although this work of art is no longer visible, it was worth putting on this list for the story behind its uncovering, as well as the work’s beauty and connection to the city. Read more about this in our coverage of the discovery.