From Valentine’s Day to the Lunar New Year, February is a month filled with celebrations, beginning with the Public Art Fund‘s 40th Anniversary celebration. There will be timely outdoor art installations for Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year, previews of architecture that will change New York City’s landscape and indoor exhibits about some of our favorite spots in the city.
Here are 12 installations and exhibits to enjoy during February in New York City.
12. Celebrating 40 Years, The Public Art Fund
This is scheduled to be an exciting year for The Public Art Fund, as they celebrate a 40th anniversary with four installations throughout the year, in various parts of the city, beginning with Commercial Break, opening February 6. The media-based artwork, Commercial Break, was inspired by The Public Art Fund’s seminal exhibition, Messages to the Public – which ran on the 800 square foot board in Times Square from 1982 to 1990, and displayed artworks by 70 figures – including Guerrilla Girls, and Keith Haring – the work meant to disrupt the daily flow of advertising across the big screen.
Commercial Break will invite a new generation of artists to create interventions – or disruptions – exploring issues relevant today. Sites for this exhibit include a large billboard in Times Square near the site of the original Spectacular Board, along with thousands of LinkNYC kiosks across the city. More than twenty artists will be presenting new and adapted work.
Commercial Break will be on view through March 6, 2017. Next on the 40th Anniversary list will be Liz Glynn: Open House, beginning March 1st at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza; Anish Kapoor: Descension at Brooklyn Bridge Park beginning in May; and Katja Novitskova: Earth Potential in June at City Hall Park.
The Public Art Fund was founded by Doris C. Freedman in 1977, and has grown to include artwork and sculptures outside the boundaries of traditional institutions, in all five boroughs, using our public parks as urban galleries.
11. Celebrating the Heart of New York in Times Square
Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition. Image courtesy of Urban Design Forum
Celebrating the Heart of New York, the Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition presents the winning proposal from The Office for Creative Research, and their installation entitled We Were Strangers Once Too. This installation highlights the role that immigrants have played in the founding, development and continued vibrancy of New York City. It consists of data from the 2015 American Census Survey, placed in sculptural form in 33 metal poles, inscribed and hued to represent the national origins of foreign-born New York City residents. As viewers walk around the sculpture, perspective changes, and the sculpture comes together in an iconic heart. This year’s heart is not only a visual object, but also invites dialogue and conversation as it explores and champions the value of diversity, specifically the city’s immigrant populations, new and old.
10. A Hippo Ballerina Arrives in Dante Park
Mockup of Hippo Ballerina, 2016, public sculpture installation by Bjorn Okholm Skaarup.
Hippo Ballerina will be making her debut on February 7th in Dante Park, at the intersection of 64th Street and Broadway, across from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The 15 foot-tall, two and a half ton, cast bronze and clad in copper sculpture was created by Danish-born artist Bjorn Okholm Skaarup, and is in partnership with the New York City Parks’ Art in the Parks Program, and Cavalier Gallery. She is sure to be a selfie favorite, and Instagrammers marking their photos with the hashtag #Dancewithhippoballerina will have the chance to win two tickets to a ballet performance at Lincoln Center.
A companion exhibit, Bronze Creatures Great and Small, will be on view at Cavalier Gallery, 3 West 57th Street from February 7 to March 17, 2017, featuring over twelve animals bronzes. Hippo Ballerina will be on view in Dante Park from February 7 to July 31,, 2017.
9. Urbanmythology at Bowery Mural
“Urbanmythology” is by Spanish street artists Pichi&Avo, will follow Logan Hicks’ popular, Instagram-friendly piece, Story of My Life. Pichi & Avo are known for their distinctive works that meld Neoclassical figurative painting with more traditional tagging and a touch of surrealism. This piece makes a striking impact on the streetscape on Bowery and Houston.
8. Models of The Short List for The High Line Plinth
Rendering of Simone Leigh’s shortlisted sculpture piece from her series Anatomy of Architecture, centering around the black female body. Image via superselected.com
The High Line Plinth, which is inspired by the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, is expected to be a new destination for major public art work commissioned by The High Line, and rotating throughout the year. It will be located on The Spur, which will be the largest open space on The High Line, located at West 30th Street and 10th Avenue, and is expected to open in 2018.
In anticipation, The High Line reviewed more than 50 proposals, narrowing them down to a shortlist of 12. An exhibit of sculptural models of the 12 finalists will be on view from February 9 to April 30, 2017, on The High Line at West 14th Street. The image above is the submission by Simone Leigh, whose name you might recognize from her current installation in Marcus Garvey Park, as part of The Studio Museum in Harlem’s exhibit, “InHarlem.
In Spring, 2017, two out of the twelve shortlisted proposals will be selected as the first two High Line Plinth commissions. The first artwork is expected to be installed in 2018, to coincide with the opening of The Spur. Each piece will then be on display for 18 months.
7. Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change at International Center of Photography
Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change is the first of three 2017 exhibits exploring the impact of photography and visual culture on society, as the International Center for Photography kicks off its “Year of Social Change.”
Perpetual Revolution examines the overwhelming number of provocative and violent images we are faced with every day, and how this new digital method of display and distribution are producing social change. The exhibit presents six critical issues, transformed by visual culture. They are #BlackLivesMatter, gender fluidity, climate change, terrorist propaganda, the refugee crisis, and the right-wing fringe. With each of these issues, the exhibit will feature both still and moving images by activist artists, and videographers, which will underscore the importance of photojournalism and documentary photography. Millions of people now carry image-making devices, creating a constant flow of current, visual content. Perpetual Revolution explores how this instant dissemination of photographs has changed our modern-day world.
Perpetual Revolution: The Image of Social Change will be on view until May 7, 2017, at the International Center of Photography, located at 250 Bowery. Also opening on January 27, is “Unwavering Vision #1: 3160 Images of Social Change” from the ICP Collection. This is an interactive multimedia presentation installed in the free public space at 250 Bowery. This piece incorporates more than three thousand images dealing with social change, and broadening the conversation.
6. Diorama Maps of Sohei Nishino at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
The Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is currently showing eleven large-format Diorama Maps created by Japanese artist Sohei Nishino in the exhibit Sohei Nishino: Bricolage. Unlike a typical road map, Nishino’s creations are the result of thousands of photographs, processed, and pieced together in a mosaic, representing his interpretation of a city, whose streets he immersed himself in for up to three months. Standing before his large-format diorama’s, Nishino encourages the viewer to take a look at their own city through a different lens. Not as a grid map, but in the personal ways that make a city feel like home.
The exhibit Sohei Nishino: Bricolage will be on view at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery to March 4, 2017, located at 505 West 24th Street in Chelsea.
5. Dead Horse Bay: The Glass Graveyard of Brooklyn
David Horvitz, Unique hand-blown sea-glass sculpture, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of UrbanGlass
The southern edge of Brooklyn, between Marine Park and Jamaica Bay, isn’t a part of the city frequented by throngs of city dwellers or sightseers. It is, after all, a location that sits a top a landfill that was closed in the 1930s. A graveyard of life’s necessities, ignored and untouched. As one walks along the shore of Dead Horse Bay, glass bottles of every shape, size and color catch the rays of the sun, reminding us of a time when so much of what was sold, from milk bottles to medicine bottles, was sold in glass. A remarkable glimpse into our past, and used as muse by the artists in a group exhibit curated by Allison C. Meier.
Dead Horse Bay: The Glass Graveyard of Brooklyn will be on view at UrbanGlass’s Agnes Varis Art Center from February 1 to March 26th, with an Opening Reception on Wednesday, February 1st from 6-9 pm. The Agnes Varis Art Center is located at 647 Fulton Street in Brooklyn.
4. Sixth Annual Ice Festival in Central Park
The Central Park Conservancy‘s sixth annual Ice Festival 2017 will take place on February 11, at the Naumburg Bandshell (Mid-park from 66th to 72 Streets). Ice-carving artists from Okamoto Studio, who created the ice dinosaurs next to Bryant Park last year, will transform more than 6,000 pounds of ice into a Central Park sculpture replica. The carving takes places between 3-4 pm. Three DJs will spin the best of the 80s and early 90s from 5-7 pm during a Silent Disco.
3. Tattooed New York at the New York Historical Society
Tattoos have a long and storied history, from Native Americans to sailors in colonial New York. There was even a ban on tattoos, when in 1961, New York City declared it “unlawful for any person to tattoo a human being,” bringing about an underground tattoo culture. This law remained on the books until 1997.
The exhibit, Tattooed New York will go on view February 3rd at the New York Historical Society, presenting the diverse history and complex story of this art form. With more than 250 elements on view, highlights will include Thomas Edison‘s electric pen and early 20th century tattoo machinery; rare photography documenting the tattoo ban years, and artwork by artists who tattooed during the ban. It will also include work by some of the finest New York tattoo artists of today. The exhibit is curated by Christian Petru Panaite. Tattooed New York will be on view from February 3rd to April 30, 2017.
In addition, The Original Gus Wagner: The Maritime roots of Modern Tattoo will be on view at the South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton Street, from January 28th through June 4, 2017.
2. Brookfield Place Celebrates The Lunar New Year
“Radiance: An Original Artwork by Amy Kao” Image via Arts Brookfield
In celebration of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rooster, artist Amy Kao was commissioned by Arts Brookfield to create artwork which will be displayed on the columns throughout the 230 Vesey Shops corridor. Radiance: An Original Artwork invites viewers to explore the traditional Chinese craft of paper cut-outs in the form of landscapes of foliage motifs, and the iconic roosters, which is this year’s zodiac animal.
Radiance: An Original Artwork by Amy Kao will be on view from January 28 to February 26, 2017 at Brookfield Place, 230 Vesey Street. In addition, a performance in partnership with the New York Chinese Cultural Center, will feature traditional Chinese dance and music, a martial arts demonstration, theatrical players in full traditional make-up and, and a Lion Parade led by lion dancers and held throughout the space on Saturday, February 11th from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Although the artwork is not outdoors, it is very easily accessible.
1. Arts Brookfield Brings Marching Cubes to the Grace Building
Marching Cubes at the W.R. Grace Building by artist Jesse Jackson, presented by Arts Brookfield
In the 1980s, researchers devised an algorithm for generating computer graphics from medical scan data. In this algorithm, was an underlying language of faceted cubes, aptly named Marching Cubes. Sculpture artist Jesse Colin Jackson has drawn from the original Marching Cubes Project to create Marching Cubes #18, which is an installation composed of over 1,000 components, 3-D printed from biodegradable plastic. More than 10,000 high-strength magnets connect the components into a sculptural form. You will notice that the surface of the sculpture is “interrupted,” revealing the interior connections that allow Marching Cubes to turn “the computational world into physical reality.”
Curated by Pari Nadimi, Marching Cubes will be on view through March 10, 2017 in the lobby of the Grace Building, 1114 Avenue of the Americas, enter on 42nd Street.