As summer comes to a close, a new season of art installations will be ushered onto the streets of New York City. Indoor and outdoor meld together in events large and small, from the return of Photoville to DUMBO, to an exhibition about the disappearing storefronts of the Lower East Side and a post-apocalyptic graffiti installation.
Seemingly mundane public spaces will get bursts of color, from the steps of the Bronx to roll-down gates in East Harlem to seats in DUMBO. An 18 karat gold toilet will be available for use inside the Guggenheim Museum.
There’s a flurry of things to check out, both new and closing in September. Here are eighteen highlights:
18. DOT ART Encourages Walking with Murals on South Bronx Steps
The NYC Department of Health and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT ART) have teamed up in an effort to encourage a healthier life-style by taking the stairs in the South Bronx. Both of the artists commissioned for the projects are based in the Bronx. Artist Josie Gonzalez‘s mural entitled Rise-Up is located at Third Avenue and 164th Street, and evokes playfulness with various size hexagons like that of children’s building blocks.
Artist Diana Perea‘s Blue-Winged Warbler mural located at Third Avenue and Weiher Court, is a mythical bird featuring “indigenous Taino designs along border squares, inspired by petroglyphs originally created by the indigenous people of the Caribbean.”
As Wendy Feuer, the Department of Transportation Assistant Commissioner of Urban Design + Art + Wayfinding, says, “Using the stairs as a canvas for beautiful and colorful murals builds on that original effort, encouraging physical activity by making it more fun to walk up and down.”
17. Photoville Returns to Brooklyn Bridge Park
The sixth edition of Photoville, a village creation made of more than 55 shipping containers as photography galleries, will return to Brooklyn Bridge Park September 13-17 and September 21-24. The event also offers a free Walking Tour through Photoville, just look for the Walking Tours flag. This years tour guides include National Geographic Senior Photo Editor, Sarah Lee; Photo District New Editor, Holly Hughes; renowned curator, Julie Grahame; and noted documentary photographer, Nina Berman and more.
You can take a break for lunch/dinner or just get off your feet right in the Photoville village at Smorgasburg Beer Garden, with Brooklyn Brewery beers, food vendors, and five nights of programming. There will be more than 100 vendors in total.
16. Fun Seetz, Playful Seating Sculptures in the Pearl Street Triangle, DUMBO
Six colorful sculptures depicting faces, figures and animals are currently perched on the Pearl Street Triangle on Old Fulton Street in DUMBO. Artist Eleanor Kupencow was inspired by the iconography of Mayan, Aboriginal, and Native American art, with a touch of Modern Art, when creating the installation entitled Fun Seetz. The fun part of the installation is that many of the sculptures are, in fact, seats. This is a permanent installation on the Triangle. Ms. Kupencow is also part of September’s Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge by The Artist Interactive.
15. A Gold Toilet at the Guggenheim Museum
Image via the Guggenheim Museum
We already know there are some pretty quirky public restrooms in New York City, but did you know there’s a solid gold toilet inside the Guggenheim Museum, ready for use? The 18-karat functioning toilet, called America, has been sitting in a Guggenheim restroom for almost a year, an unusual creation by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. However, the toilet will only be there until September 15th, so stop by and use it while you can (seriously, when will you ever have this chance again?)
14. The 100 Gates Project: East Harlem & Staten Island
The 100 Gates Project has been bringing artists and merchants together in an artistic collaboration on the Lower East Side since 2014, meeting their goal of painting 100 roll-down gates. With the help of the Lower East Side Partnership, artists create a merchants vision on storefront gates seen only when the shops are closed.
In 2017, the 100 Gates Project was given a grant by the New York City Department of Small Business Service’s Neighborhood 360, to expand to Staten Island and East Harlem. Partnering with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Staten Island Arts, and the New Harlem East Merchant Association, merchants and artists in both areas of the city were brought together to begin painting. Untapped Cities has been following the artists, and to date, more than 15 gates have been completed in the new targeted areas.
13. Archaeological Exhibit Inside 50 Bowery Shows Long History of Chinatown Site
Photo courtesy of Alyssa Loorya/Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants
Like most buildings in Chinatown, Hotel 50 Bowery, located at 50 Bowery, has led many lives. It was once a tavern, the Atlantic Garden (a famous German beer garden), a theater, a hotel and a stove dealership. Most recently, it has been a Chinese restaurant, a Popeyes, and a Duane Reade. In recent years, an excavation for the hotel, with archaeological documentation done by Chrysalis Archeological Consultants, uncovered a treasure trove of historical artifacts beneath the site, from a German mineral water bottle to an English creamer jug.
Now, many of these artifacts are on view in a new exhibition inside the hotel. Adding on to 50 Bowery’s layers of history, the hotel is also the site of an exhibit called “Heart of Chinatown,” which relays the Bowery’s vibrant, ever-changing history. Along with 50 Bowery, The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) installed this permanent, 1,500 square-foot exhibit on the second floor of the hotel in The Gallery.
12. El Dorado: A Celebration of Diversity through Sculpture in Sunset Park
The installation El Dorado – The New Forty Niners by artist Cecile Chong can be found in Sunset Park. The 100 guagua sculptures are a representation of a community of people from all over the world. Ms. Chong entitled her installation El Dorado, which translates to mean “the golden” taken from a story taught to her when she was growing up in Ecuador.
Considering that in the last census, 49 percent of New Yorkers speak languages other than English, she named the installation The New Forty Niners. The individual pieces were created from plastic bottles, plaster, encaustic, fiberglass reinforced resin, and paint, with all 49 of them painted gold.
El Dorado – The New Forty Niners by Cecile Chong will be in Sunset Park until the end of September. The installation is located at the North East corner of the terrace, near the 5th Avenue and 41st Street corner.
11. Capturing the Lower East Side’s Storefronts Photo Exhibition
Photo by James and Karla Murray
As part of an ongoing pursuit to document New York City’s disappearing mom-and-pop shops, photographers, authors and Untapped Cities contributors, James and Karla Murray, recently presented their new photography exhibit at the Theater for the New City. Entitled “Capturing the Lower East Side’s Storefronts Oral History & Photo Exhibition,” the show features a collection of photographs and interviews created by amateur photographers during two free workshops held by the Murrays at the Neighborhood Preservation Center earlier this year.
10. 100 Pairs of Ceramic Shoes in DUMBO’s Boiler Building
The Smack Mellon Gallery is located in the recently renovated Boiler Building on the DUMBO waterfront, across from Brooklyn Bridge Park, the interior space consists of 6,000 square feet and a ceiling that soars to 35 feet, with 25 windows on two levels. The Gallery is opening its doors with two exhibitions on September 23.
Ron Baron: Beyond-Beyond consists of an installation of nearly 100 pairs of life-size case ceramic shoes. Although each pair is small in comparison to the gallery’s vast space, their combined poetic and ghostly presence fill the significant void and evoke all that is missing.
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky: The Perilous Journey of Maria Rosa Palacios is a half-hour, performance-based film that documents Skvirsky’s travels from Ecuador’s Chota highlands to the coastal town of Guayaquil. The expedition serves as a recreation of her great grandmother’s 1906 journey and an exploration of identity, representation, and every-shifting boundaries of place and nationhood.
The two installations will be on view from September 23 to November 5, 2017, with opening receptions on September 23 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The Smack Mellon Gallery is located at 99 Plymouth Street in Brooklyn.
9. A Temple to Oscar Wilde in Greenwich Village
The Green Carnation, Oscar Wilde, O.W. c.33 (1923), 1994. Collection of Bruno Bischofberger, Switzerland. Courtesy of the artists.
On September 11, The Church of the Village will be transformed by artists David McDermott and Peter McGough, as they unveil the ambitious installation entitled, The Oscar Wilde Temple. The project celebrates the life of Irish author, novelist, poet, and playwright Oscar Wilde (1864-1900) who refused to hide his sexuality, even when faced with imprisonment and hard labor.
The installation will transform the Russell Chapel within the church into a Victorian era environment, as it was when Wilde visited America in 1882-1883. The centerpiece of the Temple will be a central altar built around a 4-foot 3-inch figure of Wilde, carved in a devotional style out of linden wood. A secondary alter is set up specifically for honoring those who have died from AIDS and those still suffering worldwide, along with a book for visitors wishing to inscribe tributes.
This is a site-specific installation, which also celebrates two ministers from The Church of the Village in its history, Rev. Paul M. Abels and Rev. C. Edward Egan. The Temple project is a collaboration between The Church of the Village and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York City (The Center), in a joint effort to foster deeper ties between the two institutions.
The Oscar Wilde Temple, curated by Alison Gingeras, will be on view at The Church of the Village through December 2, 2017. During this time, the Temple will be available for private ceremonies, including weddings, memorials, and other celebrations (on a reserved basis). All proceeds from these events will support The Center’s programs for LGBTQ youth at risk of homelessness.
While you are there, take a walk through the AIDS Memorial at St. Vincent’s Triangle, unveiled late last year. Across the street, at Mulry Square, you will find the Tiles for America which were created after 9/11 by artists and local residents.
8. EXQUISITE PLANTS at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Exquisite Plants exhibit. Images courtesy of the artists
The interactive, three-part installation, Exquisite Plants, by artists Adam Frezza & Terri Chiao, will open at 99 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park on September 9th. The whimsical flower images, inspired by the surrounding park, explore shape-building and abstraction through play. Each part in this installation is meant to bring viewers together in a collaborative and creative effort – as in the Community Room’s interactive magnetic wall, where large magnetic decals can be rearranged to create new compositions.
The hallway is lined with a series of Exquisite Plants, several large, colorful, reliefs created by the artists out of fiberboard. The third part takes viewers to a Workshop Gallery, showcasing original collages made during public workshops.
A variation of this is work is currently on view in the installation, Exquisite Corpse at the Putnam Triangle Plaza in Clinton Hill, with the parts being long-time residents of that community.
Exquisite Plants will be on view to November 2, 2017 at 99 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Frezza and Chiao’s work was most recently seen inside and outside The Arsenal in Central Park.
7. NYC Parks Department, Celebrating 50 Years
The New York City Parks Department continues its celebration of fifty years with a full calendar of events for September. Some of the highlights include outdoor movie screenings, public art and yoga in the parks, “Dancitectures @ Constellation” performances in Seward Park and a puppet mobile in Virginia Park. Still on view are the fourteen sculptures that make up the installation, On the Rock 2017, that include a lecture series and bike tour. Check the schedule of events for dates, times, and locations.
6. LIGHT YEAR: A Projection onto the Manhattan Bridge
LIGHT YEAR 29: We the Hell Am I is a visual art exhibit projected onto the Manhattan Bridge. This year, the installation features the works by American artists Miss LaFleur and Andrew Erdos, and indigenous artists Dylan McLaughlin and Nicholas Galanin. The exhibition “redresses and examines place, past histories, gender roles, traumas, contemporary mythologies, and movement through time and space as an amalgam and pastiche of complex identity construction.”
Curated by Erin Joyce, LIGHT YEAR 29: We the Hell Am I will be on view Thursday, September 7 from 7:00- 9:00 pm in the Pearl Street Triangle in DUMBO. The presentation are on the First Thursday of every month.
5. IdeasCity NewYork 2017
The fourth edition of IdeasCity New York is a daylong festival exploring 100 actions for the future city. The event will take place on September 16 at Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Chrystie Street. IdeasCity is the New Museum’s civic platform, exploring the future of cities with art and culture as a driving force. This year, check out an open area of modular structures, designed by ThomasLommée & Christiane Hoegner/OpenStructures, which will serve as the site for a public forum – created in partnership with A/D/O, a creative space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The day-long event will feature programming from familiar faces like the Bowery Poetry Club, Architecture League, Cooper Union, the Drawing Center, Storefront for Art and Architecture, as well as the New Museum’s Education Department, NEW INC (the museum’s incubator). and New Museum affiliate Rhizome.
4. A Post-Apocalyptic Graffiti Wonderland at The Knockdown Center
Wastedland 2, a site-specific, film installation that transforms spaces into three-dimensional, post-apocalyptic graffiti wonderlands, is coming our way. On Thursday, September 15th, “questions of fate and self-will collide with graffiti folk-lore through wordplay, sculpture, artifacts, and characters” when Wastedland 2 transforms the Knockdown Center into a large-scale, immersive art installation. Created by Andrew H. Shirley, and the actors and members of the notorious Brooklyn-based 907 graffiti crew, viewers will enter the narrative, re-defining how one traditionally engages with film and artwork.
Wastedland 2 spent this past year touring across the United States. Now at the end of its tour, viewers are invited to join Wastedland 2 at the Knockdown Center for a culmination and celebration of that tour. Wastedland 2, Immersive Art Installation and Film Screening, will take place on September 15th, with exhibition and performances from 7:00 to 12 am, and screenings at 9:00pm and 11:00 pm. The Knockdown Center is located at 52-19 Flushing Avenue in Maspeth.
3. Live at The Archway in DUMBO
Stephen Yang courtesy DUMBO BID
Live at the Archway is an annual series of free performances and events taking place in the covered space (or archway) under the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO. This series of one-night events takes place on Thursdays from 6:00 – 9:00 pm as part of a collaboration by the gallery, This Friday or Next Friday, and the DUMBO BID. The events showcase a broad variety of musical genres, dance programming, and art. For the month of September, The Artist Interactive, Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge, and Live at The Archway, will include pop-up galleries by artists Natchie, Tara Dixon, Leigha Pettett, and Eleanor Kupencow.
Don’t forget, September 7 is First Thursday Gallery Walk in DUMBO, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.
2. UsagiNY: Your Kodak Moments Photography Exhibition
UsagiNY will present Your KODAK MOMENTS, a juried exhibition of works by forty photographers, curated by Iris Nesher. The exhibition in presented in conjunction with Gurushots (the worlds greatest photography game), in collaboration with the Bullitt Group, the official KODAK EKTRA Smartphone licensee, to give contest participants a chance to showcase their work in the exhibition.
400 members were selected, 40 photos were printed on Kodak Professional paper, and 360 will be displayed digitally. The winning participants works will be on view from September 13-26, 2017 at UsagiNY, located at 163 Plymouth Street in DUMBO.
1. Rodin at The Met Museum
“The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin, ca. 1910.
As part of Rodin 100 exhibitions and programs at 14 North American museums celebrating the French sculptor’s centenary, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate the life of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) with an exhibit of its historic collection of the artist’s work. Some of the highlights will include The Thinker, The Hand of God, and The Tempest (which has not be on view in decades). In addition, paintings from The Met’s collection by some of Rodin’s contemporaries will include his friends Claude Monet and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. There will also be a selection of drawings, prints, letters, and illustrated books, as well as photographs of Rodin and his art.
The exhibition is timely as The Met first opened a gallery dedicated to Rodin’s sculptures and drawings in 1912 and was the first devoted exclusively to the work of a living artist. Today, The Met’s collection of Rodin’s is among the largest in the United States.
Educational programs will accompany the exhibition. Rodin at The Met will open on September 16 and be on view until January 15, 2018 in the B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Gallery.
While you’re there, visit The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden to view The Theatre of Disappearance before it closes.
Some of the installations from our August roundup are still up, and be sure to check out the Treetops at the Bronx Zoo as the summer comes to an end. In addition, take a Tour of the Members Only Players Club or the Historic Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Studio. You can contact the author at AFineLyne.