Photograph Courtesy of Rudy King Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
If you can bear the cold January temperatures outside there are a bunch of exciting outdoor art installations to check out this month in New York City! If you prefer to stay warm and inside, we’ve also included some indoor exhibits to check out as well. From the world’s largest interactive video installation to a summer garden in the middle of winter, here are 32 art installations not to miss this month:
1. The Now – Interactive Holiday Special
Photograph by Laia Cabrera
The Now – Holiday Special is an outdoor interactive video public art installation that has been extended into the New Year. Stretching seventy-two feet long on the windows of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Times Square, it is the world’s largest interactive public art installation! The installation is comprised of video art, animation, video mapping and interactivity created by talented filmmakers and video artists Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger, with interactivity by NoirFlux and Karan Parikh. The special holiday edition of The Now offers “a journey into magical worlds, intertwining reality and fantasy, opening doors to hidden places and participatory environments, with a holiday Twist.” Visitors who interact with the piece by walking and moving will unravel different storylines. The installation will be up until January 16th.
2. Candy Nations at the Oculus
Photograph Courtesy of Rudy King Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Artist Laurence Jenkell’s Candy Nations sculptures have popped in other New York City locations before and this winter make their latest appearance outside the World Trade Center Oculus. Jenkell’s series is made up of oversized candy shaped sculptures emblazoned with the flags of different countries from around the world. The piece was first created for the G20 Summit in Cannes, France in 2011. The sculptures can be found surrounding and inside the Oculus, in front of One and Two World Trade Center, the Millenium Hilton, and St. Nicholas’ Church and inside Liberty Park. To find a certain country, you can reference the map below. The sculptures will be on display until February 28th, 2019.
3. Louis Vuitton Windows
Photo Courtesy of Louis Vuitton / Ricky Zehavi
In celebration of Virgil Abloh’s debut collection as Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton, the Fifth Avenue store now has on display a 12-story piece of art! The oversized figure stands inside the store creating an optical illusion that extends onto the street and throughout the store. Abloh’s collection drew inspiration from the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” The window installations the accompany the giant art piece draw on the same aesthetic themes with technicolor skies, fields of flowers and the yellow brick road. There is also a short residency inside Chrome Hearts in the West Village which will feature a range of tailored to casual ready to wear pieces, shoes, leather goods and multi-colored accessories from Abloh’s debut collection in an exclusively designed and conceptual space.
4. Fearless Girl Statue
The Fearless Girl statue, which for nearly two years stared down the Wall Street Bull near Bowling Green, has taken up residence in a new spot in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The statue was removed from her original location in November and replaced by a plaque in her footprints. The statue debuted in front of the Stock Exchange, which will reportedly be her permanent home, late in December and is on view for anyone passing by to visit.
5. January’s Midnight Moment in Times Square
Photograph by Ian Douglas for Times Square Arts
At midnight on every night in January the work of French visual artist and director Vergine Keaton will grace the mega-screens of Times Square. Times Square Alliance’s January Midnight Moment will feature Keaton’s I was crying out at life (2009), an animation that “inverts classical hunting and landscape scenes from 19th-century engravings to tell a tale of stags chasing hounds.” Keaton says of the piece, “Times Square is the ultra-urban, the very incarnation of remoteness from natural life. That the deer, dogs, and birds will pelt down in their furious race across the screens of the city, towering over the audience, seems to me to add yet another dimension to the film—bringing nature where it once was and showing its timelessness against the scale of human construction.” I was crying out at life is presented in partnership with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) during the Animation First festival.
6. Summer in Winter
Escape the cold temperatures of the New York City Streets with a walk through a tropical botanical garden inside the Cadillac House. Presented by Visionaire, Summer in Winter by Studio Lily Kwong is a lush indoor summer garden that offers a revitalizing respite from the cold grey city outside with vibrant tropical plants from countries all over the world. Throughout the 1,000 square foot garden on Hudson Street, visitors will find a dense landscape of ferns from Australia, flowering plants from the tropical Americas, rainforest trees, succulents native to Southern Africa, and cycads, palm-tree like trees that are known as living fossils. The garden, inside the creative space run b will be open until January 16th, 2019.
Click on to see the other pieces of notable outdoor art (and a few architecturally-minded indoor exhibitions and installations) to see around the city that are still here this month:
7. Drawing the Invisible by Wendy Letven
Inside the Flatiron Prow you can see a sculptural piece of artwork by Wendy Letven called “Drawing the Invisible.” To form the colorful shapes in the piece Letven took inspiration from the shape of New York City subway lines, nerves in the human eye and other unlikely places. The result is a vibrant and exciting piece that reflects the bustling energy surrounding the Flatiron location.
8. See All the Street Art Pieces by Kobra in NYC
The Brazilian street artist Kobra has been hyperactive in New York City since October. His colorful, stunning works are all large-scale, and the adventurous can visit all 18 pieces just like what Silvie Bonne, author of A NYC Guide for Instagrammers which just released last month, did. She’s shared with us eight of her favorites, including one that particularly caught our eye above Empire Diner in Chelsea, featuring Mount Rushmore with the faces of Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
9. A 7,220 Square Foot Asphalt Mural in the Bronx
Photo courtesy NYC DOT
Outside of P.S. 69 Journey Prep School in Soundview, Bronx, a 7,200 square asphalt mural designed by artist Carla Torres was completed just as November ended. Entitled “The World is Our Oyster,” this is one of the largest murals the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program has ever completed through the Asphalt Art Activations initiative. The work was inspired by the area surrounding the school, as well as the students themselves.
10. New Work by Artist JR for Guns in America in Brooklyn
JR’s work at the Bowery Mural in conjunction with the TIME Magazine cover “Guns in America” made a big splash (see more detail on that piece later in this article), but a follow-up mural in Brooklyn just off the Brooklyn Queens Expressway got literally no coverage. This wheat pasting takes over the side of a whole building and features a portion of the same cover magazine.
Alban Denoyel, founder of the 3D platform Sketchfab snapped photographs, and then used a drone to capture a 3D annotated image you can view here.
11. What We Carry Sculpture Celebrates Immigrants in Queens
Photo courtesy Queens Council on the Arts
Queens Council on the Arts has installed its first-ever ArtSite Project in Elmhurst, featuring the work of local artist Yvonne Shortt. The sculpture, titled “What We Carry,” celebrates the immigrant culture in the Jackson Heights-area. She sat in Dunningham Park, where the sculpture is now located, to collect stories from the community. She says, “My family came by boat but I thought by listening to others I could incorporate other influences into the piece. Sitting in the park I learned how some came by plane and others by land. I think it’s so important to remember that in many cases, one doesn’t leave everything behind unless where they are leaving is worse.”
What We Carry is located in Dunningham Triangle (82nd St. &, Baxter Ave, Elmhurst, NY 11373)
12. New York Botanical Garden Train Show
Image courtesy the New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden Train Show is still running through January 21st with over 175 New York City landmarks created from barks, leaves, and other plant-based materials. Model trains run through the miniature wonderland located inside the stunning Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. This year, some new additions and new replicas will include the historic Battery Maritime Building, vintage ferry boats, the Battery Park Control House, the Woolworth Building, One World Trade Center, the Oculus, and the Terminal Warehouse. You can reserve your tickets here.
Check out photos of some of the new buildings at the New York Botanical Garden Train Show!
13. The Poetry Jukebox
The Poetry Jukebox, a version which was previously at Extra Place in 2017, will be at Ruth Wittenburg Triangle in Greenwich Village through February 22nd, 2019, an initiative of the Village Alliance, playing twenty poems by neighborhood figures including Jane Jacobs, Edna St. Vincent Millay (who lived in the narrowest house in New York City), James Baldwin, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Emma Lazarous, and Mark Twain.
The Poetry Jukebox was started by the Czeck project Piána na ulici (Pianos on the Street) by Ondřej Kobza, a coffee house owner and Michaela Hečková. The mission of the organization is to animate public spaces, on a worldwide scale – and besides the Poetry Jukebox they install street pianos (similar to NYC’s Sing for Hope), public chess tables, and other public installations. The Poetry Jukeboxes have been installed in Prague, London, Kiev, Belfast, Venice, Brussels and other cities.
14. Socrates Sculpture Park Annual Exhibition
Joiri Minaya, Tropticon, 2018, Courtesy the Artist & Socrates Sculpture Park, Photo by Sara Morgan.
The Socrates Sculpture Park Annual Exhibition is up through March 10, 2019 featuring the new commissioned work of 15 artists (including one artist-pair) who were awarded the Park’s Emerging Artist Fellowship. The artists work on-site at the park’s outdoor studio in the summer and create a work that’s designed specifically for the park’s landscape and context. The Park describes the 2018 exhibition:
“Projects range from a decolonial greenhouse to audio-sculptural portraits of Queens hip-hop legends. Approaches vary among community-centered pedagogy and production, material experimentation, and redeployment of historical forms of construction, among others. This year contemporary and historical land-use is examined by several artists in projects including a labyrinth of fences and gates, and a steel and textile installation that traces the East River ecology of waste flows through land, water, and biological life. Additionally, several artists employ representations of the human figure, perhaps suggesting a time for reflection upon the Humanist philosophies that seem precarious with looming climate change and ongoing political conflict.”
15. Art in Concrete Plant Park
Photo courtesy Sohhee Oh, via NYC Parks
A relatively new NYC Parks Art in the Parks installation is up in Concrete Plant Park in the Bronx. Artists Sohhee Oh, Lovie Pignata, and Moses Ros have created a three connected works: a long bench of painted concrete blocks that reference native plants from the Bronx River Foodway, geometric concrete pavers that are inspired by Bronx’ original native dwellers, the Mohegans, along with its current diverse population and colorful flags at the entrances of the a park that were designed in conjunction with the local community.
Concrete Plant Park was previously a location for Swale, the foragable floating food forest.
16. M.C. Escher Exhibition and Experience
Installation view, ESCHER. The Exhibition & Experience at Industry City, June 8, 2018–February 3, 2019. Photo by Adam Reich. Courtesy Arthemisia.
Escher: The Exhibition and Experience, which originated in Italy and has been in Rome, Bologna, Milan, Singapore, Madrid and Lisbon, is now at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Architecture and art fans will discover 200 works by M.C. Escher, the artist famous for his trippy architectural drawings. In addition to a traditional gallery, format, there are spaces you can enter to test your own sense of scale and reality.
The exhibition is curated by Mark Veldhuysen (the curator of the M.C. Escher Foundation Collection) and Federico Giudiceandrea, described as “one of the world’s foremost collectors of, and experts on, the art of M.C. Escher.”
17. Andy Warhol Retrospective at the Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum will launch the retrospective exhibition, Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again, on November 12th. It will be the first retrospective on Andy Warhol by an American museum since 1989, and the largest monographic exhibition at the Whitney Museum’s Meatpacking location since it opened. According to the Whitney Museum, “The exhibition positions Warhol’s career as a continuum, demonstrating that he didn’t slow down after surviving the assassination attempt that nearly took his life in 1968, but entered into a period of intense experimentation.”
There will be 350 works, and a partial preview has been open since October 12th. The exhibition will be up through March 31st, 2019.
18. OY-YO at Brooklyn Museum
Deborah Kass’ OY-YO sculpture made a splash when it debuted in Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2015. Meant to be seen in both ways, it serves as a welcome point between different cultures. OY-YO spent some time in Williamsburg after Dumbo, and has just arrived at the Brooklyn Museum, joining other works in the Something to Say exhibition of text-based works by Brooklyn-based artists Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Hank Willis Thomas.
According to the press release, “In Prospect Heights and neighboring Crown Heights, OY/YO takes on new meaning, as it speaks to the longstanding, complex, and ever-evolving social dynamics between Black, Latinx, and Jewish communities in the neighborhood. At the Brooklyn Museum, OY/YO will function as a new greeting, welcoming visitors to the museum connecting to a diverse audience, while also saying “hey” to locals.
OY-YO will be on view at Brooklyn Museum until June 30th, 2019.
19. Arlene Shechet: ‘Full Steam Ahead’ in Madison Square Park
Photo by Rashmi Gill via Madison Square Park Conservancy
Until April 28th, 2019, Madison Square Park will turn its main plaza into a sculpture court with works in wood, porcelain, and cast-iron. The site-specific installation by Arlene Shechet entitled “Full Steam Ahead” hopes to overturn the traditional notion of a sculpture court. According to the Madison Square Park Conservancy, Shechet’s work “riffs on the concept of the staid sculpture court—a mainstay of traditional museum display—as a cloistered experience.” Instead, the human-scale sculptures invite gathering, interaction and seating. Arlene Shechet stated about the project: “My hope has been to reimagine the hardscape of the Park with delight and surprise. New Yorkers rely on the sidewalks, the pavement, and the street as the core of their urban lives. Full Steam Ahead becomes a lively and human amphitheater, softening the hardscape through sculptural intervention evocative of 18th-century garden landscapes.”
20. Viewfinding in Riverside Park
Photo courtesy Sarah E. Brook
Viewfinding, a large-scale public art installation in Riverside Park by Gowanus-based artist Sarah E. Brook, will feature a series of reclaimed lumber and cast-acrylic panels, with engraved text written by 26 queer-identified poets. The acrylic material is selected for its translucency and will shift in color depending on the sunlight and time of day. The poets selected include not only established ones, but also not yet published ones as well.
Viewfinding will be located along the Hudson River in Riverside Park at 67th Street and will be up until August 22nd, 2019.
21. ‘Kathy Ruttenberg on Broadway: in dreams awake’
‘Ms. Mighty Mouse’ on 79th Street; Photo by Lynn Lieberman/Gotham to Go
The Broadway Mall Association debuted Kathy Ruttenberg on Broadway: In Dreams Awake. The exhibit includes six works featured on the Broadway center mediums, located on 64th, 72nd, 79th, 96th, 117th, and 157th Streets.
Each sculpture — described as a combination of human, animal and plant forms — is made from cast silicon bronze, and range between 6 feet to 15 feet in height. (Some even feature LED lighting!) The sculptures take inspiration for their surroundings; for instance, Ms. Mighty Mouse on 79th Street dreams of the cheese at nearby Zabar’s and All the World’s a Stage, which depicts a singing figure, is an allusion to the nearby Lincoln Center.
The exhibit will be on view through February 2019.
22. Dorothy Iannone: ‘I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door’ on the High Line
Photo by Timothy Schenck courtesy of Friends of the High Line
Dorothy Iannone’s mural I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door debuted on the High Line near West 22nd Street earlier this year. The mural features three colorful interpretations of the Statue of Liberty accompanied by the words “I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door”. The piece pays homage to the final line of Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus”, which is engraved on the bronze plaque mounted inside the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal.
Each statue painted in this mural is shedding a single tear, evoking the current polarizing debates surrounding immigration and disputed symbolism of the Statue of Liberty in relation to immigration policy. The work will be on view until March 2019.
23. Dazzle Boat from Public Art Fund
Photo by Nicholas Knight courtesy of Public Art Fund
Flow Separation by New York artist Tauba Auerbach is a piece that converts the historic Fireboat John J. Harvey into what the Public Art Fund calls a “contemporary dazzle ship.” The concept of the “dazzle ship” dates back to World War I, when British painter Norman Wilkinson came up with the idea to strategically paint war ships in a way that created optical illusions that distorted the forms of the boats. Thus, they puzzled the soldiers on enemy ships who struggled to track the movements of the British ships.
2018 marks the anniversary of the end of World War I, and Auerbach’s installation prompts us to reflect upon this history. The piece evokes themes of innovation and abstraction, for Auerbach was inspired by the forms of objects as they move through water. She employed the method of transferring ink on water onto paper to achieve the pattern on the display boat.
Flow Separation will be on view through May 12, 2019 in various locations through New York Harbor.
24. James and Karla Murray’s ‘Moms-and-Pops of the L.5.S.’
Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray
James and Karla Murray’s exhibit Moms-and-Pops of the L.E.S. is part of 10 Uniqlo Park Expressions that are on view across the city. This piece is a pop-up that debuted last month in Seward Park on the Lower East Side. Moms-and-Pops is a life-sized structure that displays four large photographs of mom-and-pop ships that have closed in the Lower East Side, such as Cup & Saucer and Chung’s Candy & Soda Stand.
The installation seeks to highlight the disappearance of small businesses like bodegas, coffee shops, luncheonettes, delis, and newsstands that used to be numerous in the Lower East Side. The artists state that the piece seeks to represent the “small businesses that were common in the Lower East Side and helped bring the community together through people’s daily interactions.”
A combination of metal and wooden materials makes the sculpture weather-proof and capable of lasting the entire year, perhaps a nod to the legacy of these now extinct businesses of the Lower East Side.
Moms-and-Pops of the L.E.S will be on view until June 19, 2019.
25. Rose DeSiano: ‘Absent Monuments’
Photo by Rose DeSiano Courtesy of New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
Rose DeSiano’s Absent Monuments, also part of the UNIQLO Parks Expressions Grant, is on view in Queens’ Rufus King Park until June 2019. The installation is constructed of several mirrored obelisks that feature Dutch Delft photographic tiles that explore the history of the park, as well as floral tiles inspired by Native American patterns. The mirrored surfaces confront the viewer with their reflection and subtly prompt them to reflect on their own identity and their situation within the history of Jamaica, Queens, which is full of colonization, war, abolitionism, immigration, and rural urbanization. Simultaneously, the tiles pay homage to the history of Native American people and address the patterns of cultural displacement that have occurred in Queens.
26. Zaq Landsberg: ‘Islands of the Unisphere’
Photo courtesy Zaq Landsberg via NYC Parks
Around the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park sit the sculptures that comprise Zaq Landberg’s Islands of the Unisphere (yet another of the UNIQLO Parks Expressions Grant program). The Unisphere monument, a fixture of the park, is a large sculptural globe with recognizable land masses, but without labels and borders. Landberg expanded on this famed monument by choosing islands off of the Unisphere, recreating them at scale, and placing them horizontally on the grass. The islands act as seating, stages, and meeting places, community spaces that encourage people to forge connections and reflect on the tremendous diversity of Queens.
Unisphere will be on view until June 10, 2019.
27. AGORA Group Installation on The High Line
AGORA on The High Line is an outdoor group exhibition by nine artists explores the role of art and artists in defining, creating, and using public space. The name of the exhibit is inspired by the same ancient Greek word, which literally translates to a gathering place — a fitting name as New York City’s public spaces have served as a home to a plethora of artworks over the decades, ranging from WPA murals to graffiti tags.
AGORA will focus on the power of art to change society. As such, it addresses current issues, including women’s rights, mass incarceration, the environment and immigration. For instance, the work above, “C.R.E.A.M.,” by Sable Elyse Smith, is an altered replica of the Hollywood Sign that reads IRONWOODLAND — a reference both to the Ironwood State Prison and to “Hollywoodland,” the segregated real estate development that was advertised by the original sign. The exhibit will be on view until March 2019 at various locations along The High Line.
Next, check out The Top 10 Secrets of the High Line.
28. Shed Murals at the World Trade Center
Vesey mural by Chinon Maria and Sebastian Mitre
While construction of 2 World Trade is on hold, a collection of corrugated metal sheds housing mechanical equipment have been spruced up by artists from around the world to make the area look less like a construction zone and more like a hip pedestrian throughway. The sheds, which are bounded by Greenwich, Vesey and Church Streets and the Oculus transportation hub, feature murals by Australian illustrator Brolga, Los Angeles-based artist Todd Gray, Korean-born Joohee Park, aka Stickymonger, the husband and wife team of Chinon Maria and Sebastian Mitre, Japanese-born, New York resident Riiisa Boogie, and Bronx native Hektad. When all of the murals are complete there will be 8 colorful works to see!
Mural by Todd Gray
29. El-Space Installation in Sunset Park
During NYCxDesign Week, we were honored to be a partner of The Design Trust for Public Space in the launch of El-Space, a long-term pilot installation located under the Gowanus Expressway in Sunset Park at 36th Street and 3rd Avenue, just adjacent to Industry City. El Space is the product of a five year, critical exploration in how New York City can better activate the forgotten, unfriendly spaces beneath aging elevated infrastructure and culminates in this first pilot installation that showcases what an alternative walkway beneath the Gowanus Expressway could look like.
El-Space was designed with input from the diverse local community through charettes and on-site pop-up workshops, including work with students at Sunset Park High School and members of a Community Advisory Board.The design tests strategies for lighting, green infrastructure, and urban design for replicability, aesthetics, and of course, how the public uses and engages with it. El-Space will be installed for about a year, used to test and refine strategies for future permanent activations. For the passerby, it’s a cool visual addition to an industrial space and for the community, it has created a new meeting spot.
30. Rebecca Manson in Tribeca Park
Photo by Alexander Atkins, courtesy of the artist
In July, Tribeca Park unveiled artist Rebecca Manson’s first public sculpture, a monumental public art piece titled Come Closer and the View Gets Wider. The piece consists of thousands of handmade, glazed porcelain parts that are fused together to create a magnificent eight-foot orb.
As the title and the composition of the piece suggests, the perspective at which the piece is viewed impacts the viewer’s perception. Each of the thousands of hand-crafted parts appear rather insignificant on their own and from afar, appear to blend in to the seamless piece. Collectively, the small pieces are crucial to creating the whole piece, which stresses the impact of small things coming together to create something greater. The work will be on display until July 2019.
31. Sonic Gates Sound Sculpture Walk on Staten Island
Photograph courtesy of Design Trust for Public Space
Sonic Gates is a public art installation that features a series of eight sound sculptures and murals in Staten Island placed along the waterfront, on Bay Street, and in Tappen Park. The installation is part of a larger project titled Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront by the Design Trust for Public Space in partnership with Staten Island Arts.
Works include the piece in the photograph above, which was made by Arthur Simms and is on display in the harbor off the Stapleton Esplanade, and a piece by DB Lampman, on display in Tappen Park, which consists of an assemblage of wind chimes that hang over the head of its viewers and encourages them to engage with the piece using senses besides sight.
“The Future Culture pilots will highlight our borough’s rich cultural assets, from the Bay Street commercial corridor bustling with restaurants, stores and art centers, to Parks locations where dynamic community activities are taking place, to the spectacular waterfront, where we are reflecting Staten Island’s deep maritime heritage,” said Elizabeth Bennett, Executive Director at Staten Island Arts.
Akin to the Design Trust for Public Space’s initiatives to reactive underutilized spaces under elevated highways (to be covered later in this article), this initiative looks to “inspire Staten Islanders and visitors to walk the underused pathways and unleash new possibilities for regenerating public spaces as a valuable community asset,” said Susan Chin, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space.
32. “River Rising/Sube el Rio” at Starlight Park
River Rising/Sube el Rio: An Exposition of Science, Art and Technology is an outdoor public art sculpture exhibition in Starlight Park in the Bronx. The exhibit opened on June 30, in a weekend of parades, dancing, and live music to celebrate the revitalization of the Bronx River and Starlight Park.
The installation is composed of eight large-scale public art sculptures by various artists curated by the Bronx River Art Center. The sculptures are meant to be enjoyed as “modern pavilions” that can be utilized as public community spaces. The sculptures pay homage to the 1918 Bronx International Exposition of Science, Arts and Industries.
The installations will be on view until June 29, 2019.