April showers bring May flowers! And along with it, a whole slew of new outdoor art installations, festivals and exhibitions. May is traditionally one of the busiest months of the year for new art installations in New York City – and that’s no surprise as the weather improves.
From the new sculptures adorning the Rockefeller Center, to some of the largest murals ever created in New York City, to a brand new season of exhibitions on Governors Island, read on to see what’s new in the art scene this May.
1. Tom Fruin’s Glass House
A glass house by Tom Fruin, the Brooklyn-based artist known for colorful glass mosaic watertowers and other structures, is on display in the open-air courtyard of of Empire Stores along the Brooklyn waterfront for the month of May. Kolonihavehus, a plexiglass and steel sculpture of reclaimed materials that is inspired by the shape of a garden house, has been a well-known fixture in New York City – following appearances in Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and most recently, North Brooklyn Farm at Domino Park – and around the world.
2. Nada House and Rare Air at Governors Island
Governors Island will open to the public this year on May 1st, and with its opening comes the season’s new series of exhibitions. The season starts with Nada House and Rare Air, both exhibitions opening the first week of May and staying on display through July. Nada House, hosted by The New Art Dealers Alliance, is a collaborative exhibition featuring 45 artists across 34 rooms in three Colonial Revival houses on Colonels Row. The exhibition will speak to the island’s changing identity over time, from it’s beginning as Lenape land to its artistic purpose today. Rare Air Season II: Green Screen is an experimental exhibition that will focus on expanding the notions of space and our physical New York footprint, exploring the ideas through green screens, the void and building on the work from Rare Air Season I.
Colonels Row will also be hosting short residencies and other exhibitions with SVA’s MFA Fine Arts, all exploring the concept of “life on an island,” in three, one-month cycles from May to July. The exhibitions will open on the weekends for public viewing, starting Saturday, May 4th, with “Castaways,” followed with “Archipelagos” and “S.O.S.”
3. #ILO100 Art Walk
Photograph Courtesy of Just_A_Spectator, Art by Jorge Geralda
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has partnered with Street Art for Mankind (SAM) to create murals around the United Nations headquarters in Midtown, Manhattan. These murals will inspire ILO’s key themes of “decent work” for all, and crafting a better “future of work” in celebration of 100 years of the International Labor Organization. The murals are some of the largest ever created in New York City, with Jorge Geralda’s Midtown mural, on the wall of the Westin Hotel Grand Central, extending up to thirteen stories.
Five murals have been created by well-known street artists like Clandestinos, Faith 47, Jorge Gerada, Mr Cenz and Victor Ash, all emphasizing ideas such as eco-friendly jobs, youth employment, gender equality in the workplace, and child labor. You can create your own self-guided tour of the murals by downloading the app Behind The Wall, which will provide maps, audio guides and insights on each work.
4. Rockefeller Center Becomes Sculpture Garden for Frieze New York
In partnership with Frieze New York and Tishman Speyer, Rockefeller Center presents Frieze Sculpture, a free public art installation that features 20 different sculptures by 14 international artists, all on display throughout the Center, including Rockefeller Plaza, the Channel Gardens and the Rink. Some notable artists include Nick Cave, Sarah Sze, and Juan Miro.
You can create your own, self-guided tour of the 14 works by downloading the Frieze Art Fairs App, which provides an audioguide and a map. Check out more of our photographs here. Frieze Sculpture will be on display from April 25, 2019 to June 28, 2019.
5. TWA Hotel’s Airplane Cocktail Lounge Opens at JFK
The most anticipated event of this month is undoubtedly the opening of the TWA Hotel on May 15th at John F. Kennedy Airport. While there is much to take in, design and architecture-wise, it’s “Connie” that straddles the line between art installation and entertainment venue. Having traveled from Maine, to JFK Airport to Times Square and back to JFK, Connie is a 1958 Lockheed Constellation, re-outfitted as a retro cocktail lounge.
“Connie,” just over 116 feet long and 23 feet high, will be located in the same place it was parked more than 50 years ago, in 1962 (back when JFK was still called Idlewild Airport). Starting mid-May, guests can enjoy drinks and snacks inside the fuselage, as well as play with the authentic controls inside the plane’s cockpit.
6. Robert Indiana’s Sculptures on the Kasmin Gallery Rooftop Garden
Visible from the High Line, Kasmin Gallery’s rooftop sculpture garden now houses three iconic Robert Indiana sculptures throughout the month of May 2019. Robert Indiana (1928-2018) began to focus on the theme of love in the mid-1960s, creating one of the most famous and well-known works of art of the 20th century: his LOVE composite. Kasmin will display three sculptures from Indiana’s LOVE series, each sculpture representing the word in a different language: Hebrew, Spanish and English — three of New York City’s most influential dialects. The sculptures will celebrate the city’s diverse and colorful history as well as pay homage to the great artist.
Indiana’s LOVE, AMOR and AHAVA are on display and visible from The High Line on 27th Street, with the backdrop of the Zaha Hadid condo The rooftop exhibition will be accompanied by an indoor exhibition comprised of smaller iterations of the LOVE series in the High Line Nine gallery complex.
7. Alicja Kwade: Parapivot at the MET Roof Garden
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden Commission has a new work for the season. Parapivot, by Alicja Kwade is a duo of works made out of steel and stone to capture a miniature solar system. Kwade is a Berlin-based artist who seeks to “heighten both the mystery and absurdity of the human condition in order to enhance our powers of self-reflection.”
This piece will be on display on the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden until October 27, 2019. Parapivot is Kwade’s first solo exhibition at a museum in the United States.
8. En Plein Air at the High Line
“En plein air” refers to the 19th century practice of painting outdoors, something inspired by, and a reaction to, the extreme changes happening in urban areas during the Industrial Revolution. The High Line, being a remnant of New York City’s industrial era, is the perfect place to reexamine and re-explore the tradition of outdoor painting, and with the involvement of several international artists, En Plein Air is an annual installation that challenges conventional sculptures and murals with freestanding, outdoor paintings that explore and restructure the relationship between art, nature and the modern urban city.
The first work above at 20th Street is by Firelei Báez, she depicts a Haitian Sans-Souci Palace ruin that looks like it is collapsing into the High Line. As High Line Arts describes, “In this ongoing body of work, Báez examines incarnations of Sanssouci: the 18th century Rococo palace built by Frederick the Great, the palace of Haitian Revolution leader and proclaimed first King of Haiti Henri Christophe, and Haitian revolution leader Jean-Baptiste Sans Souci, who was assassinated by Henri Christophe.” The second work, a series of four resign paintings, above is by Ryan Sullivan, embedded into the rail lines and plantings at 29th Street.
At 26th Street. Japanese artist Ei Arakawa has created two LED light paintings of fish, an interpretation of French painter Gustave Courbet’s 1872 and 1873 paintings, both titled La truite (The Trout). Other works include hundreds of striped flags at the Western Rail Yards by French artist Daniel Buren (known for his columns at the Palais Royal in Paris), ceramic archways by American artist Sam Falls embedded with fossilized plants from the High Line, life-size portraits on reclaimed doors from Georgian townhouses by Tanzanian artist Lubaina Himid, a large-scale sculpture at The Spur by Lara Schnitger, and a series of unstretched canvases inspired by an artist Vivian Suter Argentian home greet visitors at the southern edge of the park.
En Plein Air will be on display at several locations on the High Line from April 19, 2019 to March 30, 2020.
9. Park Avenue Malls Debut Tension Sculptures
The Park Avenue Malls have been a place for artists to show off their works for years, and now Joseph La Piana’s Tension Sculptures are on display, taking on the form of five different structures exploring questions of “passive materiality.” Each sculpture takes on a different shape and dimension, and all are comprised of yellow, rubber sheets stretched almost unbelievably tight around thick, steel beams. The tension visualized in these “living sculptures,” as La Piana describes them, is supposed to parallel the current political and social climate while also portraying hope, as these are materials that, though pushed to their limits, will not collapse.
Tension Sculptures will be on display on Park Avenue at 53rd, 57th, 60th, 67th and 70th Streets until July 28, 2019.
10. NYCxDesign Pavilion Returns
ECOCAPSULE at the 2019 NYCxDESIGN PAVILION
This year’s NYCxDESIGN, the city-wide festival dedicated to all things design will run from May 10 to 22, 2019. Events will take place across all five boroughs, but one of the annual highlights is the DESIGN PAVILION in Times Square. The multi-purpose structure (this year’s design has not been released yet) serves as the NYCxDESIGN info kiosk, as a performance space, a place for talks, and the location of additional interactive design installations, including a new solar bench by solstreet. The PAVILION will also have accompanying digital programming on the nearby Nasdaq tower.
Check out the full schedule of activities for NYCxDesign here.
11. Chronos Cosmos at the Socrates Sculpture Park
Photograph courtesy of Sara Morgan
Opening on May 5, 2019, Chronos Cosmos: Deep Time, Open Space is a multi-collaborative exhibition in Socrates Sculpture Park that will highlight and put into question our preconceived notions of time, space, matter and our relationship to them and each other. Eight different artist will create art installations for the Long Island City waterfront park, taking advantage of the open-air environment, and present their personal interpretation of time, history and space, taking inspiration from an array of sources including astrophysics and non-western modes of thought. The goal is to upset and reorient the viewers’ perspectives on time and space, revealing alternative ways of interacting with the world and the people in it.
The artists participating in the exhibition are Radcliffe Bailey, Beatriz Cortez, Alicja Kwade (whose work is also on the Met Museum rooftop) Eduardo Navarro, Heidi Neilson, Miya Ando, William Lamson, and Maria Rapicavoli, and the exhibition will be on display until September 2, 2019.
12. Ruth Ewan’s Silent Agitator on the High Line
Ruth Ewan’s large-scale, double-sided clock, visible from the street, is based on the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union’s illustrations; the clock was once one of the many images used on “stickerettes,” otherwise known as “silent gators,” and distributed by union members as they travelled from job to job. The clock was an homage to the round-the-clock work of the union, as well as a callout to factory owners and how they divided public and private time. Ruth Ewan’s work now serves as a call to action for today’s labor struggles and the fight for diminishing labor rights, including the five-day work week and eight-hour work day.
Ruth Ewan’s Silent Agitator is the artist’s first public installation in the United States and will be on display on the High Line Park at 24th Street from April 3, 2019 to March 31, 2020.
13. Launch of the New El-Space in Long Island City
Rendering courtesy NYCDOT
As part of NYCxDESIGN this year, The Design Trust for Public Space and NYC Department of Transportation will install their latest El-Space pilot installation in Long Island City (following up last year’s pilot in Sunset Park that is still in place).
Untapped Cities Insiders are invited to join the launch of of this latest installation with a conversation and visit to El-Space in Long Island City. At this event, which is part of NYCxDesign, Insiders will get a sneak peek at the latest pilot installation and preview the planning framework which will apply to millions of square feet of El-Space across the five boroughs. El-Space is “the first comprehensive approach in the nation to create a more hospitable pedestrian experience, greater environmental resilience, and enhanced lighting beneath and adjacent to elevated transportation infrastructure citywide.” The goals of The El-Space project are to “improve pedestrian mobility and safety, foster environmental health, and link neighborhoods to jobs and amenities.”
14. Simone Leigh: Brick House on The High Line
Simone Leigh, Brick House, 2019. A High Line Plinth commission. On view June 2019 – September 2020. Photo by Timothy Schenck. Courtesy the High Line
Located on the High Line at the Spur, at 30th Street and 10th Avenue will soon stand Brick House, a sixteen-foot-tall bronze bust of a black woman. Her head is adorned with an afro and cornrow braids along her hairline. The figure will stand tall atop the Plinth, with an unwavering gaze on 10th Avenue. Brick House is the first work in the series Anatomy of Architecture by Simone Leigh. The series of sculptures will intermingle architectural forms from West Africa to the American South with the human body.
The Spur does not open until June 5th (stay tuned for a behind the scenes construction tour of the Spur and The High Line for Untapped Cities Insiders) but this art installation will be installed imminently and will be visible from the street.
15. Subliminal Standard by Harold Ancart at Cadman Plaza Park
Harold Ancart, Subliminal Standard at Cadman Plaza Park presented by Public Art Fund, 2019. Photo: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY
Opening on May 1st, The Public Art Fund will present Subliminal Standard, an interactive commission by Belgian artist Harold Ancart. Set up in the northern end of the Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn, Subliminal Standard is a large painted concrete sculpture inspired by the handball courts made popular in the 1900s by U.S. immigrants. The installation will be a place of play and interaction, inviting the viewers to immerse themselves in the piece and consider the relationship between handball courts, playgrounds and abstraction.
Subliminal Standard is Ancart’s first public art commission in the United States, and will be on display until March 1, 2020.
16. “The New York Artists’ Memorial Garden” in Jackson Square Park
In an extension of NYC Park’s “Adopt a Bench” program, White Columns and the Art Production Fund present “The New York Artists’ Memorial Garden,” a collaborative project in which 34 artists were invited to dedicate the benches of Greenwich Village’s Jackson Square Park to a person or entity significant to them and their lives. The individual engravings that now adorn each bench make the park a place of public contemplation, giving honor to figures such as James Baldwin and Maya Deren, celebrating the contributions of past artists and acting as a physical commemoration of how they’ve inspired the next generation of artists.
“The New York Artists’ Memorial Garden” premiered on April 30, 2019 and is expected to be a long term installation at Jackson Square Park.
17. Leander Knust’s Re-Material Wall at West 111th Street People’s Garden
Photograph courtesy the Artist and Socrates Sculpture Park
Leander Knust’s Re-Material Wall uses a solar panel to power the electroforming process that transfers copper molecules from their suspended pipes to the wires in each, solution-filled jar. The molecules will then accumulate and form their own unique designs, as the steel rusts, wood bends and sculpture “decays.” Re-Material Wall is one of many works of Knust that explores decay, growth and the process of change.
Knust’s Re-Material Wall will be on display at the West 111th’s Street People’s Garden from April 14, 2019 to April 13, 2020.
18. Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway, Audubon Sculpture Project
In partnership with New York City Audubon, Broadway Mall Association, New York City Parks Department, and Gitler & Gallery, artist Nicolas Holiber presents, “Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway, Audubon Sculpture Project”. The National Audubon Society posted its Birds & Climate Change Report in September 2014, which cautioned that half of all North American bird species will be endangered over the coming decades as a result of global warming.
Artist Nicolas Holiber chose 12 out of the 145 species of birds that reside in New York City to include in the Audubon Sculpture Project. The twelve sculptures will be made out of reclaimed wood sourced from the city itself and located between 64th and 157th Streets. The project seeks to bring “attention to the plight of birds threatened by climate change while simultaneously bringing beauty to the urban landscape.” This installation will open later this month.
19. Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Visions of the Afterlife in the Catholic Tradition in the Fort Hamilton Gatehouse
Image courtesy Mathew Jensen.
Morbid Anatomy has a new, temporary home in Green-Wood, a National Historic Landmark that was one of the first rural cemeteries in America. In Green-Wood’s historic Fort Hamilton Gatehouse, Morbid Anatomy will display Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Visions of the Afterlife in the Catholic Tradition, an exhibition which will contain art and artifacts that revolve around the Catholic view of the afterlife and how that view has affected and guided the masses. The items will be taken from both the Morbid Anatomy community and The Green-Wood Historic Fund Collections, and for those interested in learning more about the intersection between death, art and culture, the gatehouse’s attic will contain Morbid Anatomy’s extensive library and other collections.
Angel with Charrasca, Equine Jawbone Instrument, 2017, Phyllis Galembo, taken in Mochitlán, Mexico; Collection of Joanna Ebenstein
Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Visions of the Afterlife in the Catholic Tradition will be on display from April 20, 2019 to June 30, 2019.
20. A Portrait of Contemporary Travel by Holger Keifel at La Guardia Airport
Photo courtesy Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Holger Keifel has officially started his residency at LaGuardia Airport’s historic Marine Terminal A as part of his photography project A Portrait of Contemporary Travel, in which he will explore what it means to travel today and what the contemporary traveler looks like. The Queens-based artists invites LaGuardia’s travelers to sit for a portrait and share their personal travel stories with him, the goal being to create an authentic “snapshot” of the diverse group of people flying in and out of the city. Keifel wants to present people as they are, no staging or photo manipulation, in order to tell the real story of people’s lives. He has done similar photo series on professional boxers and 9/11 first responders.
Keifel’s A Portrait of Contemporary Travel is supported by the Queens Council on the Arts and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and he will occupy the airport terminal’s studio for the next three months.
21. Midnight Moment in Times Square
Photo by Ka-Man Tse for times Square Arts
Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight. Presented by the Times Square Advertising Coalition and curated by Times Square Arts since 2012, it has an estimated annual viewership of 2.5 million.
Every night in May from 11:57pm-midnight, you can see Petra Cortight’s work Pink_Para_1st Choice, a fragmented self-portrait work in partnership with Rhizome. As Times Square Arts states, Cortright plays “with the relationship between the computer screen and voyeurism, and the Internet’s effect on how we perceive subjectivity. The artist watches herself in the computer screen while singing along to a song we cannot hear. Through the webcam, Cortright presents herself as both subject and object, independent of any male or female gaze. In the context of a public screening, the work becomes a statement about the way women engage with the propagation of images on the Internet, both their own and those intended to represent or appeal to them.”
22. Ecological City Mobile Mural
Photograph courtesy of Josh Mortiz
After the city dismissed the community-engaged and approved East Side Coastal Resiliency plan (commonly known as the BIG U or the Dryline) and instead chose a plan that would build a hard edge seawall and close the current waterfront parks for four years, some community members have decided to fight back with “creative placemaking” action. Along with parades of costumed marchers and giant puppets, part of the community action involved creating a 40-foot long mobile mural that celebrates the gardens, neighborhoods, and parks of the Lower East Side waterfront including Two Bridges, Loisaida Area, and Stuyvesant Cove, and of course the river itself. The six sections of the mural are each dedicated to the history of a specific facet of the ESCR community vision.
The mural will be unveiled on May 11th, and you register to participate in Ecological City’s spring events here.
Next read on for the numerous art installations still in place in New York City that you can still see in this month!
23. Bridge Over Tree at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Siah Armajani, Bridge Over Tree, 2019, photograph by Timothy Schenck, courtesy Public Art Fund, NY
SSiah Armajani’s public art installation Bridge Over Tree debuted at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1970. Nearly fifty years later, the piece will be on display again in a re-staging at Brooklyn Bridge Park starting February 20th. The piece blurs the line between art and architecture, as does most of Armajani’s work which consist largely of outdoor structures. Bridge Over Tree is a 91-foot-long walkway with a shingled roof and stairs at the middle that arch over a small tree. The piece, presented by the Public Art Fund, will be installed between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges on the Empire Fulton Ferry lawn. Bridge Over Tree is the only outdoor piece associated with Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, a new retrospective exhibit of Armajani’s career at the Met Breuer.
The installation will be up until September 29, 2019.
24. The Shed at Hudson Yards
The Shed at Hudson Yards, which opened to the public on April 5, 2019, is a new indoor/outdoor center for the arts. Its groundbreaking structure was designed by Diller, Scofio + Renfro, Lead Architect, and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect and will adapt and transform to accommodate all disciplines and all audiences.
The Shed’s May programming will feature two art exhibitions: Reich Richter Part, an immersive live performance installation which explores the relationship of visual art and music (April 6 – June 2, 2019), and an installation of new work by artist Trisha Donelly (April 6 – May 30, 2019). Inside the Griffin Theater there will be performances of Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, a spoken and sung performance piece written by Anne Carson and starring Ben Whishaw (April 6 – May 19, 2019), as well as a staged concert by Björk in The McCourt space (May 6 – June 1, 2019). POWERPLAY, a production by multimedia artist LATASHÁ in collaboration with The Shed it’s DIS OBEY program for New York City high school students will premiere for two days and explores women-centered ideas of power and collective action through dance, spoken word and moving images (May 18 – May 19, 2019). The only permanent installation at The Shed is In Front of Itself by Lawrence Wiener. Weiner’s piece is a site-specific installation embedded in The Shed’s plaza.
25. Holocaust-era Freight Car Installation at Museum of Jewish Heritage
In Battery City Park at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, an actual artifact from the early twentieth century is now on display. This freight car is not a replica and was actually used by the German National Railway during World War II to transport soldiers, prisoners of war, and then Jews to killing centers.
The freight car is an element of the upcoming exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. which will open to the public on May 8, 2019 and include over 700 artifacts from World War II never before seen in the United States.
26. Mark Manders: Tilted Head
On March 6, Dutch artist Mark Manders’ largest single cast bronze sculpture opened at the Central Park entrance at 60th Street and 5th Avenue. Titled Tilted Head and debuted by the Public Art Fund, the 13-foot-tall human head is made of clay-looking bronze and was commissioned for Doris C. Freedman Plaza. Tilted Head is Mark Manders’ “largest single cast bronze sculpture to date” and this is the first time it’s been in New York City. The mysteriously unfinished sculpture’s cracks juxtapose the tranquil expression on the head’s face.
The installation will be on display until September 1, 2019.
27. Lost and Found at Snark Park
Photograph by Noah Kalina courtesy of Snark Park/Team Camron
Snark Park is Snarkitecture’s new permanent exhibition space in Hudson Yards and its inaugural exhibition, Lost and Found, was opened to the public on March 15. Lost and Found will “encourage visitors to lose themselves in a labyrinth of massive, inhabitable columns, some of which are large enough to occupy and many of which offer unique audible, visual, and tactile experience.” Described as a “modern-day enchanted forest,” the exhibition hopes to challenge visitors to interact with the installation and reveal secret worlds through the material changes and twists of Lost and Found. This exhibition will be one of three hosted by Snark Park this year, and will be on display through August 2019.
28. Tats Cru Houston Bowery Wall Mural
Photograph by Martha Cooper, Courtesy of Goldman Properties
The Houston Bowery Wall has been a canvas for great art since the 1970s when Keith Haring painted a mural there. In the ensuing decades a variety of artists have been commissioned to leave their creative mark on the wall. The latest group to be added to this line-up of talent is the Tats Cru who debuted their mural at the end of January. According to the Bowery Boogie, the Bronx-based group is the first full graffiti crew to paint a mural on the wall. The mural, which replaces JR’s anti-gun piece, is a representation of New York City, with a special homage to the Lower East Side. Within the colorful mural you will see a nod to the history of the wall itself and a to the nearby Liz Christy Garden, the first community garden in New York City.
29. Guardians of Jackson Heights
Photograph by Annabelle Popa
PArtist Annabelle Popa drew on her childhood growing up in Jackson Heights to create Artsite’s latest mural. Popa’s Guardians of Jackson Heights was inspired by her ramblings through the gardens and courtyards of the neighborhood where she would find a variety of “guardian” animals along the pathways. The mural can be found on the wall of Image Heights Pharmacy along 76th street at 37th avenue, a location that has overhead lighting so the mural can be viewed at night, and was long enough for Popa to create a narrative that reveals itself as viewers walk along the block. The artist told the Queens Council on the Arts that she hopes the mural will inspire people in the neighborhood to use their imagination and see elements of Jackson Heights that may be overlooked.
The mural will be on display through Spring 2019.
30. 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). It will be up until June 2019.
31. 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. The installation will be up until September 27, 2019.
32. 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 marked 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 until May 12, 2019 in various locations through New York Harbor.
33. 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. There are a total of eight murals to see.
34. El-Space Installation in Sunset Park
During NYCxDesign Week 2018, 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.
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. James and Karla Murray’s ‘Moms-and-Pops of the L.E.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 July of 2018 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.
38. “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, 2018, 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.
39. Rebecca Manson in Tribeca Park
Photo by Alexander Atkins, courtesy of the artist
In July of 2018, 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.
40. 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.
Absent Monuments will be on display until June 30, 2019.
41. 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 arrived at the Brooklyn Museum in October of 2018, 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.
42. 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, features 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 is located along the Hudson River in Riverside Park at 67th Street and will be up until August 22nd, 2019.