Ziggy at Flatiron Plaza. Photo by Jessica Nash, courtesy of Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership
It’s our annual holiday-themed guide to New York City’s newest and upcoming public art installations! This December, there’s an exciting revival coming to the Bronx Zoo, the return of beloved favorites like the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, and also new non-holiday themed art works in New York City to discover.
1. Ziggy at Flatiron
The annual holiday art installation at Flatiron Plaza is up, anchoring 23 Days of Cheer. Ziggy, a work designed by Hou de Sousa, a New York-based design architecture, art, and design studio is an illuminated, interactive structure made of painted rebar and 27,000 feet of iridescent cord. The pieces for the Flatiron’s holiday installation always engage not only with people but with the architectural surroundings, and Ziggy is no exception as a visually compelling counterpoint to the buildings around with arches to walk through and seating within.
The annual holiday art installation is selected through an closed-call competition run by Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, Van Alen Institute and NYC DOT Art. Ziggy is located on the Flatiron North Public Plaza at the intersection of 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue and will be up until January 1, 2020.
2. Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show is back and bigger than ever this year as the “mini metropolis” made out of plant materials takes over a new space adjacent to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (The Conservatory is undergoing restoration). The 28th annual train show features miniature versions of buildings found throughout New York City, and the Hudson Valley, constructed out of natural materials such as leaves, acorns, twigs and seeds, arranged around a web of tracks with model trains zipping by. New to the show this year are plant-based versions of the historic structures of Central Park.
Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Terrace, the Dairy, the Namburg Bandshell, the Bow Bridge and the Oak Bridge make up the fleet of new replicas you will find at the train show this year. They join existing replicas of the Swedish Cottage, Marionette Theater, the Old Bandstand and several Fifth Avenue museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and the Guggenheim, to create a tableau of the Central Park area of Manhattan.
3. NYC’s Department Store Holiday Windows
The New York City annual department store holiday windows are up, like Saks Fifth Avenue (above) with its windows in honor of the new animated films Frozen 2. Bloomingdale’s theme this year is ““Out of This World Holiday Windows” with a futuristic UFO theme. Bergdorf Goodman’s theme is “Bergdorf Good Times,” which “evokes a time-honored spirit of a holiday fête but with a twist” according to the Department Store. Also look out for spectacular displays at Macy’s, Louis Vuitton, and more!
4. Luminaries at Brookfield Place
Photo courtesy Brookfield Place
This holiday season, you can make a wish inside the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place and a canopy of lanterns will change color. Brookfield Place is donating $1 for every wish that’s made, up to $25,000, to the non-profit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. An annual tradition, the Luminaries light installation is designed by LAB at Rockwell Group.
Brookfield Place has really taken shape over the last few years, and you can also take in ice skating outside along the harbor, musical performances like The Nutcracker on December 6, 7, 8 and a plethora of food options at the various food halls.
5. Unity in Downtown Brooklyn
Breaking through the sidewalk, amongst the new construction and historic buildings of Downtown Brooklyn, a giant, muscular arm, pointing upwards, rises towards the sky. This new public artwork at the intersection of Tillary and Adams Streets is a sculpture by artist Hank Willis Thomas. The 22.5-foot bronze arm greets people near the Brooklyn entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Titled Unity, the piece is meant to represent the ambitious attitude of Brooklyn.
Modeled after the arm and hand of NBA athlete Joel Embiid, the sculpture is of an outstretched arm pointing towards the sky with its index finger. The sculpture, which took five years to create, was commissioned by New York City’s Percent for Art program. In a press release for the sculpture, Thomas said, “This sculpture is a homage to, and celebration of, the unique and multifaceted character of the borough of Brooklyn. The spirit of Brooklyn has always been about upward mobility and connection to roots.” Thomas also said the sculpture was a call to action to have people literally look up. All around the area where the sculpture is placed, and all over Brooklyn in general, new buildings are rising up. Some see the sculpture as Brooklyn loudly proclaiming itself as the #1 borough. We’ll let you decide for yourself.
6. Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights
Photo by Julie Larsen Maher courtesy Bronx Zoo
The dazzling Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights are back for the first time since 2007. Visitors will be able to walk-through the zoo to experience wildlife-themed LED displays, custom Asian lanterns, animated light shows on the historic Astor Court and more. There are large-scale lighted sculptures of gorillas, lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, reindeer, sea animals, and more.
7. Street Art Inside the Equitable Building
Photo by Joe Woolhead courtesy Silverstein Properties
The Equitable Building at 120 Broadway is one of the most storied buildings in New York City, single-handedly responsible for the creation of the first zoning code (people were afraid the building’s scale would lead to more like buildings and cast a permanent shadow on lower Manhattan). It recently went through a massive renovation, with a restored lobby, new 40th floor cafe and rooftop space.
The third floor of the Equitable Building, used as an open space that serves as the building’s marketing center where prospective tenants are taken through on tours, was recently painted with a plethora of street art murals, including pieces by Lynne Yun, Michael Iver Jacobson, Pablo Ancona, Sam Meyerson, and Sebastien Dauchez. The New York City-based artists took inspiration from the city and from Lower Manhattan, and you’ll find visual references to New York City taxi cabs, to Broadway, and more. The space is also used for film and photo shoots. 120 Broadway is owned by Silverstein Properties, which also included street art activations at the World Trade Center.
8. Secret Holiday Tree for Pets
The annual secret Christmas Tree dedicated to beloved pets, will go up later this month somewhere deep in the Ramble of Central Park. It’s a very grassroots tradition and the ornaments to the lost pets go up gradually over the course of the month. You usually won’t find another person at the tree when you visit, which makes it an ideal place for reflection.
Of course, you can also check out the latest Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree which will be lit on Wednesday December 4th.
9. Largest Menorah in Brooklyn
Photograph Courtesy of LargestMenorah.com
On Sunday December 22nd, the first night of Hanukkah, Brooklyn’s largest menorah will be lit again in front of Grand Army Plaza. Every night of Hanukkah Rabbi Shimon Hecht, with the assistance of a 60-foot boom lift, lights a candle on the giant menorah. Admission is free and every night there will be live music, hot latkes, and gifts for kids.
10. Times Square Midnight Moment
Ka-Man Tse for Times Square Alliance
Every month a new video installation takes over the screens of Times Square at midnight for Midnight Moment, the world’s longest running digital art exhibition. This month from 11:57 PM to midnight, the screens will be taken over by artist William Kentridge, working with video editor Janus Fouché, incorporating text and imagery from a chamber opera Kentridge conceived and created called Waiting for the Sibyl (2019). Midnight Moment this month is presented by Times Square Arts in partnership with Gallery Met at The Metropolitan Opera on the occasion of its production of Alan Berg’s Wozzeck, directed by Kentridge and premiering December 22nd 2019 through January 22nd 2020.
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.
Keep reading to check out installation still on view from previous months!
11. Socrates Annual
Rock n Roll, Photograph by Scott Lynch, Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park
Every year, a select group of artists are chosen to receive the ‘Socrates Annual’ fellowship, and have their work displayed inside the Socrates Sculpture Park. The new commissions are produced on-site in an outdoor studio over the course of the summer. The works selected engage the Park’s unique history, landscape, and the surrounding community.
For the 2019 exhibition, projects range from a soundscape of the sounds of animals and man-made objects, to a monument to the invasive Ailanthus plant. Several artist projects examine storytelling, from an homage to a Native American myth in which North America exists on a turtle’s back, to a suggestion that a giant has fallen asleep under the Park’s blanket of grass, its exposed nose becoming refuge for a wandering monitor lizard. This group of sculptures will be on display through March 8th, 2020.
12. Dandara in Tribeca Park
A new sculpture by Brazilian artist Rubem Robierb has fluttered into Tribeca Park. The 13-foot wide fiberglass sculpture is a pair of opalescent white butterfly wings that are made for you to stand in front of. The strong yet graceful image is dedicated to the transgender lives that have been lost. The sculpture, which is part of Robierb’s “Dream Machine” series, is named after Dandara dos Santos, a trans woman who was murdered in Brazil in 2017.
Robierb hopes the sculpture, which symbolizes rebirth, will inspire those who see it to spread their wings and follow their own dreams. The sculpture is a monument to the bravery of members of the trans and gender non-conforming communities. It aims to raise awareness for the necessity of LGBTQ+ protections. The sculpture will be in Tribeca Park until May 4, 2020.
13. Aluminum Horse Sculptures at Entrance to Central Park
Photo: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY
Public Art Fund returns with another striking installation at the entrance to Central Park. On September 11th, three whimsical aluminum equine sculptures will be on display by French artist Jean-Marie Appriou. The works, ranging in size from 16 feet tall to 16 feet long, will be inspired by the site and the history of horses here, including the gold leaf statue of William Tecumseh Sherman just across the way and the horse-drawn carriages that still ply the park and pick up at this entrance.
“Jean-Marie Appriou’s unconventional approach to sculpture is almost alchemical,” says Public Art Fund Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer. “His craftsmanship is informed by a deep knowledge of the historical lineage of sculptors that have preceded him. At the same time, Appriou’s equine sculptures are otherworldly, evoking the silent majesty of horses with nuanced sculptural details that flicker between narrative and poetry.” The horse sculptures will be on display through August 2020.
14. Anish Kapoor Sculpture at 56 Leonard
Rendering of Anish Kapoor sculpture at 56 Leonard St. © Anish Kapoor, 2017
Internationally celebrated, Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor will have his first permanent public artwork in New York City at 56 Leonard Street. The sculpture has been a key element of the building’s design since the beginning and will be integrated into the architecture of the Tribeca tower. Kapoor’s monumental mirror sculpture is an enigmatic balloon-like form that will sit at the base of the 60-story structure and seemingly both prop up the building and be squashed by it. The sculpture weighs 40 tons and measuring 48 feet long by 19 feet high. Kapoor’s untitled work will be unveiled this November at the corner of Church Street and Leonard Street.
15. City in the Grass at Madison Square Park
It’s the last two weeks to see the 38th commission of the Madison Square Park Conservancy by New York-based artist Leonardo Drew. His monumental installation on the park’s Oval Lawn, City in the Grass presents a topographical view of an abstract cityscape atop a multi-patterned, undulating and layered panorama. The installation stretches 100 feet long.
City in the Grass is made of varied materials that spread across the lawn and, at various points, ascend into tall rising towers. The sculptures are set in a patterned surface that mimics Persian carpet designs and reflects the artist’s interest in East Asian decorative traditions and global design. The sculpture mixes domestic and urban motifs, spurring viewers to contemplate our relationship to the city we will in. City in the Grass will be on view from June 3, 2019, through December 15, 2019.
16. Poetry Jukebox
A new poetry jukebox has popped up outside in Bella Abzug Park near Hudson Yards. Previous jukeboxes have appeared in the East Village and Greenwich Village. The poetry jukebox first appeared at the Howl! Festival 2017 where coffeehouse owners from the Czech Republic introduced the funky speaker as part of an installation. The over two dozen poems were curated by Bob Holman and BC Edwards and represent a collective response to social justice. The jukebox in Bella Azbug Park through April 2020, along with other sculptures worth a visit to see.
17. + POOL Light Installation
+POOL, the project to create a filtering pool for the East River has been gaining steam, with the city recently putting out a request for proposals for the innovative idea. On October 3rd, the organization will be putting on a unique light installation off Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport in a 50×50 foot outline of the pool. Designed by PLAYLAB INC & Family New York with collaboration from scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), the LED lights will change color based on the quality of water analyzed in real time. According to +POOL, “an algorithm was created that will inform the changing of the lights by predicting swimmable water computed based on environmental conditions and data pulled from sondes placed in the river on site.”
There will be a launch party on October 3rd to launch the installation, sponsored by Heinken and The Howard Hughes Corporation. Tickets are free. The pool will be on display through January 3rd, 2020.
18. New Bowery Mural by Matzu
The latest artist to grace the Bowery Mural on Houston is Japanese artist Tomokazu Matsuyama “Matzu” who started working on the mural last week and is close to wrapping up. Matzu was born in Japan but moved to New York City in 2000 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He will be doing a high profile installation for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan, building a 24-foot tall sculpture at JR Shinjuku Station consisting of 316 pieces of stainless steel.
When asked how he felt about getting the opportunity to paint the mural, Matzu told Untapped Cities that this will be his biggest mural and that “it is something great because, as every artist knows, this wall is a significant monument for the world. It almost feels like you are contributing to the New York Arts culture in general. Without SoHo you can’t really talk about the arts in New York and arts in the world in general.”
19. Restored Crack is Wack Mural
Restored Crack is Wack mural by Keith Haring. Photo: NYC Parks
It’s been a while since New Yorkers have seen Keith Haring‘s Crack is Wack mural — it was under protective covering for four years during road construction and has been undergoing a restoration since August. And the version most well-known recently is not the original, which was painted over by the Parks Department back in 1986. Haring was fined but later asked to recreate the mural. It was repainted several times, most recently 2012.
In late August, the multi-month restoration by artist Louise Hunnicut was completed. She had been working to strip the mural down, locating parts of the original mural under multiple layers of paint, and recreate the work.
20. Uptown GrandScale Mural Project in Harlem
Photo courtesy Andi Potamkin, of Potamkin Development, one of the sponsors of the Uptown GrandScale art project
Over the course of September, more than 50 artists painted 1,500 feet of construction barriers along three blocks of 125th Street around a construction site. This makes it one of the largest street art installations of its kind in Manhattan’s history, according to Uptown Grand Central, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the 125th Street/Metro-North corridor, who is behind the initiative. Artists who were selected to participate included TooFly, Marthalicia, and Shiro, with priority given to artists from the local community.
It is expected for these works to be up for the long term, as no construction has begun inside the lots surrounded by the fencing. Carey King, Director of Uptown Grand Central, said: “We have learned the power of public art to both uplift the neighborhood and inspire hopes for the future. We are so grateful for the strong community of artists that exists throughout Uptown, and for their dedication to making public space a place that brings us all together.”
21. Times Square Show Globes
Holiday decorations are starting to pop up around New York City this month. One of the first holiday installations to see are the Times Square Show Globes. Presented by the Times Square Alliance, the Show Globes celebrate the creativity of Broadway designers and the power of live theater with these. The designs were inspired by some of the most-loved musicals on Broadway and invite passersby to admire the imagination and talent that give life to every show. The four Show Globes will be inspired by the designs of Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Dear Evan Hansen, The Lion King, and Wicked. The Show Globes were designed by members of each show’s production team and inspired by the themes and characters of the show.
The snow globes will be on display until December 26th, 2019.
22. Shushing Businessman in Midtown
Where Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture was in Midtown until earlier July has been replaced by a temporary sculpture of a man in business suit shushing passerby. The sculpture by Jim Rennert, who has similar work previously in Union Square, is twelve feet tall, as reported by Gothamist. It’s on display thanks to the Cavelier Gallery, located on 57th Street, who is also behind the Hippo Ballerina (which appears later on this list).
23. Recycled Steel Sculptures in Dumbo
A series of four recycled steel sculptures by Brooklyn-based artist Fitzhugh Karol are located at Front Street at York Street, in front of Bridge Street on the corner of Prospect and Jay Streets, Clumber Corner, and Bar and Grill Park. All four pieces come from one large structure, and as the DUMBO BID describes, Karol’s “process of creation in the studio involves playing with parts and shapes to create visually poetic combinations.” Previously Karol’s work has been seen in Prospect Park and Tappen Park on Staten Island. These sculptures will be on view through April 2020.
24. Statues for Equality in Lower Manhattan
The gender balance between male and female statues in New York City is little more even now thanks to a large scale sculpture installation. Created by the husband-and-wife team of the award-winning public artists Gillie and Marc, Statues for Equality aims to remedy the fact that less than 3% of statues in New York City are dedicated to females by creating ten larger than life-sized bronze sculptures of famous women from astronaut Tracy Dyson to actress Nicole Kidman. The new statues honor the important contributions women have made to society and they make their debut today, on Women’s Equality Day 2019.
Recently moved from Sixth Avenue to 32 Old Slip in Lower Manhattan, you will find bronze representations of Oprah Winfrey, P!nk, Nicole Kidman, Jane Goodall, Cate Blanchett, Tererai Trent, Janet Mock, Tracy Dyson, Cheryl Strayed and Gabby Douglas. The subjects of the statues were chosen by a public vote. Each woman is standing atop a blooming flower of her choosing which represents her personality, beyond her technical and social accomplishments. With the addition of these ten figures, the percentage of female statues in the city rises to 9%. The statues will be on display until August 2020.
25. Hudson Square Canvas Street Art
Photograph taken by Untapped New York Insider Klaus-Peter Statz on our tour with Hudson Square BID
Hudson Square Business Improvement District (BID) has launched a new public art initiative, Hudson Square Canvas, to reflect the neighborhood’s transformation from the functional Holland Tunnel entrance/exit area to a lively community. There are five large scale pieces to take in, all completed in late August.
Greg Lamarche’s “Game Inside Game” features colorful vintage letter forms on the facade of S.O.B’s that reference the neighborhood’s printing press roots. Katie Mertz has painted the columns on 161 Varick Street and the Manhattan Mini Storage at 181 Varick Street in urban hieroglyphics. Brooklyn-based artist Hellbent (aka JMikal Davis) has created a colorful blocky piece at 131 Varick Street, and Claudia Ravaschiere and Michael Moss have a colorful prism of translucent glass at Freeman Plaza East. See a map of the pieces here. The works will be on display until Summer 2020.
26. Stop Telling Women to Smile – Lenox Ave in Harlem
A series of display cases on Lenox Avenue and 125th Street in Harlem contain an exhibition by Brooklyn artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a Black/Iranian visual artist who is the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ Public Artist in Residence. The series, Stop Telling Women to Smile, is a continuation of a movement started by the artist in 2012 that can be found on walls all across the world. Her artist residency here in New York City aims to “present the experiences of anti-black racism and sexual harassment experienced by New Yorkers through public art.”
Stop Telling Women to Smile showcases portraits of women on each display case, with captions on the back that speak directly to street harassment offenders. One of the cases shows actual written responses on postcards Fazlalizadeh placed in locations around the city, with questions like “What assumptions to people make about you because you are black?” and “What do you want to say back to your harassers on the street?” As Fazlalizadeh writes on the website about the project, “Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women world wide. This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street – creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe.” Fazlalizadeh also has another exhibition, Respecting Black Women and Girls in St. Albans, in Queens at the Daniel M. O’Connell Playground.
27. Pavilion Landing at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Photo courtesy NYC Parks
A new public art installation by Queens-based artist Yvonne Shortt, has just been unveiled in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Shortt’s immersive installation, titled Pavilion Landing, is clearly inspired by shape of the iconic New York State Pavilion (aka Tent of Tomorrow), which was painted in “American Cheese Yellow” color in 2015 as part of a restoration effort. Created in response to the theme “Flushing Meadows Corona Park: A Park for the Future,” it tells the story of intergalactic children whose spaceship has landed in the park. The artist worked with park visitors to create sculptures of children out of clay, which she then cast in concrete.
Funded by the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park in collaboration with NYC Park’s Art in the Parks program, Pavilion Landing is part of an effort to bring contemporary public artworks to the city’s parks. The goal of the program, as announced by NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, is to “promote the less frequented core of our parks and support local artists.” Pavilion Landing can be found at the 111th Street and 49th Avenue Park entrance, located on the lawn alongside David Dinkins Circle. It will be on display until June 2020.
Visit this installation while on either our next tour of the Remnants of the World’s Fairs or on an Untapped Insiders special visit inside the Queens Museum with the new President of the museum.
28. NYC Health + Hospitals’ Community Murals Project
Photo of a mural designed by Keith Haring in 1986. A NYC Health + Hospitals facility has not received a mural since then. Photo: NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull
In 1986, Keith Haring designed a mural for Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, but no NYC Health + Hospitals facility has received a mural since then. That is changing this month, as NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program embarks on a community-based mural projects across New York City with nine selected artists. The process is expected to be completed by the end of December 2019. These collaborations between artists, patients, staff, and local community residents are intended not just to promote the work of local artists, but to also build trust and engagement between hospitals and their communities.
Supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the murals will be created both inside and outside NYC Health + Hospital facilities. Eric Wei, MD, MBA, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, and Chair of the Art Advisory Council, has in particular emphasized how “it is clear from decades of research that arts promote healing in many important ways.” The idea for the collaborative mural process was developed in the belief that art would be more than just an installation, and that the art would also promote healing and create emotionally nourishing spaces.
The artists and their assigned NYC Health + Hospital facilities are: Patricia Cazorla & Nancy Saleme (Bellevue Hospital), Peach Tao (McKinney Hospital), Yvonne Shortt (NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens), Carla Torres (NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx), Oscar Lett (NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County), Kelie Bowman (NYC Health Hospitals/Coney Island), Priscilla de Carvalho (NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Hospital), and Sophia Chizuco (NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter Hospital).
29. 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
For about two months, Simone Leigh’s Brick House has been admired from afar as it loomed over 10th avenue. This month, visitors can get an up close look at the giant sculpture when the Spur, the newest section of the High Line opened on June 5th. It is the first sculpture to be displayed in the new space, which will host a series of rotating exhibits.
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 sits atop the Plinth, a new exhibition space at on the plaza of the Spur. 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.
Brick House will be up until September 2020.
30. Superstorm at Duarte Square Park
A new sculpture in Duarte Square Park commemorates one of the most intense natural disasters New York City has faced. Inspired by the destruction of Superstorm Sandy, Robert Lobe’s sculpture takes the shape of the storm’s wreckage. Superstorm is made up of hammered metal in the shape of a tree and boulder that were blown apart during the storm. The form was captured by actually taking a cast of the tree and boulder in the forest.
The tree once stood in the forest along the Appalachian Trail in Northwest New Jersey at Harmony Ridge Farm and Campground. During the storm, the tree was blown over and Lobe said “it had become a majestic horizontal sculpture with a flat circular root pattern spiraling vertically into the air, evidence of the shallow yin and yang sloping surface of its former boulder home.” The art piece shows “the unfriendly side of nature” and how superstorms are becoming a more intense and frequent problem as our climate changes. Superstorm can be found at the intersection of Avenue of the Americas and Canal Street until June, 2020.
31. 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.
32. 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 on display until January 2020.
33. 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.
34. 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. will be on view until January 3, 2020 and include over 700 artifacts from World War II never before seen in the United States.
35. Rigged? in MacDonald Park
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Shortt
Rabbits are invading MacDonald Park in Forest Hills, Queens. Forest Hills resident and artist Artist Yvonne Shortt worked with her studio team and students from York College, Queens College, International High School of Health Sciences, and Academy of American Studies to cast and paint clay sculpted bunnies for her new installation Rigged?. The installation is a maze with stairs and windows that the bunnies are trying to navigate to get to the bunch of carrots on the top level.
A sign on each level leads to the next staircase, until the level just before the top. It is impossible to complete the maze. In a secret entrance at the bottom of the piece, one rabbit hoards a stash of carrots. The rabbit maze is a commentary on the social, economic, and political system. It will be on display from July 10th, 2019 through July, 2020.
36. 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
In May The Public Art Fund unveiled 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.
Next, check out our upcoming tours to explore more of New York City!