With the fall season in full swing, now is the perfect time to enjoy the cooler weather while viewing some of New York City’s newest public art installations. From the New York Botanical Garden to the World Trade Center, a dozen new art installations are open for viewing. This November, be sure to check out Thomas J. Price’s bronze sculpture The Distance Within, Joanne Handler’s seven painting series Stu.pe.fac.tion, and the BIG APPLE installation at Bella Abzug Park. In addition, keep reading to learn more about art installations still up from previous months.
1. The NO I.C.E. BOX at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
The NO I.C.E. Box is a life-sized public art installation modeled after the ice vending machines found in bodegas across New York City. Begun in 2019 as a multimedia concept, the installation’s design was chosen to help spark conversation about the United States’ current immigration policies and rhetoric. Created by design workshop Stop 1, in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), The NO I.C.E. Box was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that has raised over $20,000 to bring the project to life.
A portion of each donation will also go toward funding immigration services offered at the New York chapter of Make the Road, a national non-profit organization. Some of these services include greater legal representation in immigration, housing, and worker exploitation cases, helping undocumented people gain U.S. citizenship, immigrant rights training, literacy programs, and ESL training. The installation will include digital interactive elements, a series of window displays alongside the installation, and museum-curated programming. It will be located outside MoCADA from November 2021 through March 2022.
According to Stop 1 founders Sajjad Musa and Roger Ferney Cortes, “Current U.S. migrant and immigration detention policies have eroded the principles of tolerance and inclusivity that underpin our social fabric and our common humanity. The NO I.C.E. BOX challenges these policies through nuanced art expression and encourages viewers to recognize the disparities between their personal identities and those of immigrants across the country. With backers’ support, we can amplify and deepen the discourse around immigration reform while building resilience among our immigrant communities.”
2. Witness by Thomas J. Price at Marcus Garvey Park
Situated within Marcus Garvey Park is Witness, artist Thomas J. Price’s first solo U.S. museum presentation. Witness features one monumental work titled The Distance Within, a nine-foot bronze sculpture depicting a young Black man looking down at his cellphone. Presented by the Studio Museum in Harlem, Witness celebrates ordinary blackness and asks its audience to consider the function of monuments as defining the familiar. The form of The Distance Within was inspired by Price’s earlier work Network, which was presented in 2013 in the U.K. and drew from the real people who lived and worked in the artist’s neighborhood of Brixton in South London.
In reference to the sculpture, Price stated that he wanted to “interrogate [notions of] presence, movement, and freedom. Whom do these spaces belong to? And what bodies are provided more or less autonomy to move with liberty through public [space]?”
3. XO World Project at the World Trade Center Campus
XO World Project consists of two monumental sculptures at the World Trade Center Campus. Designed by artist Daniel Anderson, XO World and XO Play promote messages of inclusivity, hope, and positivity among their viewers. Both sculptures were inspired by the widely played game Jacks. The “X” of XO World is represented by a Jack with crossed arms attached to the spoke — simultaneously being a reference to the word “love” in sign language. On the other hand, the “O” is represented by a globe.
As a whole, XO World is 12 feet tall, 24 feet wide, and made from more than 20,000 pounds of stainless steel. In conjunction, XO Play showcases the unity of all races and the acceptance of children. Its cross-armed jacks symbolize security and safety while a little girl holds a ball reflective of a globe in her hand, symbolizing the impact she stands to have on the world. XO World can be found in front of One World Trade Center on the West Plaza at 285 Fulton Street while XO Play is located inside the Oculus at the World Trade Center. Both XO World and XO Play will remain in New York until they are moved to Paris in 2022. After Paris, the sculptures will be displayed in London, Hong Kong, Moscow, and Dubai.
According to Anderson: “Launching this in the epicenter of the world, New York City, where people come from all different cultures, has created a viral movement of positivity amongst people. It’s working and that is exciting. My inspiration for these sculptures came from children and their open acceptance of others. A child’s mind and heart are free of prejudice regardless of race, gender, or religion, which is something we should all emulate. ‘XO World Project’ will bring people together for many generations to come.”
4. Taveres Strachan’s Belong / Brooklyn at the Barclays Center
At the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn, on the plaza outside the Barclays Center, is Belong / Brooklyn, which consists of one pink and one white neon sign created by Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan. The sign reading “You Belong Here” greets visitors, and upon leaving, the second sign states “We Belong Here.” Strachan collaborated with Clara Wu Tsai, a philanthropist and criminal justice activist behind the The Joe And Clara Tsai Foundation’s Social Justice Fund.
The phrases on both signs hold significant meaning at the Barclays Center, where waves of protesters gathered following the death of George Floyd in 2020. In addition, the signs can also be viewed as a call back to earlier protesters who attempted to fight against the construction of the Atlantic Yards development, which the arena anchors, after its announcement in the 2000s. Since 2008, rent and commercial prices in this part of Brooklyn have skyrocketed, and the Barclays Center in particular has become a symbol of the area’s gentrification. Tavares’ work asks audiences to question who is truly allowed to call New York City their home.
5. Stu.pe.fac.tion by artist Joanne Handler on view in the Kaufman Building
Located in the Kaufman Arcade Building on 138 W. 35th Street, Stu.pe.fac.tion is a series of seven paintings created by artist Joanne Handler. Stu.pe.fac.tion was curated as part of the Garment District Alliance’s Space for Public Art Program, which over the past 16 years has worked to showcase artists in unusual locations.
Handler was inspired by the emotional turmoil and deep introspection surrounding the pandemic and 2020 election while creating Stu.pe.fac.tion. Each painting is named after a song, and some have the title or lyrics in the piece itself. Some example song names used include “American Idiot” by Green Day, “Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters, and “Dream On” by Aerosmith. The series will be on display through January 7, 2022.
6. The Holiday Train Show and NYBG Glow return to the New York Botanical Garden
This November the Holiday Train Show will return to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) for its 30th anniversary. Visitors will have the opportunity to marvel as model trains zip through a display of more than 175 New York landmarks, each having been recreated from natural materials such as birch bark, lotus pods, cinnamon sticks, cones, acorns, and seeds. Inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a miniature wonderland will feature classic New York structures like the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and Rockefeller Center. In honor of the show’s 30th anniversary, a new replica of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and Haupt Conservatory has been created. The Holiday Train Show will run from November 20, 2021 through January 23, 2022.
On 25 select nights starting November 24, 2021 until January 22, 2022, NYBG GLOW will light up the Botanical Garden. Around 1.5 miles of the Botanical Garden will be filled with washes of bright colors, thousands of energy-efficient LED lights, and illuminated plant stories, with the Haupt Conservatory and Mertz Library Building serving as the centerpieces. During NYBG GLOW nights, beverages and light fare will be served at the outdoor bars or the Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up. To celebrate the holiday season, ice sculpting, music, and pop-up performances will be available around the garden.
7. The Warrior at Holcombe Rucker Park
Over the past few months, the National Basketball Player Association (NBPA), local community leaders, and brand partners undertook the task of completely renovating the historic Greg Marius Court at Holcombe Rucker Park in Harlem. As one of the best-known basketball courts in the United States, Greg Marius has become a rite of passage for basketball players growing up in New York City. Renovations included the leveling of the court’s pavement, replacement of the bleachers, backboards, baskets, and scoreboard, the addition of team benches on both sides, and the repainting of the court with a brand new mural known as The Warrior.
Created by Harlem native and renowned rapper A$AP Ferg and curator Set Free Richardson, The Warrior pays homage to the warrior spirit of the Harlem community while embodying the essence of many past, present, and future basketball players.
8. Beautify East New York at Linden Park
This fall, Beautify NYC — an initiative of the City Cleanup Corps (CCC) which plans to directly create 10,000 jobs and make New York one of the greenest and cleanest cities in the United States — will showcase Beautify East New York, an outdoor public photography exhibition in Linden Park. For the creation of the exhibition, Beautify NYC partnered with NeOn Arts, a free program of the NYC Department of Probation that offers young people in seven New York City communities the opportunity to explore the arts through creative projects, establish positive peer relationships, and develop critical social and career skills.
The exhibition will feature work from young emerging New York City artists who have graduated from NYC SALT’s visual arts program for underserved city youth. Featured work aims to engage the neighborhood’s youth in strength-based activities supporting their educational and employment outcomes. Photographs will celebrate the people and culture of the neighborhoods.
9. The Ribbon in Long Island City
On display through September 30, 2022, is The Ribbon, a playful interactive platform that invites passersby to connect with Long Island City admirers. The work aims to break down barriers and connect people through moments of open-ended play while also serving as a place for people to stop and engage in fruitful conversations with one another.
The Ribbon has been erected in two public spaces across the Central Court Square area. Each location of The Ribbon features two magenta structures with rotating iridescent panels inscribed with “LIC Love Notes” written by locals. Notes will be continually added to the structure through December 2021 or until all 100 panels are filled. On-site, a QR code is available to contribute a note for the installation. Designers for The Ribbon include Hive Public Space and The Urban Conga, and the project was commissioned by the Long Island City Partnership.
10. The Big Apple at Bella Abzug Park
Presented by DIX2, Big Apple is a temporary public art installation in Bella Abzug Park in Hell’s Kitchen. Created by designer Felix Marzell, Big Apple will serve as a new meeting place in the heart of the bustling city, with benches inside allowing visitors to sit within the wooden structure. Whether alone or in a group, Big Apple makes for a perfect spot to come together and create new shared stories and experiences.
On view for the next 11 months, Big Apple‘s structure is made of various layers of coated plywood fixed around a central axis with each wooden wedge being designed to create one seat once assembled. The sculpture is presented by the Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance with support from NYC Parks and funding from the Québec Government Office in New York and Amazon NYC.
Continue reading to see what is still on display from previous months in NYC!
11. Inside Out: NY Together at Port Authority Bus Terminal
Launching October 3, Inside Out: NY Together is an outdoor gallery — and part of the Inside Out project conceptualized by French artist JR — that celebrates the diverse individuals who make up New York City. Over the preceding five days, passersby through the Garment District will be able to have their photos taken on 40th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. These black-and-white photos will then be printed in real-time and featured outside the Port Authority — representing the disparate walks of life encompassed by New Yorkers. The gallery is projected to feature portraits of more than 1,200 everyday New Yorkers and measures 40 feet high and 600 feet wide. Inside Out: NY Together will be presented by the Garment District Alliance and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
According to Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton: “This outdoor mural will weave inspirational and dynamic public art into the exterior of the bus terminal in cooperation with the local community to dazzle both bus riders and local residents.”
12. Jeff Kasper’s Soft Spots
This fall, interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator Jeff Kasper will debut two new mural installations he calls Soft Spots. The murals will be presented by Not a Monolith — a public art and professional development initiative created in partnership with ArtBridge, Facebook Open Arts, and We The Culture, which amplifies the voices of New York-based Black artists. Soft Spots’ design involves a series of colorful paths inspired by the playful style of self-help and mutual aid graphics that became popular during the pandemic. Along each path, the colors switch from cool to warm and change in size from small to large.
In addition, the murals subvert the visual language of “social distancing” vinyl floor signage, compelling viewers to further contemplate the challenges we face in seeking support while feeling unsafe. Both murals are accompanied by an audio guide featuring affirmations and visualizations to foster a sense of self-confidence and to decrease social anxiety in viewers. The first mural is located in Queens at the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk, and the second is in Staten Island at the Stapleton Waterfront. Both will be on display through March 18, 2022.
13. Hacer: Transformations
Presented by the Garment District Alliance as part of their Art on the Plazas program and Fremin Gallery, Hacer: Transformations is a series of seven origami-inspired sculptures located on the public plazas of Broadway between 36th and 39th Streets. Created by California artist Hacer using powder-coated steel, the sculptures featured include two dark turquoise coyotes, two medium turquoise rabbits, a magenta elephant, a yellow dog, and a green bear cub. Hacer’s work aims to elicit a dynamic response about each viewer’s relationship to their childhood, encouraging them to start anew. Hacer: Transformations will be on display through November 23, 2021.
As Emmanuel Fremin, owner of Fremin Gallery, stated: “We are delighted to present Hacer: Transformations, in which the whimsical works are transforming Broadway for New Yorkers and visitors alike. Following more than a year of COVID-19 related restrictions, the outdoor show of Hacer’s work brings cheer and optimism to the heart of New York City.”
14. New permanent artwork installations by Katherine Bradford and Marcel Dzama at L Train Stations
As an additional pop of color, the MTA has unveiled Queens of the Night and No Less Than Everything Comes Together, two permanent mosaic series inside the 1st Avenue and Bedford Avenue L train stations. Created by artist Katherine Bradford, Queens of the Night serves as a tribute to the creatives and essential workers who ride the L train daily. Located in the East Village at the 1st Avenue station, the ethereal figures in Bradford’s work come together to inspire viewers to consider the outward expression of their own interior vivacity. One of the most striking panels from Queens of the Night is “Superhero Responds,” portraying New York’s essential workers in the style of Superman.
Situated in Williamsburg at Bedford Avenue, No Less Than Everything Comes Together features theatrical fairy-like figures under the sun and moon. Created by Marcel Dzama, scenes depicted in No Less Than Everything Comes Together are populated with elegant ballet performers, many of whom are adorned with the black-and-white costumes typically worn by NYC Ballet dancers. Scattered throughout the mosaic series are numerous characters representing infamous Brooklynites including Bugsy Siegel and Captain Jonathan Williams — the founder of Williamsburg.
15. A Fountain for Survivors in Times Square
From October 14th through December 8th, Times Square Art will present A Fountain for Survivors, an immersive public art installation by artist Pamela Council, building on her earlier work Fountains for Black Joy. Located in Duffy Square, A Fountain for Survivors is a sheltered fountain adorned and protected by an 18-foot tall carapace of over 365,000 hand-painted acrylic fingernails. Flowing through the fountain will be a natural healing liquid. Designed to provide visitors with a range of sensory experiences ranging from heat, sound, and scent, the exhibit features special “wishing wafers” available at select times to be tossed into the fountain to produce a fizzy lucky moment. A Fountain for Survivors was created as a space for people to reflect on their own “survival” journeys.
As stated by Times Square Alliance President Tom Harris: “This project reminds us that we are all truly survivors of something, and it mirrors the spirit of Times Square in many ways — completely one-of-a-kind, relentless in its creativity and determined to spark joy.”
16. Every One Mural Inside the 42nd Street Subway Connector
Inside the new 42nd Street Connector between Times Square and Grand Central is Every One, the first of a three-piece installation by artist Nick Cave. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design, the installation was created as part of the 42nd Street Shuttle reconstruction and reconfiguration project, costing the city more than $250 million. The figures were made from recomposed source photos of soundsuits taken by James Prinz, which were then interpreted in glass for display on the subway station’s walls.
Every One’s design features a series of figures wearing colorful soundsuits — costumes that camouflage the shape of the wearer. Taking inspiration from African art traditions, ceremonial dresses, and haute-couture fashion, soundsuits are unique in that through covering the entire body, they conceal the wearer’s gender, race, and class, which eliminates audience judgment throughout the performance. Throughout the installation, the figures can be seen jumping and twirling along the wall, with their suits swaying as if moved by the wind. The other two parts of Cave’s installations, Each One and Equal All, will be installed next year at the new shuttle entrance and on the center island platform wall at Grand Central Terminal respectively.
17. Protector Monuments: Reclaim The Pedestal
In New York City this October, the organization I Am Your Protector will present Protector Monuments: Reclaim The Pedestal — a series of five sculptures depicting everyday individuals who have stood up for those around them. Created by artist Joe Reginella and sculptor Alvin Petit, these monuments are intended to help reclaim public spaces for people of color, minorities, refugees, immigrants, and women. Protector Monuments: Reclaim The Pedestal, hopes to inspire other people to go out and become protectors within their own communities. To do so, the sculptures have been placed on three-foot-high pedestals to celebrate the individuals and ensure they are looked up to by society.
The five individuals memorialized in the sculptures are Wesley Autrey, Isra Daraiseh, Chaim Hochhouser, Mohsen Alwais, and Antonio Diaz Chacon, whose heroic actions saved lives. A sixth pedestal will also be placed but left empty, so visitors can share their unique stories and those of individuals who have helped or protected others. Intended to be mobile, the sculptures will be moved to various currently undisclosed locations throughout the city over the next few weeks. Afterward, they will travel across the United States, heading to cities like Nashville, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
18. The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist
Beginning October 8th, The Trust for Governors Island will present artist Mark Dion’s new installation, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist. On long-term view in Building 105 — a historic arsenal structure located within the Governors Island Historic District — The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist transforms the space into an abandoned research outpost. Scientific objects, instruments, artifacts, and samples featured in the installation were chosen for their connections to Governor Island’s history and the ecology of the New York Harbor and Buttermilk Channel.
For Dion, the installation allows viewers to witness a scene preserved in time, one “where somebody studying the natural world realizes that the future’s not looking so good… that we are going to lose a great amount of the natural wonders that have been here in previous centuries.”
19. Mexican Manuscripts at Rockefeller Center
At Rockefeller Center, the Consulate of Mexico, through its Cultural Institute and National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico, will present Mexican Manuscripts. The exhibit will include colorful works of art featuring Mayan, Aztec, and other pre-Columbian civilizations’ scripts, symbols, and characters. In celebration of Mexico’s 200th anniversary of independence and the 500th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlan, Mexican Manuscripts consists of a selection of facsimiles and images of codices.
Featured items in the exhibit include the Bourbon Codex, an Aztec book written by Aztec priests around the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and the Florentine Codex, a 16th-century ethnographic research study. Mexican Manuscripts will be on display through November 2, 2021.
20. Colorful artwork adorning Lower Manhattan’s lamp posts
Throughout Lower Manhattan, the public-artspace nonprofit ArtBridge has turned 65 lamp posts into temporary art installations exploring the theme of resiliency. One selection of featured work includes Dances of New York City by Frances Smith. As the name suggests, Smith’s work features breathtaking illustrations of dancers atop colorful backgrounds of key New York City landmarks and iconographies such as the Brooklyn Bridge and subway entrance. With 10 total illustrations, Dances of New York City highlights traditional dance techniques while simultaneously showcasing relatable New York moments such as the “Pizza Soca,” “The Village Cross,” and “Upper West Side Swing.”
Another featured work on display is Geo Grid by painter Michelle Weinberg. Geo Grid expertly utilizes the cylindrical shape of the lamp posts to highlight patterned art. Through the usage of vividly colored geometric shapes, Geo Grid showcases movement as it swirls upward. Art for the lamp posts was selected through a public design competition held this past summer that received more than 100 submissions.
21. We Are At a Moment That Will Be Remembered as the Beginning of the Great Change, For Who Can Say When a Wall Is Ready To Come Down
Through May 31, 2022, Brooklyn-based artist Emily Oliveira’s new mural We Are At a Moment That Will Be Remembered as the Beginning of the Great Change, For Who Can Say When a Wall Is Ready To Come Down will be on display at the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park. Presented by BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance in partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Park Program, the 28-foot tall mural depicts a vividly colored natural landscape inhabited by humans and gods partaking in a Promethean sense of rebirth. We Are At a Moment That Will Be Remembered… encourages viewers to use their imagination to envision and enact new ways of being in a post-COVID-era world while simultaneously celebrating the collective action against violence, hate, and separation that has taken place over the last year.
In the view of Jenny Gerow, curator of the mural and Contemporary Art Curator for BRIC, “Emily Oliveira offers a utopian vision of a future that tantalizes but doesn’t overpromise. As the title reflects, who can say when the wall is ready to come down? Still present in the foreground and the background are the remnants of the present, systems of hierarchy and oppression. The artist is masterful in the art of seduction, often achieved in her textile-based work, through the use of shiny and silky textiles and embroidery, but here created through vibrant color and the temptation of touch and care we all have longed for over the past year.”
22. Bust of Martha P. Johnson at Christopher Park near the Stonewall Inn
In Christopher Park, a bust of Black transgender LGBTQ activist Martha P. Johnson was recently erected on August 24th, which would have been her 76th birthday. Today, Johnson is known for her crucial role in the 1969 Stonewall Riots and for co-creating with fellow transgender activist Sylvia Rivera the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), which sought to provide housing for LGBTQ youth. Later, Johnson served as a staunch activist for survivors during the AIDS crisis before her death in 1992. The city announced in 2019 that it planned to create memorials near the Stonewall Inn for Johnson and Rivera, but these plans never came to fruition. However, rather than continuing to wait for the city to make due on its promise, writer and activist Eli Erlick, sculptor Jesse Pallotta and a number of fellow organizers created a bronze bust of Johnson and installed it inside the park. Additional help in creating the bust was provided by Tourmaline, an artist and filmmaker whose hundreds of archived photos of Johnson gave Pallotta a deeper understanding of her features from every angle.
The bust features Johnson softly smiling with a colorful flower tiara adorning her head. Below the bust is a plaque that honors Johnson’s love of poetry, flowers, space and the color purple. It includes a quote which reads, “History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable. It happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.” Currently, it is unknown as to how long the bust will remain in the park, but it was specifically designed with the intention of only being up temporarily. It is Erlich and Pallota’s hope that the bust will inspire the city to follow through with creating monuments to Johnson and Rivera and involve Black trans women leaders in New York City in the design process.
23. Endangered Fossils at Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Through August 10, 2022, Endangered Fossils by Judith Modrak will be on display at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. Endangered Fossils features a series of sculptures meant to represent an imagined archeological excavation of New York State’s fossil record. Inspiration for the sculptures was drawn from trilobites, brachiopods and crinoids present from the Devonian period 400 million years ago — which today can be recognized for their similarities to modern crabs, clams and starfish. Each sculpture prompts its audience to consider the origins of our ecosystem.
As Modrak writes in her artist statement: “The larger concept was very much about the fossil record in light of disastrous climate change which is causing many species to tragically become extinct, fossils are even “endangered” as certain species may not leave a trace that they ever existed. Endangered Fossils is a homage to our beloved Mother Earth in a critical time requiring immediate attention.”
24. Windows of the Wedding #1: Woman at St. Nicholas Park
In a basketball court at St. Nicholas Park in Manhattan is Faith Ringgold’s muralWindows of the Wedding #1: Woman. The mural is part of Ringgold’s ongoing Windows of the Wedding series, which began during the 1970s after the artist began experimenting with abstract shapes. Ringgold would go on to receive critical acclaim during the 1980s for her narrative quilts.
Presented by Project Backboard, Windows of the Wedding #1: Woman’s design features a vibrant array of colors painted next to one another in triangle shapes of various sizes. It will be up for view through August 8, 2022.
25. The Photoville Festival returns to New York City for it’s 10th anniversary
Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, Photoville is a New York-based non-profit organization that works to promote a wider understanding and increased access to the art of photography. The organization was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion in the art world with a focus on incorporating these practices in relation to gender, class, and race. Specifically, Photoville works to activate public spaces with the goal of giving visual storytellers a venue to tell their stories and viewers a chance to broaden their views on the artistic field.
This year, on September 18, the Photoville Festival will return to New York City for its 10th anniversary. As New York City’s free premier photo destination, the Photoville Festival will feature virtual online storytelling events, artist talks, workshops, demonstrations, educational programs, community programming, and open-air exhibitions across parks and public spaces. One exhibition at the festival will be Women in the Face of History — presented by the Department of Photography & Imaging and the 370 Jay Street Project at New York University to showcase America’s complicated history of suffrage. A second exhibition included in the programming will be Signs of your Identity — a selection of portraits of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian survivors of the US government’s Indian Boarding School system by artists Catherine Blackburn, Gregg Deal, Mo Thunder, and Daniella Zalcman. The festival will run through December 1, 2021.
26. Art & Object Walk at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Along half a mile of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s fence line on Flushing Avenue is Art & Object Walk — a collection of 150 large-scale photographs of Yard-made artwork and furniture. The photographs can be viewed on Flushing Avenue from Elliot Place near Wegmans grocery store to Building 77 located at Vanderbilt Avenue. Much of Art & Object Walk’s work centers around four main themes: sustainability, technological advancements, art, and innovators — with each focused on the theme’s unique connection to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As an example, pieces under the technological theme feature works created at the Yard such as space suits, state-of-the-art sports helmets, the Velox robot, and electric car charging hubs. Another important theme in Art & Object Walk is “We Are,” with the exhibition featuring 15 variations on it. Each panel under this theme highlights eight to fifteen artists or creative businesses with photographs that illustrate artistry, craftsmanship, and skilled production that occurs every day at the Brooklyn Navy Yards.
Other panels in the installation feature images of “NYC firsts” such as the Kings County Distillery — the first distillery since Prohibition — and Brooklyn Grange — the first operational rooftop farm — in the city. Some panels also highlight city traditions with one example being woodworking from shipwrights that today is continued by furniture makers in Wallabout Bay. Moreover, certain pieces also paid particular attention to the Yard’s efforts to produce Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, Art & Object Walk aims to highlight the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s range of innovation across multiple sectors, doing so by highlighting the work of innovators, artists, designers, makers, and businesses that call the Yard their home. Art & Object Walk compliments earlier site-specific artwork inside Buildings 92 and 77 and will run through December 2021.
27. Public art installation by Maurice Harris opens at the Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center and the Art Production Fund will continue its Art in Focus partnership by presenting a public art installation by Los Angeles-based floral artist, photographer, and founder of Bloom & Plume, Maurice Harris. On view from September 7, 2021, the series of photographs installed at Rockefeller Center are primarily from Harris’ Shades of Blackness Vol. 2 #untouched #nofilter #naturalopulence and Shades of Blackness Vol. 3 Don’t Touch My Hair series. In particular, both series aim to investigate how people of color find their beauty and agency — a journey which Harris himself has and continues to undertake.
A selection of the images in the installation will be presented as vinyl murals and feature portraits of family and community members cast by Harris for their natural beauty. They will be set against a backdrop of gold surrounded by floral compositions assembled by hand — giving each piece a human touch. Empty floral frames alongside the images will also push viewers to consider themselves within the installation. This section of the installation will be located at 10, 30, and 50 Rockefeller Plaza, the street and concourse levels of 45 Rockefeller Plaza, and outside of Rockefeller Plaza. In addition, a mixed-media portion of the installation will be placed in the vitrine spaces of the lobby at 45 Rockefeller Plaza. It will highlight Harris’ niece Elyse, who the artist considers to be his muse. Through creating full-size portraits of Elyse set among lush foliage, Harris hopes to reframe the black experience and showcase a world in which the violence typically inflicted upon women of color does not exist.
28. The climate crisis and the power of music: Undercurrent
Tucked right on the border of Bushwick and Williamsburg at 455 Jefferson Street is Undercurrent, an immersive audiovisual and multimedia exhibition that will bring together over 60,000 square feet of original art installations by influential musicians. Opening on September 9, 2021, Undercurrent’s installations will feature work by more than 40 artists, creatives and nonprofits, including Bon Iver, Grimes, The 1975, Jorja Smith, Khruangbin, Miguel, Actress, Aluna, Jayda G, Mount Kimbie,= and Nosaj Thing.
All of the installations are centered around the climate crisis, aiming to inspire its audience to take action. Driving forces for the exhibit include climate change-focused nonprofits Kiss the Ground, Ocean Conservancy and Global Forest Generation. In addition, visitors will be able to enjoy sourced farm-to-cocktail beverages and peruse a curated collection of sustainable wares during their visit to Undercurrent. Tickets can be purchased in advance online for $45, with children 5 years and under entering for free.
29. Rehearsal at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Scattered around the iconic terminus of Washington Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Main Street Park section — where the Manhattan Bridge perfectly frames the Empire State Building — is Rehearsal, the public debut for Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser. Presented by the Public Art Fund, Rehearsal will feature five distinct large-scale geometric sculptures made from mirror-polished stainless steel, reflecting the movements of visitors as they pass by. Ranging in height from 7 to 13 feet, the sculpture’s warm and cool-toned hand-painted glazed clay tiles define each sculpture. At the same time, they also echo the patterns of neighboring historic red buildings and Belgian-block paving stones. As a further connection to its surroundings, Rehearsal includes contemporary photographs of New York City and slides of a German family’s trip to the city from the 1980s. Reproductions of ancient Roman and Greek antiquities endow the installation, serving as a meeting place and theatrical setting much like ancient Roman forums once did. Moreover, the title ‘rehearsal’ draws attention to the interplay between visitors and artwork, suggesting that the sculptures and even life itself are ever-evolving processes. Rehearsal will be on display until April 17, 2022.
As Public Art Fund Associate Curator Katerina Stathopoulou (Rehearsal’s curator) states in the artwork’s press release: “Wieser is acutely aware that the sculptures will become part of the landscape of the city for a time and wanted to create a powerful synergy with the bustling surroundings of DUMBO. Building a dialogue between the public and the sculpture is an integral part of Rehearsal… Park-goers will activate the works by touching, resting, and seeing themselves and the city reflected as they weave their way through the constellation of sculptures.”
30. Plastic Fantastic at Harlem Art Park
While walking through Harlem Art Park, visitors can marvel at Capucine Bourcart‘s Plastic Fantastic. Measuring 66-feet wide and 7-feet high, Plastic Fantastic’s grand scale illustrates the abundance of single-use plastic and how it has adversely affected our environment and public spaces; New York City residents are estimated to use more than 10 billion single-use plastic bags a year. Plastic Fantastic aims to support the city’s current ban on plastic bags while encouraging residents to take responsibility for their environmental footprint.
To convey this, the installation features plastic bags collected over the last few years by Bourcart from community residents and neighbors. To create Plastic Fantastic, these bags were photographed and printed on 4’ x 8’ sheets of D-bond, a lightweight and durable plastic material. Afterward, the sheets were cut into smaller squares and rectangles to create a color gradient woven into the grid of the park’s ornamental fence. In front of the gradient is a glass block structure which perfectly reflects the colorful background. Funding for the installation was provided by the LMCC, Puffin Foundation, and Friends of Art Park Alliance. Plastic Fantastic will be on display through June 26, 2022.
31. 7,500-square-foot mural Collective Vision opens in Union Square
Collective Vision is a 7,500-square-foot mural presented by street artists Geraluz and Werc (a Brooklyn-based couple) painted in the pedestrian areas of the 14th Street busway between Broadway and Union Square West. Presented by the Union Square Partnership and the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program, the mural addresses themes of nature, unity and resilience. It will be installed over the course of 4-5 days beginning July 27 with the help of 20-30 volunteers who will hand-paint the large shapes and background colors.
Collective Vision works to recognize the history of social movements fighting for justice within Union Square and the larger struggle for racial equality in the United States. As an example of this, the mural includes a striking rendition of the Black power fist surrounded by an array of vibrantly colored flowers. At the same time, the mural will also celebrate the community that public spaces have helped shape and their role in fostering activism and collective experiences.
32. Historic Doyers Street Gets An Artistic Makeover In Honor Of Pride Month
In honor of Pride month, Chilean-born street artist Dasic Fernández painted the historic Doyers Street in Chinatown in a range of beautiful colors from all across the rainbow. In the past, Doyers Street was once known as “the Bloody Angle,” for the amount of gang violence that took place in the early 20th century. The breathtaking mural that now covers the street spans 4,851 square feet in length and includes 44 unique colors, painted across a period of just three-and-a-half days. Fernández received information for the mural’s design from rice cultivation terraces—a common landscape seen throughout China. Using the Anamorphism technique, the mural appears 3D at certain points, most notably from the corner of Pell or Bowery streets, perfectly integrating the mural into its surrounding environment.
Doyers Street’s vibrant makeover is part of New York City’s Asphalt Art Activation series, which involves the partnership between NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and artists to paint large scale-murals onto repurposed asphalt that are pedestrianized public spaces. Typical sites the program has transformed include curb extensions, slip lane closures, bike share lanes, and temporary plazas, with sizes ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 8,000 square feet. In addition, as part of the city’s Open Streets program, Doyers is fully closed to all vehicular traffic from Bowery to Pell streets daily from noon to 11:00 p.m. Given this, Doyers Street serves as the perfect venue for visitors to walk through and enjoy Fernández’s mural. The mural will be on display for the following 11 months, weather permitting.
33. The Fabulous Plant of Rejuvenation in Rockaway Beach
The Fabulous Plant of Rejuvenation is a 90-foot-tall mural by Baxter St alum Ivan Forde, located on the façade of the newly built Rockaway Hotel in Rockaway Beach, Queens. The mural was curated by Michi Jigarjian, Managing Partner, Creative/Social Impact Officer, with support from 7G Foundation and Facebook Open Arts. Inaugurated on June 18th, 2021, the artwork draws inspiration from the legacy of Rockaway‘s’ Indigenous Lenape people and Forde’s own ancestry — including conversations with his father on the healing powers of water and vegetation. Included in the mural is a depiction of an underwater seascape of poetic sea characters alongside local fish and birds. Its centerpiece is the mythical plant from the ancient Mesopotamian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh. In addition, the mural features a series of healing plants, connected to Forde’s birthplace of Guyana, the Rockaways, and other cultures across the globe.
“My project takes cues from the structures of epic poetry, conversations with ecologists and botanists, and folk traditions our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew,” Forde said. “These knowledge systems are paramount to the discussions the mural aims to hold space for and align with a symbiotic relationship to nature essential for healing both the human species undergoing a global pandemic and the planet itself.”
34. A celebration of Brooklyn’s backyard: Jamel Shabazz’s Prospect Park, My Brooklyn Oasis
Since 1867, Prospect Park has served as one of Brooklyn’s most influential natural outdoor spaces. In honor of the park’s legacy and the start of restoration on Lefferts Historic House, the Prospect Park Alliance has partnered with the non-profit Photoville to present Jamel Shabazz’s Prospect Park, My Oasis in Brooklyn, a site-specific photo exhibition of the Brooklyn scene. Shabazz is most known for his photography work of New York City during the 1980s which has been widely displayed in The Whitney Museum, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and the National Museum of African American History in Washington D.C.
His new installation, which will be displayed on the construction fencing of the Lefferts Historic House, will focus on photographs of Prospect Park taken over the last 41 years. In these photographs, Shabazz showcases how people have used the park as a means of embracing nature away from the city, with featured images offering views into reunion picnics, musicians, races, and dog walks across the park. The exhibition will be on display through December 1, 2021.
35. 88 LILAC mural installation on lighthouse Tender Lilac
A new mural titled 88 LILAC celebrates the history of the LILAC on Pier 25 in Lower Manhattan. The LILAC is a retired Coast Guard cutter that maintained buoys and carried supplies to lighthouses from 1933-1972. The paper mural, created by Aaron Asis, Untapped New York’s Artist in Residence, displays large-scale historic images wheat-pasted along the ship’s historic stack. When up close, you can listen to a dramatic account of an important moment in LILAC’s history titled “Aids to Navigation,” written by Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers. The public can access the experience via a QR code on Pier 25 while viewing the mural.
As America’s only steam-powered lighthouse tender, revitalization efforts for the LILAC are run by the non-profit LILAC Preservation Project. Its goals are to rehabilitate the ship to operate once again on its original steam engines, promote maritime education, provide a venue for history and art, and offer a community-friendly space for meetings and events. The grand re-opening of the museum ship is slotted for July. In the meantime enjoy a view and a story about its history from the fresh air of Pier 25 in Lower Manhattan.
36. The Roots of Tuckahoe Marble sculpture
The Roots of Tuckahoe Marble is an 8-foot-tall public sculpture made of Tuckahoe marble, bronze, and glass by Lara Saget. Historically used for building many of New York’s iconic landmarks like Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square and Manhattan’s historic New York Marble Cemetery, the story and the supply of Tuckahoe marble have been lost.
37. The Green at Lincoln Center
Time to hang outside at “The GREEN” at Lincoln Center. The grass-covered shapes and furniture in the Josie Robertson Plaza encourage you to touch, climb, and relax on this formerly stone plaza. The green space has been reimagined for the summer re-opening of New York by set designer and MacArthur Genius winner Mimi Lien.
The installation acts as the physical centerpiece of Restart Stages, Lincoln Center’s initiative to help kickstart the arts sector and New York City’s revival. “The GREEN” features grass-like recyclable, bio-based SYNLawn material, and is designed in a mobility-friendly way with cane detection for blind or visually impaired people integrated into the architecture.
38. Massive bulldog guarding Domino Park
A massive bulldog made of kibble by artist and animal lover Will Kurtz will be guarding Domino Park in Brooklyn for one week in June. The sculpture was commissioned by Freshpet foods and is titled One Sad Kibble Dog. The piece serves as a testimony to the overly processed dry dog food industry. Kurtz’s bulldogs previously stood guard over the Garment District last year.
The nine-foot sculpture was unveiled on June 9 at 5 p.m. and will be there for one week with Freshpet representations on site. Domino Park Dog Run is located at 15 River Street at South Fifth Street.
39. Community Murals Project
The Community Murals Project of the New York City Health + Hospitals system has unveiled four new murals. Artist Viktoriya Basina created three new murals at Gotham Health/Dyckman Hospital in Inwood celebrating the Dominican community as well as the heroism of the hospital staff. Also unveiled this month is the mural For the People By The People by Daryl Myntia Daniels. Located in the Pediatric waiting room of Gotham Health Sydenham, it depicts notable figures associated with the history of Sydenham and street signs from the Harlem area where the former hospital is located. All the murals were created with community input.
When complete, The Community Murals Project will be the country’s largest public hospital murals program since the Work Progress Administration/Federal Art Project in the 1930s and 1940s. As part of the NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine program, the project encourages community participation with an artist leader. By the end of summer, there will be 27 murals across the hospital system.
40. Ghost Forest by Maya Lin
Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, a towering stand of 50 haunting Atlantic white cedar trees placed in Madison Square Park, is a newly commissioned public artwork. Lin brings her vision as an artist and her agency as an environmental activist to this project, which embodies a memory of germination, vegetation, and abundance, as well as a harsh symbol of the devastation of climate change.
The height of each tree, around 40 feet, stands as a metaphor of the outsized impact of a looming environmental calamity. The trees in Ghost Forest were all slated to be cleared as part of regeneration efforts in the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Barrens, New Jersey. Ghost Forest will be in the park from May 10 to November 14.
41. Untitled (drone) by Sam Durant at the Highline Plinth
One of several public art installations along The High Line, Sam Durant’s Untitled (drone) is the second High Line Plinth commission. With this work, Durant seeks to make visible the intentionally obscured drone warfare perpetrated by the United States, and to remind the public that drones and surveillance are a tragic and pervasive presence in the daily lives of many living outside—and within—the United States.
This large-scale fiberglass sculpture in the shape of an abstracted drone atop a 25-foot-tall steel pole continues High Line Art’s mission of presenting new, powerful, and thought-provoking artworks that generate and amplify some of today’s most important conversations Untitled (drone) is on view through August 2022
42. Three public art installations by Jim Rennert
Timing, Inner Dialogue, and Listen are three life-size works by artist Jim Rennert that will be installed in Pershing Square Plaza West across from Grand Central Terminal. Each sculpture stands at over six feet tall and depicts the daily struggles and achievements of everyday people. The sculptural installations are facilitated as part of the New York City Department of Transportation’s Temporary Art Program.
Rennert’s works represent the meeting point between the business world and the everyday lives of ordinary people, similar to how Pershing Square represents the fusion of business and community of the neighborhood surrounding Grand Central Terminal. The sculptures are available through December 2021.
43. Not for Nutten mural at Governors Island
In his large mural work for the Governors Island Ferry Building, artist Duke Riley expands on the ships in a bottle tradition of preciously crafted objects by using a more common bottle of today—single-use plastic containers found floating in oceans worldwide. However, unlike their blown glass and wood-ship-in-a-bottle counterparts, Riley’s painted vignettes appear etched like scrimshaw on the surfaces of items that plague our waterway ecosystems, such as detergent bottles and caulking tubes.
“As a historic center for the arts, Governors Island is proud to welcome yet another celebrated artist to enliven our public spaces,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Riley’s work marries the Harbor’s rich history with the Island’s present focus on the pressing issues of the ongoing climate crisis. This intricately beautiful mural looks to both the past and the future, giving visitors the chance to pause and reflect as they enjoy everything the Island has to offer.” The mural will remain on exhibit for the long term.
44. Melvin Edwards retrospective in City Hall Park
The Public Art Fund has announced a survey of Melvin Edwards’ work. a collection of six sculptures titled Brighter Days. The displayed work will feature both newly commissioned pieces and five sculptures made between 1970 and 1994. Edwards was the first African American sculptor to have a solo exhibition at The Whitney, doing so in 1970.
Edwards often uses chains in his work, a symbol of bondage and oppression as well as connection. The location of City Hall Park, located on a 1700’s African American Burial Ground, is a fitting and powerful one. The Brighter Days exhibition on display through November 28 is free and open to the public.
45. Ruth Bader Ginsburg statue in Brooklyn
Artist duo Gillie and Marc created this bronze of late U.S. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to commemorate her fight for gender equality and human rights. The statue is one of ten statues of notable women installed in New York City to increase the representation of women in public sculpture from three to ten percent. The statue is on view from noon to 8 p.m. daily in the lobby of City Point in Downtown Brooklyn.
46. Reclining Liberty comes to Morningside Park
Reclining Liberty by artist Zaq Landsberg is set to premiere, after much delay, in Morningside Park on April 26. The slightly weary-looking Lady Liberty seems to be waiting, like most of us, for better days that surely are coming. The artist, in explaining his draw to monuments, states, “They are literally where the political and the aesthetic meet.”
You can visit the statue at the base of the stairs at 120th Street and Manhattan Avenue in Harlem. Reclining Liberty will remain on view through April 25, 2022.
47. The séances aren’t helping at the Met
The séances aren’t helping by Carol Bove will be the second commission featured on the facade of The Met Fifth Avenue. The spaces Bove’s work will fill have historically been empty. Though the niches were intended to contain art, they were empty for 117 years. Bove’s four massive works are sculpted into nonrepresentational forms that “resonate with modernist styles such as Art Deco and abstraction.”
Bove’s piece contrasts the classical style of Richard Morris Hunt‘s facade design, which “subtly calls for us to reevaluate and reckon with the legacies of tradition.” The tile also, The séances aren’t helping, further emphasizes the ongoing struggle to reckon with our past. The sculptures will be on display until November 2021.
48. Largest Tile Mosaic by Rashid Johnson
The works of Rashid Johnson employ a wide range of mediums to explore the themes of art history, individual and shared cultural identity, personal narratives, and materiality. His work often includes diverse materials rich with symbolism and personal history.
The mosaic Untitled Broken Crowd is composed of handmade ceramics, wood, brass, oyster shells, spray paint, wax, soap, and mirrors. The soaring piece spans 14 by 33 feet. Located at 200 Liberty Street at Brookfield Place, visitors will be able to contemplate Johnson’s extraordinary piece mounted in the lobby entrance. The glass facade of the building also allows the piece to be highly visible from the surrounding streets.
49. Poetry Path in Battery Park City
Poets House and Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) launched the Poetry Path, an immersive public art installation featuring work from more than 40 poets. Poetry Path occupies the northern length of Battery Park City, from Nelson A. Rockefeller and Teardrop Parks to the North Cove Marina.
The works of the poets, with themes of the relationships between people, nature, and the urban landscape, are reproduced on bench slats, banners, pavers, pathways, and signs. The installation will be up through 2021.
50. The world’s largest stenciled mural, Tunnel Vision, at the East River Plaza
In July 2021, American contemporary artist Logan Hicks completed Tunnel Vision, the world’s largest stenciled mural. Presented by Taglialatella Galleries, the mural is 19,000 square feet — created with over 100 gallons of paint, 500 cans of spray paint, hundreds of stencils, and dozens of rolls of Gorilla Glue. Located within the East River Plaza on 117th Street in East Harlem, Tunnel Vision includes vivid imagery of lush greenery climbing up the 30-foot walls before merging into the sparkling blue-painted ceiling.
Inspired by Christian Cooper — a Central Park birdwatcher who was victimized in a racially charged confrontation with Amy Cooper in May 2020 — Hicks aimed for Tunnel Vision to recreate the feeling of visiting the Ramble. To accomplish this, dozens of stenciled birds that live within New York State were drawn into the green thicket on the wall. In relation, the mural is accompanied by a custom-designed sound installation featuring a four-hour looping soundtrack, featuring the calls of every bird indigenous to New York. Reflecting on Tunnel Vision, Hicks stated: “This started with a vision of going beyond making just a mural. I wanted to make an environment where people could forget they were in the middle of the city — even if only for a moment.”
51. Broadway Blooms: Jon Isherwood on Broadway
For nine months from August 2 to Spring 2022, the Broadway Mall Association will present Jon Isherwood’s Broadway Blooms: Jon Isherwood on Broadway — a series of eight marble sculptures located on the green malls at the center of Broadway from 64th Street to 157th Street. Originally planned for display in 2020, the exhibition’s sculptures were delayed in being transported from Isherwood’s studio in Italy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadway Blooms will mark the Broadway Mall Association’s 13th sculpture show since 2005 as part of their Art on the Malls program.
Each sculpture’s design in Broadway Blooms was inspired by flowers and their diverse cultural meanings — ranging from the imbued spiritual symbolism of the lotus flower to the holiday tradition of poinsettias. Moreover, flowers reflect one’s connection to themselves and their surrounding community; this is reflected in the sculptures’ placements at a series of major intersections along Broadway — which promotes a sense of interconnectedness in spaces that are otherwise impersonal. Carved in Bardiglio Imperiale, Fantastico Arni, and Rosa Portogallo marble, Broadway Blooms offers a beautiful respite from the surrounding urban landscape. At the same time, Broadway Blooms distorts the flowers’ natural appearance, with carved lines contouring the sculptures’ surfaces to create an illusion of expansiveness and promote associations of patterning, layering, and veiled imagery.
52. Citrovia opens at the construction site of Brookfield Properties’ Two Manhattan West
As a creative addition underneath the canopy of the required construction shed of Two Manhattan West — Brookfield Properties‘ new 58 story tower set to open in 2023 in Hudson Yards — the company has commissioned Citrovia. Covering over 30,000 square feet of the pedestrian walkway from Moynihan Station to 10th Avenue, Citrovia is a stunning garden consisting of a series of 10-to-20-feet-high lemon trees made from steel and plaster. Attached to the trees are 700 oversized lemons and 3,800 handcrafted leaves made of steel and foam, painted in shades of green and purple. Citrovia is free and open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The space is friendly for people of all ages and will even offer interactive augmented reality games for children. Passersby will also have the opportunity to potentially sample citrus-inspired scents. The installation was designed by Cuttlefish, an award-winning team of creative technologists producing experimental work for big-name companies such as Chanel and Apple. Each element of the installation was fabricated by Adirondack Studios, which built Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Universal and Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
As Sara Fray, SVP of Marketing for Brookfield Properties stated in a press release, “Citrovia exists for New Yorkers’s pleasure alone. It has no other purpose. We wanted to create a space that’s welcoming and bright to make better use of a space that would otherwise be ugly or inaccessible. It’s not solving the world’s problems, but it’s a delightful midday encounter.”
53. Community Heroes honors members of the Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy neighborhoods
Community Heroes is a community-based public art project celebrating people whose generosity is felt throughout their community. Co-founded in 2016 by Jasmin Chang and Zac Martin in their neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Gowanus, the project aims to highlight the achievements of everyday citizens. Special attention is paid to selecting persons of color from often overlooked communities who have had a faithful and stable long-term presence in their neighborhoods through volunteering, advocacy, mentorship and creativity. Organized and produced by Photoville and Trellis, Community Heroes receives additional support from Partnerships for Parks and PhotoWings. Past projects have included Arts to End Violence, a showcase of young artists committed to anti-violence work, and It’s Happening, a celebration of 50 years of the Arts in the Park program.
To produce their work, Community Heroes partners with communities across NYC to nominate heroes. Afterward, these individuals are paired with local artists to make their portraits and youth writers to interview them. The results of this are then displayed as an art exhibition in a local public space. This summer, Community Heroes will have two projects on display. The first is located at Fort Greene Park along the Brooklyn Hospital fence and in Commodore Barry Park along the football field. One featured hero will be Kesha S. Morse, who became the first female member, officer, and President of the New York City Federation of Black Cowboys. This iteration of Community Heroes will run through June 2022. The second project will be open for view from August 10 to July 2022 in Bed-Stuy at St. Andrews Playground along Herkimer Street and Kingston Avenue.
54. Ascending the Mountain in Marcus Garvey Park
Through June 30, 2022, Susan Stair’s public art exhibition Ascending the Mountain will be on display at Marcus Garvey Park. Drawing inspiration from the underground network used by trees to communicate and share resources, Stair’s exhibit tells a story of remarkable natural growth. What began as a few trees planted during the early 20th century on a mountain of Manhattan Schist has since grown into a sprawling urban forest — its roots pushing down through the land’s rocky outcropping. Today, the naturally seeded forest provides shade, moisture and oxygen while attracting birds and small animals to the surrounding neighborhoods of Harlem.
Ascending the Mountain was installed in three distinct sections along the staircase leading up to the overlook terraces known as the Acropolis and the Harlem Fire Watchtower. The installation provides visitors with eye-level views of the adjacent forest area so that viewers can more effectively make direct connections between the exhibit and its surrounding natural environment. The first section, Roots n Rocks — located near the base of the stairs on the east side of the mountain — focuses on the roots of the now mature trees and how they have moved underground to gather nutrients and resources. One level up is the second section Growing Powerhouse, which illustrates the trees’ ability to bring gallons of water and minerals up the side of the mountain through their trunks. Just below the upper level of the park is the final section, Tree Canopy, which encourages viewers to connect the artwork with the real-life treetops.
55. Head to Forest Hills to visit Afro Pick: Remembering & Moving Forward
On your visit to Forest Hills this summer, an exciting new artwork to check out is Afro Pick: Remembering & Moving Forward. Surrounded by a beautiful array of Versicolor wildflowers in MacDonald Park, Yvonne Shortt’s larger-than-life afro pick sculpture draws inspiration from the item’s storied history. Originating over 5,500 years ago in Egypt, afro picks were once made from wood or stone and were used to tell narratives of the cultures or tribes carving them. Unrecognizable today from their ancient counterparts, afro picks are now largely fabricated using plastic. Since the 1970s, afro picks have become important symbols of Black power, readily used throughout the ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement. This movement sought to promote an embrace of Black culture and identity, with one crucial element being the adoption of more natural and less Westernized hairstyles. As an ode to this, Afro Pick: Remembering and Moving Forward honors those who have died during the pandemic in Shortt’s community (the artist lost both of her grandmothers). Made from recycled wood, the pick’s handle tells a story of strength and resilience, inscribed with the words: “The Iris versicolor wildflower symbolizes wisdom, faith, and courage. Hopefully, we have gained wisdom through COVID, faith from our community and houses of worship, and the courage to envision a better place for our children.”
Situated at the top of the handle is a bust of a young girl, whose features were drawn from several individuals of different cultural backgrounds living within Shortt’s community. As a symbol of diversity and hope for the future, the girl also serves as a representation of the African American community’s perseverance over time. This is exemplified in her hair texture, which is inspired by African rice braiding, a technique used by enslaved people to prevent hunger during their journeys on the Middle Passage. At the bottom of the statue is a series of metal rods that serve as the teeth of the afro pick, reflecting the move from wooden to metal teeth during the 1950s and 1960s. Six additional afro picks will be installed at Queens College and two at Marymount Manhattan College. In September, three other picks will also be placed at Socrates Sculpture Park as part of Shortt’s Hair Sanctuary sculpture.
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