Colorful globes made of plastic waste, photos commemorating the iconic Meatpacking District’s history, and Van Gogh paintings seen from a new angle. June may always bring Summer, but this year it also brings a variety of new art installations to New York City. From renowned New York City artists to up-and-coming talent, this month will see a variety of sculptures, exhibitions, and experiences that are sure to ring in the Summer on a high note.
1. Perimeter Path at Green-Wood Cemetery
Artist Rowan Renee, Green-Wood Cemtery’s artist-in-residence, has turned years of extensive research into a captivating new art installation inside the Historic Chapel at the landmarked cemetery. The sculptural work is made of finely crafted pieces of marble, glass, and steel arranged on circular shelves inside the chapel. Titled The Perimeter Path, the work pulls attention from the elaborate monument and mausoleums of the cemetery to the overlooked public burial lots around the cemetery’s perimeter.
These burial plots are the final resting place of New York City’s working class and poor. population. The land around the perimeter of the cemetery was less valuable, as it was closer to the street. In Renee’s work, the artist called attention to how race and class have influence even in the afterlife. The piece will be on view daily from 10am to 5pm through September 4th.
2. Union with the Universe at Union Square
A massive celestial-themed mural can be found along 14th Street in front of Union Square. Titled Union with the Universe, the brightly colored mural is presented in partnership with the NYC DOT and Brooklyn-based Spanish artist and educator Vanesa Álvarez. Álvarez took “inspiration from natural elements to celebrate human connections to Earth and each other.”
You can see the mural debut along the pedestrian areas of the 14th Street Busway between Broadway and Union Square West. Over the course of five days, community partners and volunteers helped paint the mural which brings a little bit of nature into the urban landscape with representations of waves, mountains the sky, butterflies, and roses, the state flower of New York.
3. Photoville at Brooklyn Bridge Park
For its twelfth year running, Photoville will be making a return to Brooklyn Bridge Park. While Photoville is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, the pandemic’s effect in 2020 allowed the festival to expand to outdoor spaces in each borough, seeing as many as 1 million visitors last year. From June 3rd to June 18th Photoville will provide photography exhibitions all over New York City that embrace diverse perspectives through the lens of photography and celebrate iconic public places in New York City.
The exhibitions and events are free of charge and open to all, as the festival has been known to be a welcoming space for people of any and all backgrounds to enjoy and feel represented. A few of the exhibitions that will be on display in Photoville 2023 include Our Black Experience: Stories from Black Women Photographers, highlighting the experiences had by four Black Femme-identifying photographers from the New York City area, (In)Visible Guides, which explores notions of memory, safety, and loss at a shelter for domestic violence survivors in the Lower East Side. and Clayton Patterson’s Front Door: Residents and Writers which spotlights rarely-seen images from Patterson’s Front Door portrait series shot in front of his 161 Essex Street studio from the mid-1980s to early 2000s.
4. Origin, Emergence, Return at Rockefeller Center
To prepare for its Korean heritage celebration in July and to showcase modern and contemporary Korean art, Rockefeller Center is debuting three new art installations in collaboration with three influential Korean artists. Organized by Johyun Gallery from Busan, Korea, the exhibition, Origin, Emergence, Return will be located at the Rink Level Gallery and consists of over 70 works that represent three generations of Korean artwork from the 20th century to the present. Each of the three sections of the exhibit will focus on one individual’s material.
Many consider Park Seo-Bo’s work to be the origin of post-war Korean art in the seventies. Bo’s Origin will contain over 40 of the artist’s works from the last fifty years, illuminating the ways in which his style and development helped shape both the modernization and westernization of Korean art in the late 20th century. Park Seo-Bo’s Origin utilizes Korean hanji paper as his focal point through traditional Korean calligraphy.
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Lee Bae’s Emergence uses charcoal as the primary material. In Bae’s work, the process of making the material becomes a symbol of eternity in the way a pine tree’s 100 years gain 1,000 when it is turned into the new form. Emergence displays many of Bae’s pieces from the artist’s Issu du Feu series (meaning “from the fire”) of cut pieces of charcoal attached to canvas. In addition to his works inside, as part of the Origin, Emergence, Return exhibition Bae will become the first Korean artist to present an outdoor sculpture in the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center. The sculpture will also be made of charcoal, though much larger pieces stacked on top of each other in an effort to have the material stand out from the surrounding skyscrapers. The sculpture is made of shapeless charcoal, nearly still in its tree form, representing the desire to purify what humans cannot solve.
Return by Jin Meyerson consists of new paintings along with augmented reality overlays. Born in Korea but adopted by an American family, Meyerson’s work explores issues of colonialism and loss of heritage. Drawing from his own life, his paintings present a dual narrative and test the limits of painting being solely a pictorial medium. Origin, Emergence, Return will be on display at Rockefeller Center from June 8 to July 26 and an artist talk will be hosted on June 8 from 5 PM to 6 PM.
5. Earth Poetica at 3 World Trade Center
A beautiful, vibrantly colored globe appears to be stained glass, but when viewers get closer they realize it is made of plastic. That was Israeli artist Beverly Barkat’s intention with her new sculpture Earth Poetica. Alongside the 50th anniversary of the United Nations World Environment Day, Earth Poetica will be unveiled at 3 World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan on Monday, June 5, as a free public art installation. The stunning globe is comprised of 180 colored panels all created using solely plastic waste, as well as steel and bamboo reinforcements.
The globe’s purpose is to draw attention to regions of the Earth where continents and oceans are particularly suffocating from the ceaseless production of plastic waste. While Barkat gathered a large portion of the plastic used in her sculpture by her own hand, gathering discarded bags, bottles, and cups from oceans, forests, and waterways, she also had help from conservationists around the globe who wanted to support her mission. People from the US, UK, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia all came together and sent the artist scraps of plastic waste over the course of three years until her studio was overflowing. Earth Poetica is a call to action to help raise awareness of the issue of climate change all across the world.
6. A Wild Life for Wildlife in New York at the World Trade Center Campus
Three large-scale bronze sculptures featuring various endangered animals will be on display at the World Trade Center campus within the South Oculus Plaza, where more than 180,000 international tourists, workers, and residents will view them each day. As a collaboration between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Australian artists Gillie and Marc Schattner, these three sculptures, collectively titled A Wild Life for Wildlife in New York, will be on display for twelve months in an effort to raise awareness of the issue of species endangerment.
The first of the three art installations will depict endangered species from around the world on a large tandem bike, which will include an extra empty seat for visitors to hop on and help them pedal. The second sculpture will portray a chess match between a rhinoceros and a dog-man hybrid, aiming to touch on staying one step ahead in the fight for animal survival. The third and final sculpture is of an African elephant with a rabbit-woman hybrid, inviting others to sit and have a conversation discussing the topic. Each sculpture will have a QR code that links visitors to its story along with key information regarding the threats to the animals portrayed.
7. PRANK at City Hall Park
A sculpture that dares to defy gravity and artistic form will come to City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan on June 6. Created by the late British artist Phyllida Barlow, PRANK is a collection of seven free-standing steel and fiberglass structures that serve as the artist’s first and only series of outdoor sculptures made from durable long-lasting materials. PRANk makes use of what has come to be known as Barlow’s well-known “rabbit ear” forms (originally created in Barlow’s Objects For series in the 1990s). In this series, Barlow stacks these forms precariously on top of mundane household objects such as workbenches, cabinets, and chairs. All of these objects are stacked and balanced at unusual angles, posing the question of art’s expectations of structural precarity and form.
While the title of the exhibition and complete series is written in all uppercase letters, the individual sculptures are all titled using only lowercase ones: antic, hoax, jape, jinx, mimic, stunt, and truant. Barlow plays around with word and letter choice in order to highlight the exhibition’s theme of disruptive behavior and defying expectations.
8. Reclining Liberty in Red Hook Brooklyn
The Statue of Liberty is moving to Red Hook, well, a version of the Statue of Liberty. In 2021, artist Zaq Landsberg debuted his Reclining Liberty sculpture in Morningside Park. After spending nearly a year in Harlem, it was moved over to Liberty State Park in New Jersey, where it rested until April of 2023.
This June, the lazing Lady Liberty will lounge at the Andrew Logan Projects in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The sculpture will be on display from June 8th through June 24th. Visitors can see the installation Wednesday through Friday from 2:00 pm to 8 pm and Saturday through Sunday from 12pm to 8 pm or by appointment. Read the story of another Liberty replica that recently traveled from Brooklyn to Illinois here!
9. Raindrops at Hillel Plaza
Coming to Brooklyn and staying for a year is a new eye-catching ground mural titled Raindrops at Hillel Plaza. The mural was designed by Hive Public Space x Humble in partnership with the Flatbush Nostrand Business Improvement District and was co-created using the help of local volunteers who came out to help paint it.
Raindrops not only amplifies the plaza’s beauty, but also acts as a method for getting students, residents, and shoppers out into their community to meet and create relationships, hang out, or relax. The diverse colors used in the mural mirror the diversity that can be found within the Flatbush Nostrand community.
10. Raul Mourão’s CAGE HEAD
Brazilian artist Raul Mourão’s CAGE HEAD, built from Corten steel, uses its mass to suggest that gravity is a physical force and challenges its urban environment by inviting viewers to stop and consider the delicate balance that the mass of society rests on, and what applying pressure to it may mean for its composition. Presented by the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee and NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program, the five-meter-tall CAGE HEAD is located on the mall at East 68th Street and Park Avenue in front of the Americas Society.
Mourão was a leading figure for generations of artists who emerged onto the Rio de Janeiro art scene in the 1990s. He has used art to comment on the importance of being thoughtful and valuing meaningful interactions with others and the world around you. CAGE HEAD will be on view until November 5, 2023, a few blocks East of Central Park.
11. Craig’s Closet at NYC AIDS Memorial Park
As part of NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program, a new exhibit by Jim Hodges will come to life at New York City’s AIDS Memorial Park. Many people have closets, these compartments in homes, offices, or bedrooms where we store all the big and small things that make up our lives. Craig’s Closet consists of a replication of an ordinary bedroom closet made of painted bronze and granite. The artwork aims to commemorate the lives of millions of people lost in the AIDS epidemic by bringing a sense of personal connection.
12. New York Botanical Garden Summer Exhibit
Glittering vultures, boldly textured fabric sculptures, and exotic plants are all part of the new Summer exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden, …things come to thrive… in the shedding… in the molting. The site-specific installation was created by multi-disciplinary artist Ebony G. Patterson. Spread throughout the interior and surrounding gardens of the Haupt Conservatory as well as the indoor galleries of the Mertz Library, Patteron’s installation contemplates the entanglements of race, gender, and colonialism, looking at the ideas of molting, shedding, and decay and their potential to give way to healing, regeneration, and beauty.
Patterson’s paintings and sculptures intermingle with the living specimen in the gardens. The exhibit will be on view through Sunday, September 17, 2023. You can purchase tickets here.
13. Painful Arc II (Shoulder High) at the High Line
In an effort to shed light on behind-the-scenes labor that often goes unrecognized and underappreciated, artist Baseera Khan created an archway to celebrate the people that tend to go unthanked. Painful Arc II (Shoulder-High) was born through interviews with High Line employees, dozens of photographs of supply shipping boxes, and extreme attention to detail. The archway, made from recycled granite and a man-made stone-like composite, is ornately inscribed with things Khan noticed on packaging labels and handwritten notes that circulate throughout the park on a typical day. The archway is also decorated with representations of punctuation symbols from the Quran, reimaged through motifs inspired by the High Line’s flora and fauna.
The idea behind Painful Arc II is to draw attention to those who more often than not go unnoticed by the public. This ranges from the unseen labor that makes receiving packages at our doors possible to staff members at the High Line who make the park the beautiful piece of New York City that it is today. Painful Arc II (Shoulder-High) will be viewable on the High Line from June 2023 until May 2024. It is one of several art installations that debuted on the High Line this spring, including a new commission on the Plinth.
14. Yayoi Kusama’s I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers
Throughout the entire month of June, well-known Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will be showcasing her art at David Zwirner Galleries on West 19th Street in Manhattan. The installation of Kusama’s I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers will represent the debut of over thirty paintings, massive never before seen sculptures, and a new spin on one of her most popular works of art: the infinity mirror room.
I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers is an exhibition alive with color and unique shapes, emphasizing polka dots which can be found in nearly every piece in the exhibit. The exhibit was born out of Kusama’s absorption in the natural world, from the cells in the leaves of flowers to the human body itself. The exhibit is free to the public and will be open until July 21st. Don’t miss out on the chance to see this artist’s unique work!
15. A District Defined: Streets, Sex, and Survival in the Meatpacking District
As a collaboration between the Meatpacking Business Improvement District and human rights activist, election reformer, and producer, Tim Hayes, A District Defined: Streets, Sex, and Survival is a photography exhibit that aims to shed light on the history of the historically vibrant district. A District Defined is a collection of dozens of never-before-seen photographs surrounding the queer nightclubs of the Meatpacking District in the late 1980s and 1990s. All photographs come from a group of eight different artists who each uniquely documented different aspects of the District at the time, including Lynsey Addario, Lola Flash, Jill Freedman, Efrain Gonzalez, T.L. Litt, Catherine McGann, Katsu Naito, and Joseph Rodríguez. Within the exhibit there will also be one work by Richard Young: a photograph of Freddie Mercury wearing a Mineshaft t-shirt, a shoutout to the infamous gay BDSM and leather bar located in the District.
A District Defined pays homage to all aspects of what defined the Meatpacking District, from the colorful nightlife to the hardships and struggles that shaped the lives of the community. The photographs examine the evolution of the Meatpacking District over time and aim to honor and celebrate its LGBTQ+ history, artists, and community. The exhibition can be found between June 22 and July 9 at 401, located at 401 West 14th Street in Manhattan.
16. Van Gogh’s Cypresses at The Met
At the end of May, The Metropolitan Museum of Art debuted Van Gogh’s Cypresses, the first exhibit to focus primarily on the trees found in Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. The exhibit consists of roughly 40 works including Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses and The Starry Night, all of which depict the whimsical fascination the artist had with the distinctive evergreens he found in Southern France.
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The exhibition highlights the artist’s iconic portrayal of twisting trees with lives of their own in each painting. Van Gogh’s Cypresses will be on view in The Met until August 27th, providing backstories for each painting on display. You can explore the exhibit after joining one of Untapped New York’s Secrets of the Met walking tours, led by a former Met Museum security guard!
17. Brookfield Properties’ Charles Ray and Christopher Wool Installations
Two new art installations will be coming to Manhattan West, Brookfield Properties’ eight-acre mixed-use development building at West 31st Street and 9th Ave. The combination of Charles Ray and Christopher Wool’s individual pieces will promote Brookfield Properties’ commitment to creating vibrant urban spaces.
Charles Ray’s sculpture Adam and Eve will be situated to stand outside of the Brookfield Properties’ skyscrapers, One and Two Manhattan West. Adam and Eve will display two nearly ten feet tall figures created out of solid blocks of stainless steel. The sculpture harmonizes with the energy of the new Manhattan West neighborhood, and the nearby places like Madison Square Garden, the High Line, and Moynihan Train Hall. The installation also plays well with the steel and glass skyscrapers surrounding it, all of them reflecting light, sky, city, and clouds.
Adding to the installation, Christopher Wool debuts his first mosaic, titled Crosstown Traffic. The artwork began as a small painting that Wool turned into a massive 28 x 39-foot plain of stone and glass with the help of numerous artists at a studio outside of Venice, Italy. The mosaic will be installed in the lobby of Two Manhattan West.
18. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts and Design Posters
Over the past six months, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts and Design program has released a collection of six artworks on display in places around the public transportation system, with the goal of enhancing the commuting experience for its millions of daily riders. Three of the six pieces of artwork are art cards, which can be found inside subway cars, while the other three are larger posters that are installed at selected station platforms and mezzanines for up to 6 months.
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Each image portrayed in the six pieces is a colorful and whimsical transit-related scene, designed to boost the moods of commuters. Two examples of the art on display include The Ride by Laura Freeman, depicting an astronaut’s subway ride through space, and John W. Tomac’s Subway Series, creating a reimagination of the real series.
19. Kibbitz & Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow’s Cafeteria in the Garment District
To pay homage to the many long-lived iconic diners around New York City, Brooklynite photographer Marcia Bricker Halperin created Kibbitz & Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow’s Cafeteria. While Kibbitz & Nosh is an exhibition it is also a recently published book, both of which serve as photographic tributes to many historic eateries such as Horn & Hardarts Automat, the Garden Cafeteria on the Lower East Side, and of course, Dubrow’s Cafeteria, which last location closed in 1985.
Kibbitz & Nosh stirs feelings of nostalgia in those not even from New York, as it highlights in its black and white archival prints the struggles of being a humble diner in an ever-changing city. Photographs of the old, eclectic interiors, lights, and decorations take viewers back in time to perhaps a simple version of New York City.
The photography exhibition is located inside the Kaufman Arcade building at 139 W 35th Street, in the heart of the Garment District, and is established as part of the Garment District Space for Public Art program. The free exhibit is open to the public through August 31.
Untapped New York Insiders recently got a sneak peek of Halperin’s book in a virtual talk where she shared a selection of photos. You can see this talk in our on-demand video archive, along with more than 200 other past virtual experiences! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today and get your first month free with code JOINUS.
20. The Uptown Arts Stroll
Beginning in 2003, the Uptown Arts Stroll has been celebrating art and culture north of West 135th Street. While it began as a one-day event, over the years it has come to develop into a month-long experience that highlights local artists, businesses, community leaders, and institutions. With the help of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the Uptown Arts Stroll uses spaces between West 135th Street and West 220th Street to light up Northern Manhattan for the month of June with events including art exhibitions, open studios, concerts, and a variety of performances.
One of the new exhibits to debut in the 2023 Uptown Arts Stroll on June 10 is The Rise: Art in the Heights. The exhibit will transform vacant storefronts in Washington Heights’ high-visibility locations to create interactive art exhibitions for passersby to enjoy. The Rise aims to emphasize what the concept of rising means to people of different socioeconomic backgrounds and privileges and to showcase local New York artists and the residents and merchants who live in Washington Heights.
Next, check out A New Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room is Open In NYC