As New Yorkers await the changing colors of the leaves this October, there are tons of new NYC art installations to keep our eyes busy. From a giant steel whale in the Garment District to architecturally inspired pieces that celebrate Archtober, check out all of the new public NYC art installations popping up this month!
1. The Little Prince Statue at Villa Albertine
Sitting on a ledge in the garden at Villa Albertine’s Fifth Avenue headquarters, you’ll see a bronze version of the title character from Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s 1943 novella The Little Prince. The installation of the statue marks the 80th anniversary of the beloved tale’s publication and its ties to New York City. Now the most translated work of literature of all time, The Little Prince was written in New York City and in Northport, Long Island where the author lived from 1940 to 1943. The statue of the famous character was created by Jean-Marcde Pas and cast in his studio in Normandy, France. The four-foot-tall piece was initially carved from clay, then cast in bronze in one single piece. You can visit The Little Prince at the garden entrance of 972 Fifth Avenue, formerly the Payne Whitney mansion which was designed by Stanford White.
2. Echoes in the Garment District
A 55-foot-long whale can now be spotted in the heart of the Garment District! Titled Echoes – A Voice from Unchartered Waters, this steel sculpture created by artist, designer, and researcher Mathias Gmachl “invites viewers to reflect on the impact of everyday activities on nature and the environment.” Located on the Broadway plazas in the Garment District between 38th and 39th Streets, the piece emits an oceanic soundscape that gets interrupted by noise pollution the closer you get. These dueling sounds represent the impact of the industrialized world on the natural one, while encouraging viewers to imagine harmony between them. Echoes will be on view through November 13.
3. Divine Pathways at St. John the Divine
New York City’s largest cathedral is in the process of installing a massive textile work by artist Anne Patterson. On October 12th, Patterson’s Divine Pathways will be unveiled to the public in the nave of St. John the Divine. Over the past few weeks, the local community has gathered at the church to help put the piece together. Pathways is comprised of 1,100 75-foot-long pieces of blue, red, and gold fabric that cascade from the Gothic arches of the cathedral. Each piece of fabric has been written on by someone in the Morningside Heights community who has shared a hope, dream, or prayer. The colors of the ribbons were inspired by the beautiful stained glass windows of the church and their carefully chosen location calls attention to recently restored architectural details. Divine Pathways will be on view through June 2024.
4. Design Pavilion by NYCxDesign
As part of NYC’s Archtober celebrations and in partnership with AIA New York and the Center for Architecture, NYCxDesign will host a fall activation called Design Pavilion. This activation will run from October 12th to October 18th and feature a series of public installations meant to draw attention “to a vision of stellar sustainable and ethical practices through the lens of design.” The series, which is made of three installations at famous NYC landmarks, will also serve as a preview of the NYCxDesign Festival coming in 2024.
At Gansevoort Plaza, Public Display designed by Michael Bennett and Studio Kër with programming by Form Us With Love Studio, will encourage public gathering and communication. Public Display will be right next to the second installation, Bamboo Cloud. This piece, designed by llLab with lighting by L’Observatoire International, challenges the traditional applications of bamboo, showing how it may be used as a sustainable building material. Finally, projections titled I Was Here will appear on The Podium at One World Trade Center. This digital presentation was conceptualized by Marjorie Guyon with video and animation co-created by Marc Aptakin, Roy Husdell, and Yoel Meneses of MadLabs. After this month’s NYC debut, the installations will travel to other cities.
5. Hunter’s Point Sculpture Garden
Long Island City has a new sculpture park! Located between 5203 and 5241 Center Blvd, the park is a collaboration between real estate developer TF Cornerstone (TFC) and the Queens-based art organization Culture Lab LIC. There are currently three works on display by New York artists. The first is ‘Confidence” by Long Island-based sculptor Paul Maus. This abstract white marble figure is part of a series by Maus that “portrays women asserting their identity against societal pressures.” Next, neon specialist Kenny Greenberg’s original work, ‘ART DREAM,’ features handcrafted neon letters meant to look like part of a crossword puzzle. Finally, Mexican-born artist Erwin List Sanchez’s ‘The Moose Spirit’ is a life-size moose made of 1,000 old railroad spikes. These three pieces were selected from submissions to an open call for outdoor public sculptures in 2022.
6. Robert Indiana Sculptures at Rockefeller Center
Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture has returned to NYC! Rockefeller Center, in partnership with The Robert Indiana Legacy Initiative, is showcasing monumental sculptures by the artist now through October 23rd. The centerpiece of the exhibition is LOVE, a 12-foot-high polychrome aluminum public artwork that stood at the corner of 55th Street and Sixth Avenue for decades. The piece was removed in 2019 for conservation. ONE Through ZERO (The Ten Numbers) (1980-2001) can also be seen at Rockefeller Center this month. This piece is made of eight-foot-high numbers crafted from Cor-ten steel. ONE Through ZERO represents the cycle of human life from birth to death and exemplifies Indiana’s fascination with numbers. Accompanying the sculptures is a series of 193 flags surrounding The Rink at Rockefeller Center. The flags feature images from Indiana’s Peace Paintings series, created as a response to the 9/11 attacks.
7. Esta Tierra es Nuestra Tierra at Four Freedoms Park
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Grand Stairs of Four Freedoms Park, a canvas of large-scale art installations, is now covered by a mural from artist Mata Ruda. Titled Esta Tierra Es Nuestra Tierra (This Land is Our Land), the mural “celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.” It features the portraits of Latino New Yorkers who embody FDR’s Four Freedoms: Brooklynite and freedom-fighter Olga Garriga for freedom of speech and expression, writer and Yoruba priestess Dr. Marta Moreno Vega for freedom of worship, a bodega owner Candido Arcángel, who turned his basement into a homeless shelter, for freedom from want, and transgender advocate Lorena Borjas for freedom from fear. A fifth figure represents the dreamer in everyman. The mural will be unveiled at the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy’s LatinXtravaganza on Saturday, October 7, hosted by Pulitzer Prize finalist Xocihtl Gonzalez. It will be on view through October 15th.
8. 191st Street Subway Murals
The 191st Street subway station in Washington Heights is considered the deepest station in the system, but its known for something else as well. For years, this station was famous for the street art that covered the walls of its pedestrian tunnel. In early 2023, the walls were painted white and a call was put out for artists to create new murals for the space. Those murals were unveiled this September. Five artists were chosen and they worked with members of the local community to create the murals you see now between Broadway and St. Nicholas Avenue and 1 train station. Those artists are Carla Torres, Rasheeda Johnson, Denise Coke, Daniel Bonilla, and Vicky Azcoitia. Each artist was assigned a section of the roughly 10,000 square feet of artwork space. Their murals highlight characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods and the people who live there.
9. NYC Legend at Union Square
While tales of sewer alligators are often exaggerated, the legend of the subterranean reptiles has some truth to it! This fall, you can see one of the mythical creatures in Union Square! NYC Legend, a sculpture by Swedish artist Alexander Klingspor will be unveiled in mid-October. The bronze sculpture features a life-sized alligator on the back of a manhole cover. Klingspor was inspired by the gods and myths of ancient civilizations and the contemporary urban myths that continue to be perpetuated. This sculpture will be on view through June 2024.
Next, check out Everything in this Lower East Side Bagel Shop is Made of Felt!