Artist Mel Chin is bringing two new installations to Times Square’s Broadway plazas this summer. Wake and Unmoored are part of Mel Chin: All Over the Place, a multi-location exhibition produced by the Queens Museum and the public art nonprofit No Longer Empty. Other locations involved with the citywide exhibition are the Queens Museum and the Broadway–Lafayette/Bleeker Street subway station, which is hosting a May 13 rededication for Signals, Chin’s permanent installation at the station. Wake is a 24-foot-tall installation crafted by Mel Chin to resemble a shipwreck intertwined with the skeleton of a marine mammal. Adjacent to the shipwreck will be a 21-foot-tall sculpture based off of a figurehead of 19th-century opera singer, Jenny Lind. This project is being fabricated by the UNC Asheville's STEAM Studio. A celebrity during her career, Lind was also a figurehead for the USS Nightingale, a mercantile clipper involved in the trade of guns and slaves. Chin views Lind’s inclusion in the piece as means to pull back the complicated, and often controversial, factors that led to New York City’s rise. According to Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance that partnered with the producers on the project, Wake serves as bridge to Unmoored. In collaboration with Microsoft, Unmoored is a mixed reality experience revealing a speculative vision of a world where global warming goes unchecked. Unmoored’s augmented reality section will extend from 45th to 47th Street, and will be viewable through cell phones and tablets. Times Square Arts commissioned these installations, which will be on view at the Broadway plazasbetween the cross streets above at Broadway/7th Avenue beginning July 11. In a statement to the The New York Times, Chin describes Wake coming alive through digital interaction, such as the sculpture of Jenny Lind “who will sigh and raise her head to the heavens," as Times Square floods around her. All Over the Place began at the Queens Museum on April 8. The museum’s portion of the exhibition is the first survey of the artist’s work by a New York City institution. In total, the survey contains over seventy works spanning Chin’s four-decade artistic career, including paintings, sculptures and videos. Additionally, two newly commissioned projects, Flint Fit and Soundtrack, are found at the Queens location. Curators Laura Raicovich, the Queens Museum's former president and executive director, and Manon Slome, No Longer Empty's co-founder and chief curator, describe All Over the Place as a city-wide celebration of Chin’s work and his ability to deliver “provocative and profound investigations of the ways in which we live, our socio-economic contexts, our relationship to our surrounding environments, how power skews the scales, and how poetry can intervene, to a broad public.” Wake and Unmoored will stand in Times Square until September 5, 2018. More information about the exhibition can be found here.
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Times Square Arts, which describes itself as the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, announced The Office for Creative Research as the winner of this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition for their proposal We Were Strangers Once Too. We Were Strangers Once Too will be available for one month of viewing, beginning with the unveiling February 7. The public data sculpture highlights the role that immigrants have played in the founding and continued development of New York City. The Office for Creative Research used the data compiled in the 2015 American Census Survey to create 33 metal pole sculptures, each representing national origins of foreign-born NYC residents, to generate conversations about the value of diversity and its particular importance in the city. The sculpture is designed so that individual color blocks of red and pink gradually become an iconic heart, as visitors experience shifting perspectives from various vantage points around the artwork. “Now more than ever New Yorkers need to stand up and say we are proud to live in a city of immigrants. We Were Strangers Once Too is our way to acknowledge and say thank you to the diverse communities of NYC for their many contributions historically, currently and into the future,” said The Office for Creative Research. Curatorial partners Times Square Arts and Urban Design Forum had seven other final sculpture proposals for the ninth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition. This year’s finalists included Open (Your) Heart by Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, Blind Love by Young New Yorkers, Heartfelt by Ekene Ijeoma, Heart to Heart by Partners and Partners and Annie Barrett, Love Square by McEwen Studio, Of Monsters and Gods by Future Firm and Andrew Heumann, and Beyond the Cell-fie by Alan Waxman Ecosocial Design. Although many artists and designers entered the rings of competition with varying outlooks for the valentine heart design, Daniel McPhee, executive director of Urban Design Forum, said "We Were Strangers Once Too is a powerful display of our city’s vibrant immigrant communities, and an important reminder that our city should always welcome new New Yorkers.”
Artist Pipilotti Rist will break out of Times Square’s usual electronic billboard programming with her Open My Glade (Flatten), 2000-2017, which will be on display every night in January from 11:57-midnight. The programming is part of Midnight Moment, the longest-running digital art exhibition synchronized on electronic billboards throughout the famous intersection, curated by Times Square Advertising Coalition and Times Square Arts every month. In this month’s Midnight Moment, video artist Pipilotti Rist re-confronts the screens of Times Square in a new, multichannel edition of a work commissioned by the Public Art Fund in 2000, which originally appeared on a single screen in Times Square. In the 2017 edition, Rist surrounds the plazas of Times Square on multiple screens in vivid color, flattening her face against the glass as if to break through the screens completely. "The human being wants to transgress any screen and jump out onto the square," Rist said of her digital art piece. "She wants to jump out of her skin and melt with you." With her features humorously distorted and her makeup smeared, Rist addresses expectations of women in media while also questioning the invisible boundaries placed on women and their history, experiences, pains, and wishes, in ways that resonate just as strongly in 2017 as they did in 2000. “At a time when the larger political currents are making many women feel both the glass ceiling and the walls closing in on their bodies, this work resonates more than ever," said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. This month’s Midnight Moment is presented in partnership with Rist’s Pixel Forest, on view at the New Museum through January 15.
Every night at midnight (or 11:57pm to be precise) for the month of June, Times Square’s fantastic array of video screens will stop blasting advertisements for luxury watches and television shows to display a three-minute short film by multimedia artist Saya Woolfalk. The film, titled Chimacloud, is made up of short digital videos from Woolfalk's ongoing project called ChimaTEK. Chimacloud found its way to Times Squareas part of the Midnight Moment series sponsored by Times Square Arts, which features a new show every month (Chimacloud will be on view through June 30). Past contributors include Yoko Ono, Bjork, and Laurie Anderson. Those who find themselves in Times Square at midnight can see one of these short visual art pieces or experimental films every night of the week. ChimaTEK and two of Woolfalk’s past multimedia projects center around the "Empathics," a fictional society of women who can change their genetics and meld with plants. Woolfalk’s work is filled with bright, kaleidoscopic visuals and deals with themes of hybridity, race, and sex. She has been featured in galleries and museums across the United States, including MOMA PS1. Check out the video below to see a previous Midnight Moment by Rafael Rozendaal:
In Times Square, art and architecture converge during the last week of Collective–LOK's Heart of Hearts installation
Every winter, the Times Square Alliance and the Center for Architecture choose a team of architects to design an installation for Times Square that a) has to both dialogue and compete with the pageantry of Times Square and b) is heart-themed for Valentine's Day. AN visited this year's Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition winner, Collective-LOK's Heart of Hearts, during its final week to speak with the architects and an artist/composer duo who created an interactive sound and visual piece within the installation. Formally, Heart of Hearts is a circle of aluminum–paneled hearts planted in the center of Father Duffy Square, a public plaza between 45th and 47th streets at Seventh Avenue and Broadway. Joshue Ott and Kenneth Kirschner, Times Square Alliance artists-in-residence, installed variant:breaker, a one-day interactive audiovisual installation that used four LED arrays and speakers that plays on Heart of Hearts' reflectivity to create an outdoor theater of sound and light. The partnership came about when Ott and Kirschner met Collective–LOK at a party, and, like Heart of Hearts, variant:breaker had to both survive and outperform the chaos of Times Square. The installation, Kirschner explained, was inspired by his young son's enthusiasm for his drum machine. Users created a sequence of randomly generated sounds by manipulating an iPad in the middle of the installation to activate the LED panels. The video below shows how the installation performed in action: https://www.flickr.com/photos/136339520@N03/25298776750/in/dateposted-public/ Conceptually, the objective of Heart of Hearts was to "out Times Square Times Square," explained Michael Kubo, one of three members of Collective–LOK. The trio wanted to take the hilarious spectacle that is Times Square and reflect it back onto itself, while creating inviting spaces for the more intimate spectacle of the kiss-and-selfie. The architectural renderings that accompanied the rollout of the project depicted a wedding, the Naked Cowboy, the famous llama, and the other happenings that give Times Square its weirdness. It turns out that the renderings were predictive: on Valentine's Day, despite the chill, multiple weddings were staged in Heart of Hearts. The architects were keenly attuned to the project's second life online, positioning their installation as the critical interface between the inherent narcissism of the selfie and an acute awareness of one's surroundings. The results would make Guy Debord proud. "The reflection was used to both embrace the context and have the thing and the space defined strictly by the context, but also, making people even more aware of the 'selfie moment' that we knew happened anyway," fellow collective member Jon Lott explained. "We were thinking about selfies from the beginning of the project," Kubo noted. "We asked, 'How do you build something that's an apparatus for people to take pictures of themselves but then decontextualize themselves, or make the things around them seem different?'" To find out, this normally selfie-averse reporter cozied up to a heart for a snap: In reviewing the photos, it was uncanny to see the the fragments and reflections (those pink fists!) that accompanied my image. The image could hardly be called a selfie, as Times Square inserted itself as a subject from all angles. Although the installation commands attention in the physical and virtual worlds, it had to make a minimal impact on the plaza. Drilling into the ground was verboten, so Collective–LOK designed an installation that was self-supporting. To give the installation its necessary rigidity and weight, the segmented hearts, which weigh a few hundred pounds apiece, were made from a quarter-inch-thick aluminum core sandwiched between eighth-inch gold acrylic mirror panels. Working with Brooklyn–based Kammetal, Collective–LOK had around one month to fabricate the piece and, due to the 24/7 activity in the square, an overnight installation timeframe a day before the unveiling. Although the collective would like to do more work in the public realm, there are no plans right now for Heart of Hearts to be installed elsewhere. When asked to name another space that would suit the installation, Kubo credited the essence of the installation to its context: "The particularities of the Times Square context are just unrepeatable."
A big, red fluttering heart will be aglow in Times Square this coming Valentine’s Day. Brooklyn-based, Venezuelan-born firm, Stereotank, has been named the winner of the 2015 Times Square Valentine Heart Design for its HEARTBEAT sculpture. The firm was invited, among others, to conceive a proposal for a Valentine's Day–inspired installation, located among the many glimmering lights of the Great White Way. The Times Square Alliance, in partnership with the Architectural League of New York, selected the winning proposal, which will open on February 9th. Stereotank’s HEARTBEAT is an interactive installation in the shape of a large heart, designed to glow along with the rhythm of a resonating heartbeat sound, set to a low frequency. Percussion instruments flank both sides of sculpture. The pace of the sound of this life-size beating heart will change in response to the movement and engagement of visitors as they near the sculpture and tap on its drums—each of which produces distinct sounds from different sized membranes and materials, including synthetic snare skin, synthetic snare skin will coil, animal hide, and hard plastic. “What's common between Love and Music? Love is about sharing and being ‘in tune’ with somebody, so it is the creation of music, a concert is a combined action where the performers are also ‘in tune’ creating harmony. Heartbeat orchestrates Times Square's unique, active, flickering atmosphere,” said Stereotank architects Sara Valente and Marcelo Ertorteguy in a statement. This year’s finalists included Alibi Studio; The Bittertang Farm & James Lowder; Chat Travieso; Modu Architecture; SLO Architecture; and Taylor Miller. Past winners of the competition, now in its seventh year, have included Young Projects (2014); Situ Studio (2013); BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) (2012); Freecell (2011); Moorhead & Moorhead (2010); and Gage / Clemenceau Architects (2009). “The combination of an interactive heart beat that increases with approach and the music making capacities is very interesting," stated Barry Bergdoll, part of the Selection Committee and the Meyer Shapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University. "It is an impressive object to occupy this space of cacophony, with sufficient red mass to be enjoyed even by wheeled passersby.”
The fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design has been awarded to Situ Studio. The Brooklyn-based architecture firm presented a design that features "boardwalk boards salvaged during Sandy’s aftermath—from Long Beach, New York; Sea Girt, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. " The project titled Heartwalk is described "as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square." The competition was cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with Design Trust for Public Space. The installation opens on Tuesday, February 12, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.