Posts tagged with "Murals":

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Stephen Glassman Studio designs colorful sculpture for new Manhattan development

Flows Two Ways by Stephen Glassman Studio is one of the most innovative new public art wall projects in New York. The walls of the city have a long and complicated history as a site for public art that includes 19th century classical Beaux Arts reliefsWPA scenes on (and in) libraries, hospitals and public housing, and the graffiti that covers buildings all over the city. Furthermore, in the 1970s the loosely organized group City Walls created opportunities for artists to use blank, lot line facades all over downtown Manhattan, particularly in Soho and Noho. Only two City Walls murals remain in 2016 but there were many large works by artists such as Allan D’Arcangelo, Mel Pekarsky, Tania Lewin, Robert Wiegand, Todd Williams, and Forrest Myers. This was a moment when bare, unpainted walls were plentiful downtown and City Walls helped created a template and process for covering them with large graphic images. These artists' projects grabbed the public’s attention and helped define the art of Soho in the 1970s but, sadly, their work only became a template for commercial advertising signs. Except for the late, lamented 5 Pointz graffiti wall in Queens, there haven't been many wall projects of interest in New York since the 1970s—or until now, with Flows Two Ways. The Stephen Glassman project is sited on a new passageway few New Yorkers even know exists. The work is not a painted mural but a raised sculpture that measures sixty-by-sixty feet. It sits on a narrow passageway between the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group-designed Via 57 West building and the Helena by FxFowle. It was commissioned by the Durst Organization, the owners of both developments. The piece was created through a truly 21st-century process of prefabricated construction. The mural is composed of colored aluminum, stainless steel, and rolled metal tubing. Furthermore, the layered eight-story, 32,000-pound jig-saw puzzle is composed of a stainless-steel mounting matrix embedded into the existing Helena wall, 35 interlocking aluminum panels, nearly 400 sixty-foot pipe clusters rolled and flowing in three axes, and faceted metal “boulders.” A sophisticated sliding plate system—which largely floats the 16-ton piece off the building—accommodates thermal expansion and forces generated by wind, rain, snow, and ice loads. It is effectively a panelized façade. To develop this technologically complex sculpture, Glassman used a team of engineers from Arup, architects, and designers to craft its layered construction and anchoring system. The artist’s intent for the work is to evoke “an enduring regard for earth and nature and a love of New York.” It cascades down and up the facade; Glassman says it replicates “the dualities of flowing and falling.” By playing with the sun’s changing angles, the artwork mimics the Hudson River’s glow at sunset. In particular, the artist hopes the work will direct the eye of the viewer upward to the sky rather than the confined, dark space of the narrow alley. The sculpture’s palette, derived through color studies of the historic Hudson River school of painting, imbues the passageway with an organic counterpoint to the surrounding steel and glass built environment. In fact, the majority of units facing onto the artwork are subsidized middle-income apartments that, without the colorful work, would be looking onto a narrow passageway's drab sheer concrete wall. The sculpture points to a new type of composite and prefabricated construction that can transform a blank vertical wall and otherwise dead space into a colorfully vibrant urban space.
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Future uncertain for little-known Keith Haring mural in Morningside Heights church building

Keith Haring's kinetic murals grace the handball courts, parks, hospitals, and interstitial public spaces of New York. Now, one of the artist's least-known, best-hidden pieces could be destroyed. In the early 1980s, Haring painted a mural along two flights of stairs at the Grace House, a Catholic youth organization in Morningside Heights. The youth organization has folded, and in 2009 the Roman Catholic Church of the Ascension took over the five-story building on West 108th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The church has been renting studios with shared bathrooms and kitchens to 16 mostly SRO-dwelling tenants. Now, though, the church is exploring other options to remain financially solvent, and may be looking to sell the building to a developer, DNAinfo reports. Most tenants moved out on August 1, and the mural's future is uncertain. Tenants, mostly artists and students, describe the mural lovingly and doubt that a developer could be bothered to save it. Haring completed the piece, which begins in the lobby with one of his signature vibrating babies, in 1983 or 1984 along with 50 children from the organization. As recent preservation battles in New York, Cincinnati, and Detroit illustrate, saving a non-landmarked mural is an uphill battle. Fortunately, the work is on the radar of the Keith Haring Foundation, the official stewards of Haring's legacy. Haring's pieces explored themes of sexuality, bodies, and AIDS in vivacious, earnest pieces that were commissioned worldwide. The foundation maintains a map and a catalogue of his work, which can be accessed here.
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Colorful 25,000-square-foot mural coming to Philly

In its fourth iteration, the "The Oval" pop-up park on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway will open on July 15, in time for the Democratic National Convention. This year Brad Carney, a local artist, will unveil his 25,000-square-foot mural: Rhythm & Hues. Carney, who has worked on more than 30 murals during his artistic career, aims to create "a full-scale music-inspired abstract experience" that "goes beyond the painted mural with complementary art activities all summer long." He has also worked on 20 projects with the Mural Arts group in the past 14 years. Music is a key theme to the pop-up park event and Carney's mural's "whimsical gestures of movement and musical rhythm" cater for the event's other main attraction, the Orchestra Pit. An open area, the Orchestra Pit will be filled with an ensemble of instruments for public performances. Meanwhile, other artistic activities for children and adults will be available, involving the creation of one's own musical instrument and other music-inspired artworks.
Initially only intended to run for three years, The Oval's success has kept it alive. “It was a pretty easy decision,” said Marc Wilken, Parks Concession Manager at Philadelphia's Parks & Recreation Department. “I think it was a successful experience the last 3 years. It was well received by the community and the city at-large and we felt it just made sense to do another run. When we saw the numbers of people coming out, it just made sense to bring it back,” he added.  
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Detroit artist takes legal action to save mural from development

Detroit muralist Katherine Craig (a.k.a. Exactly Hitops) is taking legal action in federal court to protect one of her vanguard works, as the owner the artwork’s building plans for development. Painted in 2009, The Illuminated Mural at 2937 East Grand Boulevard in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood has been an icon of the North End’s burgeoning art scene. The nine-story tall “bleeding rainbow,” as it is often referred, was painted with the support of a Community + Public Art: Detroit grant from the College for Creative Studies. As one might guess, the mural was executed by pouring over 100 gallons of colorful paint down the side of the 125-foot-tall building. In hopes of saving the mural from destruction Craig has filed suit in the U.S. Circuit Court, citing the Visual Artist Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), a federal copyright act specifically passed to protect visual artists, including muralist. This would not be the first time that VARA has been invoked regarding murals being destroyed by building owners. After his six-story tall mural of Ed Ruscha was painted over on a Los Angeles public building in 2006, artist Kent Twitchell sued the federal government, ultimately winning $1.1 million. The potential developer, Princeton Enterprises, a Michigan-based property management and construction firm, bought the building in mid-2015 with plans to sell or develop the site. Located near the College for Creative Studies, the building has recently been used as artist studios, one of which was used by Craig while she completed the mural. The 1913 building was designed by the eminent Detroit industrial architect Albert Kahn, designer of the Packard Motor Car Factory and the multiple factories for Henry Ford, for the Detroit Storage Company. Predating his famed 1928 Fisher Building, 2937 East Grand is an example of Kahn’s early Art Deco style. Interest in the building and the area has grown since the painting of the mural. With the neighboring Midtown booming with new commerce, and the future M-1 Rail passing from the North End to the Downtown, the area is primed for future development. Either way Craig’s lawsuit plays out, it will mean a new precedent for artist-developer relationships as former art communities in urban centers become desirable real estate.
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Painting Palmitas: Artists in Mexico cover an entire hillside village in one enormous psychedelic mural

Pachuca, Mexico is hoping a psychedelic mural can cement the transformation of a once crime-stricken neighborhood to a safer, more unified community. The government-sponsored urban renewal project, called El Macro Mural Barrio de Palmitas, coated over 200 hillside dwellings in a vibrant layer of paint with striking results. The government teamed up with a local graffiti collective, Germen Crew, to create the hillside mural, bringing in local residents to help with the project. The project encompassed an estimated 65,000 square feet of facade in all, transforming the once unembellished exteriors with multicolored swirls in rainbow hues. Up close, the village streets appear coated in large blocks of color, but from a distance, the mural takes its unified form, cascading from roof to roof to create a striking image. “We are trying to create a movement,” said Germen Crew in a recent interview, “We are taking into account the history of the colony but also its present, its people. And when you come to the streets, you'll find the identity of the place, but the idea is also to create an iconic place for everything Pachuca.” Germen Crew's paintings intend to preserve the community’s culture and are created in a way that provokes a more positive outlook. “We are making the world we want to live in, a world where you work and offer talents for the benefit of the common good,” stated Mybe, co-founder of Germen Crew.
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Gallery> Tour the rehabbed Chicago Motor Club, a Henry Ford–era art deco mecca for motorists

You can credit Chicago's recent boom in boutique hotels with revving up an historic 16-story building once home to the Chicago Motor Club, which rolled back onto the market in May as a Hampton Inn. As AN wrote at the project's inception, the design draws heavily on 68 East Wacker Place's history. Perhaps most notably, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture retained a 29-foot mural by Chicago artist John Warner Norton that suggests cross-country driving routes from 1927. Mural restoration expert Dmitri Rybchenkov, of the Chicago firm Restoration Division, led those efforts. In addition to the mural, other details recall the building's original identity as a motorist's mecca. To wit, an original 1928 Ford Model A overlooks the lobby. Interior designers with Gettys One also worked to restore many of the art deco details originally included by architects Holabird & Root. Vacant for over a decade, the building was destined for demolition before developer John T. Murphy, president of Murphy Asset Management, cobbled together historic preservation tax credits and financing from the Hampton Inn hotel chain to revive the short yet handsome structure.

Via Kenny Kim Photography, take a look inside the renovated Chicago Motor Club building:

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After years of delays, BKSK is set to revive this half-built luxury tower in New York’s artsy Noho district

With some financial maneuvering, the long-delayed construction site at 22 Bond Street in NoHo will finally see some action. For years, a 14-story super structure has been lurking at the coveted corner as a blatant reminder of a hotel project that went south. Now, with some refinancing, BKSK Architects will adapt the existing skeleton into an 11-story, block-through condo building. The Commercial Observer reported "developers Second Development Services and Richport Group have refinanced their $28 million acquisition and construction loan on 22 Bond Street from Starwood Capital Group with new debt from Glacier Global Partners." So this means that the $52 million project is now moving forward—but there is still no completion date just yet. "Taking advantage of the site’s expansive exposure on Lafayette Street, the building will become a literal canvas for art with a giant, site-specific mural," BKSK wrote on its website. "Additionally, the deep site is bracketed by two facades of weathered steel on the north and south ends, framing an 'art garden' within, visible to passersby through a large vitrine near the entrance on Bond Street. This building-as-art concept continues the neighborhood’s legacy as an incubator for art, where beginning in the 1970s, some the city’s most prominent contemporary artists emerged." This will be BKSK's second major project on the architecturally potent Bond Street. The backside of 22 Bond faces the firm's 25 Bond, a stately condo building clad in stone, bronze, and glass. And right across Lafayette Avenue from 22 Bond are two nearly-completed buildings from other big name design firms: Selldorf Architects and Morris Adjmi. The Selldorf-designed 10 Bond Street is clad in sculpted terracotta panels, while Adjmi's 372 Lafayette has an aluminum skin. Check out the photos and renderings of 22 Broad street below to see the building's sorry state today, and where it's headed soon. [h/t YIMBY]
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East Williamsburg will soon have its own multi-use co-working space for creatives

As multi-use, coworking-type spaces continue to be all the rage, East Williamsburg is hopping on the bandwagon with a tentatively named ‘Morgantown’ creative community. Planned on an industrial lot on Johnson Avenue, the large complex will comprise office spaces, a retail corridor, rooftop dining, and communal courtyards. An “on-site artisanal food production space” is also in the works and will be located at the courtyards planned on Bogart and White Street, according to brokerage firm TerraCRG, which represents the property owner. The lot will have more than 40,000 square feet of outdoor space and over 23,000 square feet of office space, not including retail. The lot was the former headquarters of commercial printing company A.J. Bart, which recently sold the land plot for $26.75 million. The structure is projected to be three stories tall, according to DTZ, the commercial real estate firm responsible for attracting tenants. According to renderings, a mural will cover an entire wall facing Johnson Avenue. Construction of the complex is starting immediately, with a projected completion date of early 2016. Tenants, however, should be free to move in starting late this year.
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New York City converted this dingy subway tunnel into a colorful underground museum of street art

For a long time, the 900-foot pedestrian tunnel that leads to the 1 train in Washington Heights was one of New York City's creepiest spaces. Now, it's been transformed into one of the city's best places to see art—or at least take some impressive Instagram photos. As part of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Beautification Project, the dingy tunnel was recently transformed into a colorful, art-filled corridor. NYCDOT picked five teams of artists (out of 150 submissions) and gave them each a 200-foot piece of the tunnel to use as a canvas. As you can see, the result is pretty dramatic. NYCDOT has a nice rundown of what visitors and commuters should expect as they make their way through the tunnel:

At the entrance to the tunnel, local Washington Heights artist Andrea von Bujdoss, also known as Queen Andrea, welcomes pedestrians with her mural entitled, 'Primastic Power Phrases,' a series of typographical designs that include phrases such as, 'Today is Your Day,' 'Live your Dreams' and 'Estoy Aqui!' As one travels further into the tunnel, Maryland-based artist team Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn have created, 'Caterpillar Time Travel,' a series of colorful, geometric designs. Next, Queens-based artist Nick Kuszyk takes viewers through 'Warp Zone,' a geometric design that plays with perspective and 'warps' the tunnel walls. Chilean artist Nelson Rivas, also known as Cekis, has created a dense jungle landscape with, 'It’s like a Jungle/Aveces es como una jungla.' At the end of the Tunnel, local artist Fernando Cope, Jr., also known as Cope 2, created 'Art is Life' to remind pedestrians to 'Take Your Passion, Make it Happen' and to 'Follow Your Dreams.'

If you're wondering why the DOT oversaw this project, it's because the tunnel is technically mapped as a city street. Anyway, onto the pictures!
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Des Moines Dialogue by Substance Architecture

Zinc and glass unite riverfront pavilion and pump house.

In 2009, just as construction on its Principal Riverwalk pavilion was about to begin—and following years of funding-related stops and starts—Des Moines-based Substance Architecture received some unexpected news. The firm was commissioned to design a second building, a pump house, on an abutting plaza. At that point, recalled Substance's Paul Mankins, it had been about three years since the firm started work on the pavilion. "There was some discussion in the office about whether the pump house should be an independent piece, or whether it should be formally related to the pavilion," he said. "Our decision was that the pavilion would be stronger if it had this piece as a foil." Using a limited material palette of zinc and glass accented by Jun Kaneko's artwork, Substance succeeded in creating a dialogue between the two small riverfront buildings, despite their differing programs and dates of origin. The pavilion's form was shaped as much by practical circumstances as by a particular aesthetic vision. The Wallace Roberts and Todd (WRT) master plan for the Principal Riverwalk, a joint development of the City of Des Moines and the Principal Financial Group, determined the wedge shape of the site. "We're not a firm that typically does triangular buildings," noted Mankins, "but the inner workings of the floodwall were already in place before we started." The architects were further constrained by a tight budget. Rather than distribute the program across a single floor, said Mankins, "we were able to convince WRT to manipulate the plaza, tip it up to stack the program." The move cut the pavilion's footprint in half and allowed Substance to push the service functions down into the plaza itself, thus decreasing the cost of the envelope. The pavilion's focal element is its glass-enclosed cafe, stacked directly atop the cast-in-place concrete box housing the service functions. The architects created an outdoor seating area by pulling the building ten feet away from the floodwall. This gesture, too, was in part a pragmatic one, as it "eased conversations with the Army Corps of Engineers," said Mankins. "The end result produces an exterior terrace, which is fantastic. But it was not purely a design-driven decision; it was also a political decision."
  • Facade Manufacturer VMZinc (zinc), Bliss Nor-Am (glazing), Jun Kaneko with Derix Glasstudios (glass mural)
  • Architects Substance Architecture
  • Facade Installer Cramer and Associates
  • Location Des Moines, IA
  • Date of Completion 2013 (pavilion), 2014 (pump house)
  • System folded zinc over steel-framed glass enclosure
  • Products VMZinc siding and roofing, Ipe siding, Bliss Nor-Am windows and doors, Minnesota limestone
To mitigate solar gain, Substance shrouded the pavilion in folded black zinc that serves as both roof and wall. A broad overhang to the south provides shade in summer without sacrificing the view downriver. On the west side of the cafe, the zinc facade is louvered. "It's basically like an enormous blind with the fins oriented north," said Mankins. "It allows you to view directly north, which is upriver, unobstructed, but it blocks the western sun." The second project, the pump house, entered the mix following the flood of 2008. "We have a storm and sanitary sewer system that's cutting-edge technology for 1750," quipped Mankins. After two 500-year floods in less than two decades, the city decided it was high time to upgrade its flood management system. The pump station designed by Substance contains three pumps, one of which already existed. "There are other pump stations in Des Moines, typically just cinderblock walls around an emergency generator and several propeller pumps," explained Mankins. The architects took a different tack, echoing the neighboring pavilion with a two-part design. They encased the existing pump in translucent glass, then wrapped a triangular zinc wall around the two new pumps and associated components. Below the pump station's zinc walls, Substance used a type of Minnesota limestone deployed by WRT throughout the Principal Riverwalk development. Substance had already worked with artist Jun Kaneko on several pieces for the pavilion. The firm returned to ask for a final artwork, a multicolored glass mural. "When we were designing the pump station, we always wanted this glass mural," said Mankins. The designers collaborated with Kaneko and Germany's Derix Glasstudios on the mural itself, then engaged C3 Lighting Solutions and Commonwealth Electric to design and install an LED system for internal illumination. With the language of limestone uniting them with the rest of the Principal Riverwalk, said Mankins, the pavilion and pump station appear as "two objects placed on plazas formed by flood walls." Their relationship to one another is a (happy) marriage of opposites, thanks to the architects' strategic use of zinc and glass. "One is closed, the other open," said Mankins. "But they're clearly related to one another."
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Are London’s Paolozzi underground mosaics to be destroyed?

In October on a visit to London, friends mentioned that Eduardo Paolozzi's early 1980 tile mosaics in the Tottenham Court tube station were going to be demolished. I diverted a Northern Line trip from Bank Street to the Charing Cross branch of the line and and walked through the Tottenham Station taking poorly lit iPhone images of the threatened mosaics. Paolozzi was a founding member of the English Independent Group and as an important early pop artist. His tube station artworks are a colorful and bright addition to a public space that is usually generic and often downright lifeless and boring. In fact, the Paolozzi art work makes this one of the most unique and recognizable train stations in the world and the thought that it would be destroyed seems mad. But now English news sources are reporting that while major parts of the mosaics will be destroyed other parts of it will be saved. The station is being reconfigured and enlarged as part of Cross Rail, the new English national train system, being integrated into the London underground. But the English Twentieth Century Society, which is devoted to preserving modern design from 1914 to the present, pointed out that two of the stations most recognizable Paolozzi additions—a double set of tiled arches over the escalators in the main concourse and a large decorative panel at the entrance to the south side of Oxford Street—will be destroyed. They argue the mosaics could easily be retrofitted into the new station. Hawkins/Brown, the architects for the new station, pointed out that they are preserving as much of Paolozzi’s work as possible, claiming 95 percent of the mosaics will be saved using a mix of original and replica tiles. Lets hope an accommodation can be worked out for these major parts of this important Paolozzi work.
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MVRDV’s enormous arched food hall and housing complex opens in Rotterdam

When the plan for Markthal Rotterdam first appeared, it seemed like one of those interesting, but never going to actually happen type of projects. There was no way that MVRDV’s sprawling food hall set underneath a 130-foot-tall arching roof that itself contains 228 apartments would ever be realized. Well, it turns out there was a way, and Rotterdam figured it out. This week, the Netherland’s Queen Máxima opened the market, which is expected to attract between 4.5 and 7 million visitors every year. The interior space is defined by a nearly 12,000-square-foot mural called “Cornucopia” that, as you may have guessed, shows produce and the like. “In order to achieve the required sharpness, the image was rendered by Pixar software,” explained Rotterdam Partners in a statement. “It was printed onto perforated aluminum panels, then attached to acoustic panels for noise control. The print resolution of the art work is comparable to a glossy magazine.” That mural is bookended by massive, arching-glazed cable net facades that create the effect of transparency throughout the structure. To contrast with the market's colorful interior, MVRDV used grey natural stone to clad the structure and define the surrounding public space.