In multimedia artist Tony Oursler’s site-specific installation Tear of The Cloud, commissioned by the Public Art Fund (PAF), five video projections converge onto the gantry of Manhattan's landmarked West 69th Street Transfer Bridge and its surroundings in Riverside Park. The images that unfold at the banks of the river comprise a nodal network of symbols, texts, and figures from both reality and myth to establish a vertiginous system of ideas and themes that illuminate the complex and still-evolving past of the Hudson River Valley. The histories and historiographies of this region have been a site of recurrent interest for Oursler since his first mature efforts in the early 1980s. Illuminated by a flowchart designed by the artist and displayed on one of the five projection booths that surround the gantry, the subjects of the video sequences range from the Headless Horseman to Timothy Leary, Morse code, the 19th-century utopian community Oneida, digital facial recognition technology, and the Manhattan Project. Approached from the south, dreamy music accompanies the crouched bodies of various youths crawling across the trusses slanting into the water. This soon gives way to the disembodied faces of various actors reciting characteristically enigmatic phrases written or found by the artist. To the right, a weeping willow gently bends toward the river, its swaying branches animating a montage of sequences projected onto its foliage. The primary structure of the bridge acts as the support for the most extensive section of the work, where a series of scenes describe the evolution of various systems of information distribution across the last few centuries. This theme is apt, as the bridge, which was built in 1911, once functioned as a dock that assisted the transfer of railroad cars to the barges that connected Manhattan to the Weehawken Yards in New Jersey. To the north of the structure, a projection onto the salty waters of the Hudson is visible—and audible—from the pier, providing deeper insight into some of the characters who inhabit the scenes projected onto the gantry. For example, we learn that Dexter and Sinister are the problematic names of a sailor colonist and a Lenape Native American, respectively, who uphold the 1915 official Seal of the City. The northern face of the gantry provides a portraiture-type space for some of the most primary characters in Oursler’s repertoire, including the figure that heads his flowchart: an anthropomorphic white horse head in the form of a knight chess piece. “Reprogram is everything,” she states, reciting a series of chess moves as her image slowly slips off the gantry’s supporting beams. Manifesting the flow of information through a site designed to aid the shipment of raw materials, Tear of The Cloud embodies the rhizomatic complexities of the present moment through the archival impulse that brings us the region’s past. Tear of The Cloud is on view Tuesday through Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Riverside Park through October 31. The artist will discuss the work during a talk at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium on November 1.
Posts tagged with "Public Art Fund":
During World War I, British artist Norman Wilkinson invented the dazzle camouflage technique, also known as razzle dazzle, by painting warships with geometric patterns of contrasting colors to confuse the enemy about the ship’s course. American artist Tauba Auerbach was inspired by the war tactic and has transformed a retired fireboat into a public art piece co-commissioned by the Public Art Fund and the World War I centenary art commissioner 14-18 NOW. Auerbach painted the fireboat John J. Harvey with a head-turning pattern featuring the historic vessel's original red and white colors. She made bold brushstrokes across the body of the ship, drawing swirling curves and flowing shapes from stern to bow. According to a statement from 14-18 NOW, Auerbach’s piece, titled Flow Separation, is a “visualization of the physics of fluid dynamics,” and its design “incorporates the movement and behavior of water.” The ship is part of a larger series of dazzle ships co-commissioned with the British contemporary visual art festival, Liverpool Biennial, and is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. It will be stopping at different spots in New York Harbor throughout the summer and the public can enjoy trips aboard the vessel for free on weekends through May 12, 2019. Use this link for the full schedule and tickets.
Public Art Fund has announced a series of projects to be on view this summer across New York City. First to be unveiled on June 9 will be Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s Hot Dog Bus, an overstuffed converted Volkswagen Microbus that will distributing free hot dogs at multiple Brooklyn Bridge Park locations. Hot Dog Bus uses the visual language of Wurm’s Fat Car series and adapts the concept behind his 2015 Curry Bus, presented during his solo show at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, to serve one of New York’s defining street foods. The project continues Wurm’s interest in eliding the notions of “viewer” and “participant” by creating sculpture that invite action and involvement. Another mobile and participatory installation, Tauba Auerbach’s Flow Separation, will follow Wurm’s on July 1. Inspired by the angular and energetic “dazzle” camouflage used on ships in World War I and culling upon her experience as a sign painter, Auerbach will redesign the exterior of the historic fireboat the John J. Harvey with abstract patterns inspired by experiments with fluid dynamics. The boat will be anchored at various points around the harbor and will even offer free public trips onboard. The project was co-commissioned with 14–18 NOW, a British arts organization working to commemorate the centenary of WWI. The final project to be unveiled this summer will be B. Wurtz’s Kitchen Trees, opening on August 7th. Wurtz has devised “trees” of common kitchen products growing to as much as 18 feet high and 12 feet wide, designed to respond to the specific environment of City Hall Park. The whimsical sculptures not only play with the sense of value in art by leveraging everyday objects, but also highlight Wurtz’s concern with recycling and reuse. Kitchen Trees will be Wurtz’s first public commission.
In Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, a new exhibition by Ai Weiwei presented by the Public Art Fund, the artist and activist takes on the security fence as a medium for urban intervention, with New York City as his canvas. Some of the works might be easy to miss, like the chain link fences suspended over a gap between two buildings on East 7th Street, just steps from Ai’s old basement apartment. But others, like the monumental Gilded Cage at Doris Freedman Plaza in Central Park, or Arch, nested under the Washington Square arch, are unmistakable and grandiose. The exhibit, which spans the five boroughs, opens to the public on October 12 and is comprised of more than 300 pieces. Like the Robert Frost poem it references, the show examines the tension and contradictions surrounding borders and those excluded by them, inspired by Ai’s concerns about the global refugee crisis and related geopolitical conflicts. Many of the city sites selected by Ai, once a New York immigrant himself, also have close ties to histories of immigration, protest, and free speech. For the artist, the exhibition became an opportunity to utilize the existing infrastructure of New York City as a scaffolding for public art. From lampposts and flagpoles as well as on the public bus shelters dotting the city, Ai has installed a range of two- and three-dimensional works that combine fencing material with his cell phone shots of border checkpoints and refugee encampments. The images the exhibit has hung from lampposts throughout the city are delicate portraits stamped out of a black mesh fabric, and feature archival shots of Ellis Island entrants, notable refugees and immigrants like Nina Simone and Emma Goldman, and contemporary faces of displacement and exile, such as Iraqi refugees. Ai Weiwei also resurrects some familiar metaphors from his oeuvre, especially the birdcage. It becomes an inhabitable monolith in Gilded Cage, with turnstiled arcades forming the outer perimeter and a clearing in the middle that frames the sky and the surrounding foliage of Central Park. In Arch, the birdcage that blocks the Washington Square arch is shot through with a mirrored portal shaped into a silhouette of two people, a reference to a Duchamp work that also suggests how cages can become doorways, or hint at the inevitability of human migration despite the barriers that are erected. Circle Fence, which rings the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, is grand on a different scale, essentially forming a low 1,000-foot-long soft fence that doubles as a collective hammock and seating. Here the fence does not resemble a jail or barrier, but the mesh netting stretched over the fence posts still blocks movement even as it invites the public to lie down and relax. More quotidian fences clamp around the columns of Cooper Union’s facade or swing as pixelated banners from the Lower East Side’s Essex Market. Their unobtrusive presence echoes Ai Weiwei’s belief that fences tap easily into existing structures of power and don’t require a separate infrastructure to be erected. Or, as Public Art Fund’s Chief Curator Nicholas Baume stated, Ai's works show "what we have thought was open can suddenly be closed.” The full list of works and venues for Good Fences Make Good Neighbors can be found here. The exhibit will be on view through February 11th.
Thanks to the Public Art Fund (PAF), New Yorkers will be able to find art from Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in all five boroughs, commencing October 12. Titled Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, Ai's work falls on PAF's 40th anniversary and features 18 sculptural installations, 200 two-dimensional works, and 100 documentary images. Ai, who studied Western modern and contemporary art in New York City as a student in the 1980s, reflects current global geopolitics and international migration in his work. Some of Ai's installations, such as a metal cage under the Washington Square Arch, are site specific, whereas others, like a new series of more than 100 images found on JCDecaux bus shelters and newsstands, as well as LinkNYC kiosks, are not. With regard to the latter, the documentary photographs will be paired with quotes from poets and writers and will touch on global displacement. These will appear in all five boroughs, as will 200 lampposts banners that have images of displaced people on them. As for the other large-scale sculptural installations, these can be found at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park; the Unisphere, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens; 48 East 7th Street, East Village; 189 Chrystie Street, Lower East Side; 248 Bowery, Lower East Side; The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Astor Place; Essex Street Market, Lower East Side; and ten JCDecaux Bus Shelters in Downtown Brooklyn and Harlem. “Ai Weiwei is unique in having combined the roles of preeminent contemporary artist, political dissident, and human rights activist in such a prominent and powerful way,” said Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume in a press release. “In many ways, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is the culmination of his work to date. It grows out of his personal experience of ‘otherness,’ his distinguished practice as both artist and architectural designer, as well as his intensive research on the international refugee crisis and [the] global rise of nationalism. At the same time, his long and formative history with New York has been deeply influential in the development of this exhibition.” Ai will create variations on the fence—from metal chain link to synthetic netting—to form interventions that adapt to their sites, as if growing out of urban space and changing how we relate to the fence and our environment. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors runs through February 11, 2018.
Anish Kapoor has brought a liquid sculpture to the Brooklyn waterfront for his latest work of public art. Descension is a hot tub katabasis, an endless swirly into the depths of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The water, sculpted by a funnel, dialogues with the continuous flow of the East River and traffic over the Brooklyn Bridge in the near distance. At 26 feet in diameter, the piece, presented here by the Public Art Fund, builds on Kapoor's longtime exploration of emptiness (and could also be seen, depending on your politics, as an apt metaphor for the state of the world today.) Up close, its foamy surface—and gurgling machinations—feels peaceful. For safety reasons, a thin white rail encircles the piece to prevents toddlers and Pomeranians from drowning, but also creates distance between the visitor and the void. A video of the installation can be seen below.
Previously, Kapoor has installed Descension in Italy, India, in Paris's Seine, and in the garden at Versailles. Here in Brooklyn, “Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us," said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume, in a prepared statement. "With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world. In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.”
This is the nonprofit's fifth year in Brooklyn Bridge Park, but it's not the first time the Public Art Fund has exhibited work by the London-based artist. In 2006, the group brought Kapoor's Sky Mirror, a 35-foot-wide concave mirror, to Rockefeller Center."The fact that this is free [to visit] matters," Kapoor said, at a press conference yesterday. "We believe that art liberates us, opens us, frees us, to have it as open access is a terrific thing," a particularly rich observation from an artist who's unapologetically hoarding the blackest black on earth. Descension is on view through September 10 at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1.
For her Public Art Fund piece in Central Park, artist Liz Glynn has spilled the contents of a super-rich enclave out onto the sidewalk for all to enjoy. Open House's cast concrete furnishings, laid out on a public plaza at the southeast corner of Central Park, reference the interiors of one of Manhattan's most famous Gilded Age mansions. Notably, the now-demolished home of politician William C. Whitney featured a 1,000-person ballroom, the kind of mahogany-and-silk fantasia where Ellen Olenska might have caught Newland Archer's eye. Gracing a corner just eight blocks north of the exhibition, the Stanford White–designed home was a lavish gathering place for New York elite. Turn-of-the-century society mingled in its ballroom, one of the grandest private spaces in the city, luxuriating on real and reproduction 18th-century French furniture. Glynn, who's based in Los Angeles, reproduced 26 of those couches, chairs, footstools and graceful entryways in concrete—a material of the people, she told The Architect's Newspaper, that she chose for its associations with working-class modernist housing, particularly in the work of Le Corbusier. The spacious outdoor interior (what Glynn calls her "ruin") was informed by archival research into the gracious homes of old New York, when (like now) the gap between the haves and have-nots defined the production of space in the city. The work reflects too on the decadence of today's ultra-rich, whose tastes shape the New York skyline into wastebaskets and all-glass everything. By turning the private into public, Glynn questions how social class in the city is performed and displayed. "In putting together this exhibition," said associate curator Daniel S. Palmer, "we asked, 'How can we make something that engages the entirety of the plaza, and make this an embodied architectural space?'" Although it officially opens tomorrow, New Yorkers were already making the most of their new living room. A woman was lounging in one of the armchairs, applying chapstick, while another scooped her pug up onto a couch to chat with a friend. To withstand three seasons' worth of weather but allow for design flexibility, the GFRC concrete was blended with an acrylic polymer that allowed Glynn to imprint patterns into the cushions, while decorative wood details are rendered evocatively in the same material. The furniture retains the elegance of its Whitney predecessors, but at 500 to 900 pounds apiece, they are theft-proof and durable enough for ten thousand butts. Open House is on view through September 24 at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, at the northwest corner of 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.
British artist Anish Kapoor will bring Descension to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The work is as dystopic as its name implies: A dark whirling funnel of water will descend down into an abyss, adjacent to the East River at Pier 1. Descension sees Kapoor's desire to coalesce negative space and energy finally realized, coming in the form of a 26-foot-wide whirlpool. To create the dark look, an all-natural black dye will be used to evoke the sensation that the water's journey is never-ending. Perimeter railing that traces the pool's circumference will stop audiences plunging into the illusory chasm, but will allow them to peer over, perhaps creating a swirling sinister phone-swallower in the process. The concept was first conceived in India (Kapoor's country of birth) at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale that ran from 2014 to 2015. There he exhibited the work as an interior piece, though later he furthered the idea in Versailles, France, exhibiting Descension as an outdoor work. Descension has also made an appearance in Italy where it was exhibited inside the Galleria Continua, a disused cinema theater. “Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us. With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume in a press release. “In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.” The Public Art Fund—a non-profit arts organization which receives public and private support—is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. "We’re thrilled that Anish’s newest work will be a highlight of this anniversary season, more than a decade after his outdoor debut with us," added Baume. Descension will be on view from May 3 to September 10 this year.
When almost everyone stumbles blindly through the city, glued to a phone, a new series of digital works from the Public Art Fund is asking New Yorkers to pause their small screens to look at art on bigger screens around the city. Now through March 5, the nonprofit will display Commercial Break at roughly four sites: the Brooklyn Barclays Center's circular LED marquee; the Westfield World Trade Center mall in lower Manhattan; hundreds of porn-free LinkNYC kiosks; and on one of the most famous screens of all—a Times Square billboard. Notably, this is the organization's first show to simultaneously display work in all five boroughs. Commercial Break's antecedent is the Public Art Fund's Messages to the Public, a series that ran on a Times Square lightboard through most of the 1980s, displacing the usual ads. Similarly, the 23 participating artists in this show interrogate the omnipresence of digital imagery, especially advertising, and its effect on real spaces, online and off. The Public Art Fund's website is the final venue—work by Casey Jane Ellison is paired with showtimes and more information about each IRL site.
Instead of staring out the window into the gloomy morass of this weekend's unrelenting rain, head over to downtown Brooklyn tomorrow for the opening of a real—and really small—public forest. Artist Spencer Finch has set up a 4,000-tree glen in MetroTech Commons for his latest solo exhibition, Lost Man Creek. In partnership with Save the Redwoods League, Finch has recreated a 790-acre chunk of California's Redwood National Park at 1:100 scale. The height and placement of the thousands of scaled-down redwoods, ranging from one to four feet tall, mimic the topography of the real redwood forest (although the trees there reach heights close to 400 feet). “Through both a scientific approach to gathering data—including precise measurements and record keeping—and a poetic sensibility, Finch’s works often inhabit the area between objective investigations of science and the subjectivity of lived experience,” said exhibition organizer and Public Art Fund associate curator Emma Enderby, in a statement. “In a world where climate change is at the core of societal debates, Finch’s installation in the heart of one of the most urbanized neighborhoods of the city presents us with the universal reality of nature’s power to awe and inspire, and the importance to remember and protect such wonders.” Visitors will be able to view the triangular patch of nature from a platform or at ground level. A custom-rigged irrigation system will keep the redwoods alive (although they'll probably get more water here than in their native, water-deficient California). Like the old-growth redwoods, Lost Man Creek will be around for awhile: The exhibition opens tomorrow and remains on view through March 11, 2018. The work is reminiscent of Michael Neff's suspended forest at the Knockdown Center, although Neff prefers his conifers dead.
Amidst the trees of MetroTech Commons in downtown Brooklyn, a vibrant architectural terrain has been formed. In an installation piece called Just Two of Us, Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse has situated eighteen large, multi-colored sculptural forms in the wooded public space. Sponsored by the Public Art Fund, the work creates a surprising show of colors and a form that walks the line between sculpture, architecture, and painting. With a spray can rather than paintbrush, Grosse creates layers and gradations of saturated neon colors on the three-dimensional fiberglass-covered plastic shapes set in nature. Irregular sculptures with deeply cut valleys, they transform the sparse environment. Built up in rough towers, they hint at an otherworldly form of shelter. Grosse’s temporary art installation creates a polychrome landscape where light, depth, and color invite viewers to explore the public space. Just Two of Us is on view at the MetroTech Commons plaza until September 14, 2014.
In one of the more off-beat installations to come from New York's Public Art Fund, Tatzu Nishi’s Discovering Columbus will feature the statue of Christopher Columbus—of Columbus Circle fame—as the center piece to a pedestrian living room environment. Scaffolding is already rising around the statue's pedestal and will eventually culminate in the platform holding a cozy lounge that will open to the public on September 20.