Starting Memorial Day, Chicago's Millennium Park will host the U.S. debut of a bright array of public design projects, many of which appeared at the 2012 Venice Biennale. Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good will feature 84 works, including more than a dozen for Chicago and several that also appeared in Venice. One Venice Biennale carryover will be the slew of pull-down banners created by Brooklyn design studio Freecell and Berkeley-based communication design firm M-A-D. An “outdoor living room” for Millennium Park, designed by Wicker Park firm MAS Studio, is among the new installations. The space will serve as an outpost for the exhibition, according to MAS director Iker Gill, shading visitors with a canopy of more than 700 moving acrylic panels with a lively color palette. Local woodworker John Preus of Dilettante Studios will salvage lumber for the wood support structure and seating. The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events brought the design contest to Chicago for its first U.S. showing. Programs will take place at the Cultural Center, in the pop-up pavilion in Millennium Park, and at various offsite locations through September 1. Here’s a video of Freecell and M-A-D’s banner project from the biennale:
Posts tagged with "public art":
Yesterday, brilliant sunshine, a gentle spring breeze, and 65 degree weather set the scene for the inauguration ceremony of Orly Genger’s remarkable new art installation, titled Red, Yellow and Blue, in Madison Square Park. As you navigate your way through the park you will find yourself surrounded by a fanciful scene, as vibrant undulating walls arch into blossoming trees, spill onto lush lawns, and unfurl all around you. “Orly Genger has woven her magic throughout the park,” said Mayor Bloomberg, who spoke at the inauguration ceremony. The large-scale project was installed as the latest chapter of Mad. Sq. Art, a public contemporary arts program presented by Madison Square Park Conservancy that aims to revitalize the park as well as the surrounding community. “[Red Yellow and Blue] is both innovative and environmentally sustainable. It is projects like this that are a big part of what gives New York City our identity and attracts visitors to our city,” said Bloomberg. The intense physical labor that was involved in the crafting of the massive rope-walls that enliven the park’s verdant lawns is as incredible as the end product. Genger and her team of assistants spent 9,000 hours in a Brooklyn warehouse tirelessly hand-knotting 1.4 million feet (equaling almost twenty times the length of Manhattan) of re-purposed nautical rope that was collected from lobster fishermen working along the New England coastline. The thick bands of hand-knotted, or “knit,” rope were painted using 4,000 gallons of red, yellow, and blue paint, and then transported to Madison Square Park where they were layered one on top of the other using steel supports. Three individual structures were then fashioned on-site to respond to the landscape of Madison Square Park. Genger’s work communicates an interesting paradox. The artist implemented a historically “feminine,” domestic practice of knitting to create burly structures that dramatically transform the park and immediately weave visitors into this dynamic outdoor environment. “For Madison Square Park I wanted to create a work that would impress in scale and still engage rather than intimidate… The tradition of knitting carries the sharing of stories and the installation draws on that idea. The repurposed rope brings with it the stories of different locations and by knotting it, a space is created for the words and thoughts of viewers in New York City to complete the work, creating a silent dialogue that waves along,” explained Genger in a statement. Red, Yellow and Blue is the New-York based artist's largest work to date. The installation will be on view at Madison Square Park all throughout the summer, until September 8, 2013, after which Genger will re-imagine the installation to fit Massachusetts’s deCordova Sculpture Park.
In June a full-block surface parking lot in downtown Flint, Mich. will house a ghostly, floating home — a monument to the ravages of the foreclosure crisis and a nod to the revitalization public art projects like this one hope to further in the one-time home of General Motors. London-based Two Islands took first place in the inaugural Flat Lot Competition, which comes with a $25,000 prize, for their design, Mark’s House. The story of an imagined Flint resident named Mark Hamilton, whose family loses their home to foreclosure, Mark’s House takes the form of a Tudor-style house clad in reflective panels and set atop a mirrored pedestal. The structure can hold 1,500 gallons of water to be used for cooling mists for visitors to the structure’s canopy and event stage on hot summer days. The design-build competition, launched last fall by Flint Public Art Project and AIA-Flint, called for a temporary structure that would take up no more than eight parking spaces, and would support public programs in a city whose population peaked in 1960. Flint’s Mayor Dayne Walling hopes the design community will help transform public space in the ailing former industrial town, and international buzz for the competition appears to have been a good start. Organizers said they fielded 221 entries from dozens of countries. Three other projects received honorable mention: Stage a Lot by KSE Studio (Sofia Krimizi and Kyriakos Kyriakou) of Brooklyn, NY; Building Bodies for Work by Wes Janz, Tim Gray, and Andrea Swartz of Ball State University; and AC.H2O by Mike Ting of British Columbia, Canada. These projects and 17 others will populate an exhibit alongside Mark’s House to open April 12 during the Flint Art Walk. The built Mark’s House pavilion will open June 14.
Seattle is about to get a new public art installation on the walls of SAM, the Seattle Art Museum. The museum that created the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park—one of the best public art spaces in the country—has commissioned artist Doug Aitken to install a new reflective wall on the corner of their building at First Avenue and Union Street. Aitken calls the wall installation Mirror and it is meant to "reflect the energy and movement of the city." The piece consists of a large LED display wrapping the building's corner facade and up the building's primary wall with scenes slowly filmed by Aitken of "images, surfaces, locations and landscapes." These digital views will then be reduced to minimal compositions and alternate with empty landscapes and dense urban scenes of the Seattle region. Further Aitken has programmed the piece to be "conditioned and programmed by local "weather information, pedestrian traffic flow, atmospheric conditions and traffic density. The digital facade Aitken imagines will be "like choreography with no music" and allows the images to "define the composition and patterns in real time and into the future."
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is expanding its programming to the streets of Fort Greene. Brownstoner reported that the multi-arts center is proposing a series of temporary murals in front of an empty lot at 31 Lafayette Avenue, across from one of its performing arts spaces, the Howard Gilman Opera House. BAM plans to launch the program with a mural by Brooklyn artist KAWS, and then invite other local talent to display their art. There will also be space made for more of David Byrne’s sculptural, letter-shaped bike racks akin to the ones he designed in front of the Peter Jay Sharp Building. Community Board 2 will vote on the art wall tomorrow.
Next week, the fifth iteration of the Times Square Alliance's Valentine Heart installation will officially open to the public. Brooklyn-based Situ Studio revealed their installation, Heartwalk, in January, which will be built with salvaged boardwalk boards from from the Hurricane Sandy-stricken Rockaways, Long Beach, Sea Girt, NJ, and Atlantic City. The Situ team has been busy removing hardware from the weathered planks and planing them for a smooth surface. The pre-assembled pieces will be taken to Times Square for assembly, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on February 12 at 11:00a.m. According to a statement from Situ Studio, "Visitors can enter the installation itself and literally stand in the heart of the world’s greatest city."
New York-based artist Leo Villareal is creatively illuminating the constructed form. In Madison Square Park, Villareal's LED light-up geodesic dome, Buckyball, stands tall, undamaged but unlit after Hurricane Sandy. The Madison Square Park Conservancy told AN that the lights are expected to be back on tonight. And soon, Villareal also plans to light-up a far larger construction on the West coast: the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The 30-foot tall Buckyball consists of two nested spheres created by a series of adjoining pentagons and hexagons resting atop a large platform. Each sphere is built using LED tube lights over a metal frame. Random mathematical sequencing allows the tubes to change color and create over 16 million different shades across the geometric sculpture. The spheres will be on view in Madison Square Park through February 1, 2013 and is typically lit up from dusk till dawn. The sculpture was powered down during the recent storms. Meanwhile, Villareal is also working on his next project titled The Bay Lights. This light installation will cover the San Francisco Bay Bridge, creating light patterns visible to residents on either side. Meant to celebrate the bridge's anticipated 2013 East Span completion, 25,000 white LED lights will be placed along its 1.8 mile span and climb up the 500-foot high steel cables. Shifting light patterns will be displayed from dusk until midnight for two years, visible from afar but hidden from crossing drivers. The grand lighting scheme is planned to open in early 2013.
Now this looks like a good idea: a group of architects and engineers called Urban Air are trying to turn a billboard next to LA's 10 Freeway into a suspended bamboo garden. The technique: they remove the signage, install planters and then the bamboo, and then install water misters and sensors to make sure it's properly irrigated. Voila! If it's successful with the first sign the group wants to create similar gardens across the country. The ambitious plan is being crowd-funded through Kickstarter and with 46 days left has raised nearly $6,000 of its $100,000 goal as of this publishing. You can check out their Kickstarter campaign and contribute here.
If you ride your bike along Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn on your way to or from Williamsburg, you may have noticed a splash of color along the bike lane’s barrier. Similarly, the Flushing Bay Promenade in Queens got some color recently in efforts to bring art to the public. The New York City Department of Transportation, New York Cares and the Community Affairs Unit organized the event in collaboration with two Brooklyn-based artists Deanna Lee and Kara Lynch. On 1,200 feet of the Flushing Avenue barrier between Williamsburg Street and Washington Avenue 30 volunteers executed Lynch’s vision to display 18th and 19th century wallpaper patterns. Her idea was to merge contrasting realms by decorating public space with typically private design. In Queens, Lee also lead a group of 30 volunteers in painting 700 feet of the promenade’s barrier with a blue and green wave like pattern. Her work juxtaposes ocean like patterns against an urban backdrop. The projects, which will remain for 11 months, are part of the Barrier Beautification project initiated by NYCDOT’s Urban Art Program in 2008. Currently the Barrier Beautification project has transformed twenty barriers, by and for the public. Each spring artists can submit their work for a Barrier Beautification site and are eligible to receive up to $2,500 for project expenses. For more information visit the DOT’s website here.
This Syracuse mural project, S.Alt City, was sent to AN over the summer just as we were preparing our live coverage of the Venice Biennale and went unreported in the paper. But the mural by Cheng and Snyder Architects is a smart project that deserves more attention than it has received. The mural depicts a local waterside salt barge that alludes back to Syracuse's industrial heritage but it also imbedded QR codes throughout the work. These QR codes are becoming more ubiquitous in the world of art making and were in fact used in the Russian pavilion at the recent Venice Biennale in a grandiose and very expensive installation in their pavilion. In Syracuse the young architects cleverly and cheaply utilized the QR codes to send smart phone viewers to links for contemporary arts organizations in the Syracuse region. The connection between the old industrial fabric of the city and the contemporary use of codes and cultural facilities and organizations to help bring the city back to its former livability and economic strength. It is exactly the type of "art" young architects should be engaged with today. The mural is in downtown Syracuse on a west facing wall of Lemp jewelers (on Fayette Street just west of Warren). The mural is permanent and was funded by a seed grant from the Syracuse University School of Architecture (one of Dean Mark Robbin's last initiatives before he left his deanship ) as well as a larger grant from the Connective Corridor.
Even as Berlin loses green space, the city remains Europe’s greenest with more than 400,000 trees. One of the grandest, a 100-year-old chestnut tree towering over Montbijoupark, was the center of Tree Concert, a public art project that took place in September to bring light, literally, to the city’s diminishing greenery with a glowing LED sculpture circling the trees trunk. The project was a combination of audio and visual elements. As chestnuts fell one after the other onto a series of internally lit shapes covered with polymer membranes placed around the tree, ambient sounds emanated from hidden speakers creating a symphony for park goers. Tree Concert was put on by the ad agency Proximity BBDO Berlin and the environmental organization BUND for Environment and Nature Conservation Germany, inspired by recent years when more trees have been cut than planted. The groups also wanted to draw awareness that trees are not being properly maintained because of a lack of funding. Thus they created an easy way to donate through text messages from passing visitors. The design was executed by Gang of Berlin with music from Ketchum Pleon PR.
Paris-based artist Jonas LeClasse’s Imaginary Doors (And the People Who Pass By Them) is as simple as it is beautiful. Amidst the continuous grit and grime of dirty, graffiti-filled urban walls in St. Dennis—a working-class Parisian suburb—LeClasse draws doors using chalk, provoking viewers to slow down and reflect. He then invites viewers to pause for a portrait with the “door.” Perhaps it is a gateway of sorts, a simple delineation of inside and outside, or the fact that the portrait always captures the subject within a double-frame (outside of the the door yet inside of the picture). In any case, LeClasse achieves poetry using subtle architectural gestures. All photos by Jonas LeClasse. [Via Wooster Collective.]