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.
Posts tagged with "public art":
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.]
In an ongoing endeavor to blend public art, architecture, and urbanism by artists Siyuan and Hwee Chong, The Doors Project subversively projects a series of doors onto public spaces in Singapore, reflecting the struggles of the urban poor and underprivileged. But while commenting on despair, the real message is one of faith, hope and empowerment. “We wanted to make a statement about life, and jolt people to think,” the artists said in an interview at Yolo. “Instead of following the light at the end of the tunnel, why not carry our own lights, and create our own doors! It’s really about rolling up our sleeves, and creating the opportunities we want for ourselves.” Inspired by true stories of people they’ve met—from a boy mastering kung fu to protect his mother from his abusive father to an Indian worker desperately raising money for his son’s surgery—the installation provokes the viewer to re-imagine boundaries as thresholds, opacity as reflection, and life’s roadblocks as opportunities. “These people, despite much hoping and praying, are faced with countless roadblocks that take them nowhere,” they said. According to Siyuan and Hwee Chong, people should take a giant leap of faith, work hard at what they believe in most, and open their own “doors” in life. “It’s just more meaningful that way.” Expect more public installations from Siyuan and Hwee Chong in the near future. “’Doors is meant to be an ongoing project. There’s no end date to it. For as long as we keep collecting stories of hope and despair, we’ll keep projecting people’s ‘doors’ onto roadblocks.” Read the full interview with the artists at Yolo or check out The Doors Project's website for more.
We already knew that DDG Partners could pull together a classy "product," as they say in real estate parlance. But now the group has upped the ante by teaming with Yayoi Kusama, the 83-year-old Japanese show-stopping pop artist. Kusama's blockbuster at the Whitney has already spilled over into cross-marketing at Louis Vuitton with her ubiquitous dots climbing up the facade of their 57th Street Store. Downtown the artist's Yellow Trees will sprawl across protective netting on construction scaffolding at DDGs 345meatpacking, the group's new 14th Street project which could rival their comparatively quiet 41 Bond Street project. 345 promises to make a much splashier entrance, but with a hand laid Danish Kulumba brick facade, it could be Bond Street's equal in craftsmanship. The public won't see the results until September 30th, when the Kusama curtain will fall and the Kulumba will be revealed.
On any typical day, the pedestrianized Rua Luís de Camões in the small Portuguese town of Águeda is a charming place to experience the city, but this July, a cultural festival called AgitÁgueda (Stir Agueda) rolled out the green carpet, suspended hundreds of colorful umbrellas overhead, and invited residents to see the city in a whole new light. All through July, many of the town's narrow streets were covered in parasols suspended from strings attached to buildings, casting a playful array of shadows on the street below and gently swaying in the breeze. Photographer Patricia Almeida called the sight "Umbrella Sky" on her visiting, capturing the amazing density of umbrellas shimmering overhead. In addition, lampposts were striped with matching colors, pink, yellow and green benches lined the thoroughfares, and a green turf layer was rolled out in the middle of the street, making the whimsical scene on the street resemble a direct snapshot from a Dr. Seuss children’s book.
“What if mobile, self-sufficient living units were the building blocks for future cities?” asked New York artist Mary Mattingly. She explored this question in her Flock House Project, experimenting with migratory living solutions through fantastical inhabitable installation art. The project is going on throughout the city this summer. Mattingly’s series of four “Houses” have been traveling around the five boroughs since June. Individually titled the Microsphere, Terrapod, Chromasphere, and Cacoon, they are now on display at the Bronx Museum, Snug Harbor, the Maiden Lane Exhibition Space, and Omi Sculpture Park in Ghent, NY. In response to an era of increasing environmental, political, and economic instability in which one seventh of the world’s population—that’s one billion people—is continuously “on the move,” the Flock Houses offer a new mobile framework through which urban dwellers can experience these issues. These small structures provide minimal amenities for the artists who have chosen to inhabit them for two-week spans, emphasizing an alternate system for urban flexibility and decentralization. Up to two participants sleep in hammocks, while a combination of solar and bicycle power, along with levers and cranks, power the dwellings. Container gardening is utilized to demonstrate the possibilities of ultra-small-scale self-sufficiency, and water is collected from rain run-off. The structures were built collaboratively through a “gift culture,” using reclaimed materials and construction site leftovers. They are also modular, and can be snapped together to from a flock, or tagged onto the side of an existing structure to feed of of its utilities. Together, these methods reflect the combination of autonomy and community interdependence that is at the heart of the Flock House Project. The project offers workshops, events, and narrated cell phone tours. To find out more about visiting the Flock Houses, check out their website.
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's actually a plane. On the corner of 60th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, a six-seat, twin-engine Piper Seneca aircraft balances on two vertical steel posts positioned at the end of its wings, playfully rotating on its own axis and likely confusing visitors to Central Park. After doing a double take on the surreal scene, find a plaque located nearby and you'll learn that this mysterious aircraft is actually an installation by artist Paola Pivi, whose portfolio includes scenes of zebras on snowy mountaintops and arenas of screaming people. Working with the Public Art Fund, an organization dedicated to present artists’ work throughout New York City, Paola Pivi opened her newest installation featuring the Piper Seneca, How I Roll last Wednesday, June 20th. Like much of Paola Pivi's work, How I Roll challenges the onlookers to broaden their imagination and perceive something that's usually inconceivable in reality. Frozen in a continuous loop-the-loop at ground level, the aircraft dismisses its own identity as a flying machine, floating and spinning effortlessly on the edge of the park. By ignoring its own gargantuan weight and the context of flying high in the sky, plane becomes an object, a sculpture, perhaps finally linking industrial design and sculpture. Just take a look at it spinning in the video above, or, even better, get your own in-person dose of surrealism by visiting Pivi's How I Roll any time day or night through August 26th.
On the night of June 3rd, 2012, Tom Fruin’s newest sculptural artwork, Watertower, was installed on a rooftop near the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO. The colorfully constructed Watertower features approximately a thousand pieces of foraged plexiglass mounted on a steel skeleton. The monumental patchwork of colored glass also includes an interior and exterior ladder and an operable roof hatch. The great amount of plexiglass used for the piece, which measures 25 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter, was collected all throughout New York City. The use of recycled materials is not new to Tom Fruin Studio, as Watertower is the fourth scavenged artwork of the "Icon" series dedicated to creating tributes to the world’s architectural and sculptural icons using reclaimed materials. Now a part of Brooklyn’s skyline, Watertower will be illuminated from within, allowing it to be visible from Lower Manhattan, FDR Drive, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges at night. Starting June 7th 2012, Fruin’s sculptural tribute to the New York water tower will glisten with daily light shows by digitally-controlled light sequences from dusk till morning for a year.
From May 29th through June 4th, sheets of vinyl will be layered over the intersection of State and Adams streets in Chicago’s Loop in a site specific installation entitled Color Jam. The public installation, commissioned by Chicago Loop Alliance through their Art Loop public art program, is the work of multimedia artist Jessica Stockholder. The exhibit will be an ongoing piece of public art, covering sidewalks, buildings. and the intersection itself with contextually abstract shapes and colors. The work will be on display from its “official” completion on June 5th through September 30th of this year. Reminiscent of Archigram’s colorful photo-montages, the single published rendering of Stockholder’s installation layers her distinctive use of bright and contrasting colors over a grayscale image of the street. The distinction between neon green, orange, pink, and blue along with bright red and green are distinctive, characteristic of much of Stockholder’s work. Color Jam is the third annual outdoor installation of Art Loop, following Tony Tasset's 30 foot sculpture of his own eye in Pritzker Park in 2010 and Kay Rosen’s “Go Do Good” movement in 2011. As a coalition of local businesses and organizations, the group acts as a Business Improvement District for the loop, installing art as a means to “serve the public, promote creative expression, and create value for Loop businesses and institutions.” Because Art Loop installs independent art rather than projects specific to any one building or architectural design, the work elaborates on the privately owned public space theme to "privately owned public art" (POPA). In this incarnation, POPA comes with a brand image, hyped video, and blurbs about football fields of vinyl.
While Chicago Loop Alliance brags about what it claims to be the “largest public artwork in Chicago history” with 76,000 square feet of vinyl, or according to the Chicago Loop Alliance, about 2,100 ink cartridges worth of color from a home printer. Looking closer at the image, and a bit beyond the hype, not much is shown about how the art will actually look or how it will fit into the cityscape. How will shadows crossing over colors alter the vibrant hues angling over facades? What will cars look like driving across patches of neon blue that lack painted crosswalks? How will vinyl be placed on the gothic detailing of the building at the South-West corner of the intersection? These questions only heighten the anticipation for Stockholder’s work, certainly more so than Chicago Loop Alliance’s flashy yet empty promo video: Stockholder, well known for her mixed media work, describes herself on her website as “interested in and concerned about the nature of the objects.” Taking the site as an object of interest, her approach in Color Jam contrasts with the regularity of Chicago’s streetscape and quiet palette of greys and browns more typical to an urban context. Still, geometries respond to the lines of streets and buildings, relationships which correspond to Stockholder’s personal understanding of space:
The surfaces of walls and objects are full of pictorial potential. The surface of an object purports to let us know something about its mass. This something is sometimes accurate, or informative about the nature of the thing we are apprehending, and sometimes the surface tells another story entirely—sometimes the surface generates a kind of fiction. It is this possibility, inherent in materiality, to generate fiction that I am enamored with.If you can't wait to see the Stockholder's installation, you can watch the construction process stream live online.