Figment NYC is an annual celebration of arts and culture that takes place on Governors Island from June 9-10. Now in its sixth year, Figment provides New Yorkers with an interactive space to participate in the arts, with volunteer artists collaborating on works that transform the environment and the public’s perception. With visual art, music, performance, and installation works, the event will provide the community with a forum for emerging artists to engage with the public. This year installations include Face of Liberty by Zaq Landsberg, a 1:1 replica of the face of the Statue of Liberty that one can sit and climb on, and FY-Langes, a digitally fabricated structure made of foam designed by Columbia GSAPP students. As an all-volunteer organization, Figment seeks to provide an antidote to the commercialization of art—built on community rather than commerce, the event hopes to create a shared experience for the public, free of market-based constraints. To make this possible Figment relies on the contributions of community members, so please consider volunteering or making a donation.
Posts tagged with "public art":
Public art enthusiasts, rejoice: An online project called Mural Locator is committed to map and catalog public murals around the world. MuralLocator.org has information on murals in 40 countries, although the U.S. accounts for the bulk of the data so far. Not surprisingly most are clustered in major urban areas. Philadelphia leads the pack, boasting 76 so far. Tags in Alva, Oklahoma and Ely, Nevada attest to the diversity of locales mapped by mural locator contributors. A typical user-submitted entry includes location data, artist information and an image of the work. But it’s the description and historical context that make this tool an asset. As the catalog grows, Mural Locator could serve as a digital museum for public art worldwide.
When preliminary designs for the third and final section of the High Line were revealed, the designers presented several options including flowerbeds and amphitheater seating for the Tenth Avenue Spur, an offshoot of the park that stands above the intersection of 10th Avenue and 30th Street. The design team’s aim is to make the Spur one of the main gathering spaces in the park. Now, with the proposal of a massive installation by artist Jeff Koons calling for a suspended locomotive over the park, the Spur may become exhibition space as well. Koons’ Train, a full-scale replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive, would be suspended above the High Line by a crane. The sculpture would be constructed from steel and carbon fiber, weighing in at several tons. Visitors to the park could stand directly below the 70-foot-long sculpture and stare up at the locomotive as it spins its wheels, blows its horn, and shoots out steam several times daily. Train has some history with the High Line; there was an effort in 2005 to install the piece in a plaza at West 18th Street and 10th Avenue but the space available would not permit installation. In 2008, Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Michael Govan began studying the feasibility of installing the piece in conjunction with LACMA’s expansion, and talks with the City of Los Angeles are ongoing. But while LACMA managed to haul a 340-ton rock from a mountain quarry through the streets of LA, it seems their Train may have left the station. Both the museum and Koons have expressed support for installing Train at the High Line regardless of the outcome in LA, so the possibility of a trans-continental Train still exists. Arnold, a German fabricator, is conducting engineering and fabrication studies, taking into account public safety and cost. The piece is estimated to cost at least $25 million to build and install. Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line, explained on the Friends of the High Line Blog, “Our top priority is to build and open the rail yards section of the High Line. In order for this idea to become a reality, we would need to determine a way to safely integrate Train into the rail yards design, and find private support from a single funder to build it.”
A series of sculptural bus stops will be installed throughout Orlando as part of an effort to bring art into the community. Entech Creative, a production engineering company, teamed up with Walter Geiger, of Walt Geiger Studios, to design and produce the “Cascade” series of shelter structures. Each bus stop has four to five uniquely shaped panels ranging from 15 to 16 feet high. Their form is suggestive of a waterfall, undulating to provide commuters with shade and shelter. Entech has extensive history in the theme park industry. In fact, Entech developed the technology that made these seamless panels possible for use in theme park installations. Each panel is coated with a fiber-reinforced polymer composite that gives strength and a finished appearance to a honeycomb structure underneath, a process that represents a breakthrough in composite engineering. The designers hope to the collaboration will bring art and architecture closer together.
This surreal construct is one of the many public art projects by South Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa, whose love of found objects and anti-institutional approach to art is known internationally (he once hung strings of sparkling garbage around Seoul Olympic Stadium). The 10-story tall installation called Doors is comprised of 1,000 reused, brightly colored doors transformed into a rustic and visually indulgent object evoking a pixelated and painterly effect from afar, perhaps reminiscent of an abstract Klimt painting. Alternatively, the installation can also be read less glamorously as a mirror to Seoul's increasingly ad-dominated cityscape where Doors resembles a jarring collection of ads to the point of irony. (Via Colossal.)
Earlier this year, over 2,700 people ponied up cash through the online crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to erect a statue of the 1980s icon RoboCop in Detroit, Michigan. Plenty has been said—both good and bad—about this quest to "uphold the awesome," whether the statue will be a good or bad thing for the city struggling to regain a solid footing. Curbed Detroit recently checked in with Brandon Walley of Detroit Needs RoboCop and learned the statue could be ready to install as early as the summer of 2012. While a site for the statue must still be secured, organizers are currently awaiting the original RoboCop model to be shipped from Hollywood before the statue can be dipped in bronze. Considering that the 1987 American sci-fi action film was literally set in a near-future (you could say present-day) Detroit, and given the themes of resurrection, memories, and conflicted policies with logical fallacies, the statue likely holds more than just a nugget of nostalgia to the supporters.
A 56-foot-long aluminum sculpture leaps into Sacramento’s new airport.Whether they need a reminder that they’re late (for a very important gate!) or welcome a distraction from the hassle of modern travel, visitors to Sacramento’s International Airport will not miss Denver-based artist Lawrence Argent’s Leap sculpture. Completed last month in the new Corgan Associates-designed Terminal B, the 56-foot-long red rabbit is suspended mid-jump in the building’s three-story central atrium. An oversize “vortical suitcase” placed in the baggage claim below completes the piece. Argent worked with California-based Kreysler & Associates, a specialist in the design, engineering, and fabrication of large-scale sculptural and architectural objects, to build his vision while meeting the airport’s safety requirements. The team originally planned to build the sculpture with glass fiber composite, but fire codes would have required additional engineering studies to prove it was flame retardant. Additionally, the building was going to be largely enclosed by the time the sculpture was ready for installation, making it impossible to bring the sculpture, which is 14 feet wide and more than 16 feet high, into the building in one piece. Argent had designed the sculpture as a form composed of hundreds of flat triangles. “The piece lent itself to aluminum as long as we could figure out how to fabricate the pieces,” said Bill Kreysler, who founded the fabrication company in 1982. Working with Argent’s digital renderings, Kreysler’s team translated the design into Rhino, creating what he calls a semi-monocoque structure with a double-skin of thin aluminum on a thin-ribbed interior aluminum frame. The decorative surface is composed of 1,446 CNC-cut triangles with side dimensions ranging from 1 inch to 3 feet. Etched with a numbering system, the triangles were placed using laser-projected grid lines. “I think that one of the things that is often overlooked in this digital fabrication world is that there’s a sense that because computers are controlling the process, the human element is reduced, but in many ways it’s increased,” said Kreysler, who limited the number of people working on the piece to ensure consistency. The rabbit’s interior structure was assembled into 14 pieces of varying diameters in the shop, then transported to the airport for assembly. The exterior aluminum triangles are textured with crushed glass to create a velvet-matte surface and float 1½ inches above the interior shell with aluminum standoffs. Even in the light-filled atrium space the sculpture’s suspension system appears minimal. The concentrated loads coming from seven custom wire rope suspension cables with swage fittings are received by the rabbit’s internal steel armature. Aluminum transverse members then distribute these loads from the steel armature to the monocoque aluminum shell. Unveiled on October 6, the new $1.3 billion airport addition is the largest construction project in Sacramento’s history. The rabbit is the centerpiece of the 14 art installations—more than $6 million worth—commissioned by the city’s Metropolitan Arts Commission and planned for completion in the coming years.
Even though Hurricane Irene blew through on August 27th without flooding the subways, which were rendered prophylactically still and silent for a day, a pesky summer storm in 2007 dumped so much water onto the M and R lines that they were forced out of service. Governor Spitzer took immediate action to mitigate the problem, and boldly mobilized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Department of Transportation to do something about it. Solving a range of engineering problems while at the same time providing a streetscape element with some wit and whimsy, Rogers Marvel Architects created banks of raised stainless steel grates that rise up into an undulating wave of slats and hammered speckled side walls. There are three typical grates designed for specific water overflow depths. They can be combined in a left- or right-hand fashion to create the continuous surface over the structural grates below. In case you were wondering, they won’t stop a truck, but happily no Louboutin heels snapped off here! The AIANY Design Awards jury liked it too, giving the project an Honor Award, citing: “This is a really utilitarian solution infused with public art and design innovation.” For the info on the tour of tomorrow’s Building of the Day click here: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Just after 4:00p.m. Sunday afternoon, cryptic messages visible for miles around Manhattan were written in the sky, spelling out, among other things, "Last Chance." Out of context to millions in the streets below, the messages were slightly unnerving and deliberately vague. Curious speculation as each giant letter was traced into the sky led many to wonder what the message actually meant: An ad? A terrorist's warning? A persistent marriage proposal? It turns out the display was part of an art project by Kim Beck called The Sky Is the Limit/NYC and sponsored by the Friends of the High Line. The Pittsburgh-based artist and professor, already familiar to High Line fans for her recent empty-billboard-inspired Space Available project, had a series of messages drawn straight from advertising billboards written in an otherwise cloud-free sky. Messages included "Everything Must Go," "All Sales Final," and "Space Available." Beck referenced The Wizard of Oz's ominous sky-written "Surrender Dorothy" as a mirror to our own unease over the economy. She also noted the opportunity for positive change in creating community: "When, in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, a crowd gathers to piece together skywriting, the spectacle unites disparate groups, as they cluster together to find meaning in the urban landscape. I am looking for folks to become a part of it by taking pictures." A common sight around New York, certainly, was the skyward-staring cluster of pedestrians. While The Sky Is The Limit/NYC is undeniably a sobering commentary on the current state of America's economy, Beck also wanted to ensure a poetic quality to the display's open-ended presentation and fleeting quality of fading smoke. While Beck began with the likes of "Last Chance," the project ended on a brighter note with "Now Open."
It might be the latest trend in creative modern eco-office design or, more likely, it's a tongue-in-cheek reminder to avoid letting work take over your life. In the typical modern office with row upon row of geometric cubicles, the closest a worker might get to nature is a small potted plant, a faraway glimpse out a window, or a rainforest background on his or her computer. But a new installation in downtown Denver quite literally breaks down this man-made environment in an effort to promote outdoor activity and a connection to nature during the workday. Boulder-based architecture firm Tres Birds Workshop created the five-part installation called Natural Systems Domination in July from old office furniture covered in live plants, evoking an office—perhaps abandoned by workers who left to find nature—where nature has found a way back into the work environment. From the architects:
Domination implies taking over. If we had it our way, natural systems would dominate entirely. Natural systems operate in perfect efficiency. Humans are both part of those natural systems and also somehow separate (by choice). The further we stray from connections with nature, the more alien we become.The installation is part of sustainability-minded Keen Footwear's "Recess Revolution Tour" and represents a collaboration with Green Roofs of Colorado and the Fabric Lab. All of the office equipment from chairs and tables to an old copy machine was purchased from second-hand stores and was donated back after the installation was complete. Plants were also reused in the community. (Via TreeHugger.) Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
Last week, Mayor Bloomberg and a cadre of arts enthusiasts from the Public Art Fund gathered at City Hall Park to officially open a retrospective on conceptual artist Sol LeWitt titled Structures, 1965-2006. Comprised primarily of sleek white cubes and forms and one colorful Splotch, the installation of 27 sculptures represents the first outdoor retrospective of LeWitt's work as well as the largest public art display at City Hall Park, billed by Nicholas Baume, chief curator for the Public Art Fund, as New York's "museum without walls." Joined by Baume and LeWitt's wife and daughters, Bloomberg strolled through the park grounds to take in the striking white works of art, many of which have never been publicly displayed in the United Stated before. LeWitt's Structures, with their ruggedly geometric forms, seem at once a seamless part of the surrounding urban and natural landscapes. “City Hall Park and its environs in Lower Manhattan offer a perfect location to reconsider LeWitt’s structures,” said Baume in a statement. “His geometric, white forms contrast with the organic, picturesque park setting, while they also resonate strongly with the surrounding Manhattan grid and the stepped profiles of its signature skyscrapers. The later work, with its complex and irregular forms, anticipates the vocabulary of more recent architecture, including Frank Gehry’s undulating new tower at 8 Spruce Street.” A variety of modular and open cubes, the breakthrough pieces for the artist in the 1960s and 1970s, are scattered about the park, their scale defying the outward simplicity of their form. Complex Forms, with sharp angular edges recall many recent Manhattan skyscrapers such as the Bank of America Tower, and LeWitt's late, colorful work--Splotch 15--defies categorization. Take a look at many of the sculptures in the gallery below. The exhibition is ongoing through December 2, 2011.
If you’re in DUMBO this week and catch a glimpse of a shirtless man hanging off a tree, don’t freak out. VAMOS Architects has curated an installation of photographer Robert Holden’s series The Treehouse, as part of New York Photography Week. The large-scale photographs depict semi-nude members of a rainforest commune, set against industrial buildings, rooftops, and scaffolding in DUMBO. The series is meant to let New Yorkers contemplate an alternative lifestyle, according to the artist’s statement. “It shows a commitment to live a life away from chaos, from monetization and find happiness carrying our existence where the highest value is not money or objects that define our status and class,” writes the website Yatzer, which declares that Holden’s subjective documentary approach “makes us reserve an immediate ticket through Kayak.” The Treehouse consists of 49 photographs tucked away in dark alleyways and splashed onto the sides of tall buildings. VAMOS worked with over 20 entities, including Brooklyn Bridge Park, Two Trees Management, St Ann’s Warehouse and Powerhouse books, to get permissions for the installation. The series is on view through May 31, 2011. Upon closing, the installation, which was designed to be zero-impact, will be disassembled and donated to other art projects and schools. "Sometimes architecture is not about building," said Evan Bennett, principal of VAMOS. "We hope the installation's brief life in the neighborhood inspires people to experience their place in the city in new and thoughtful ways."