Posts tagged with "public art":

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Detroit Still Awaiting Its Very Own RoboCop

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.
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Lawrence Argent’s Red Rabbit: Kreysler & Associates

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.
  • Fabricator Kreysler & Associates
  • Designer Lawrence Argent
  • Location Sacramento, California
  • Status Complete
  • Materials Aluminum, crushed glass surface, custom stainless steel cable and hardware
  • Process 3-D modeling, CNC fabrication
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.
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Inside Archtober “Building” of the Day #24: Subway Vent Benches

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.
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High Art: Kim Beck’s The Sky Is the Limit/NYC

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."
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Pictorial> A Nature-Dominated Office in Denver

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.
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Sculptures by Sol LeWitt Stand Tall In Lower Manhattan

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.
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DUMBO Gets “Treehouse”

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."    
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Quick Clicks> Icelandic Sculptures, Painted Trees, Carnegie, and Parklets

Icelandic Borders. Today at 5PM, "the largest temporary public art exhibition... in New York City Parks history," titled BORDERS, will be unveiled at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. The UN-conscious installation is a collaboration between the Parks Commissioner, an Icelandic Ambassador, and Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, consisting of 26 androgynous, life-size sculptures. Painted Trees. Gerry Mak of Lost at E Minor adoringly shares the curious images of the vibrantly painted trees around Colorado by artist Curtis Killorn. Because of the unexpected colorings, these trees do not look like they came from land, but from the sea. Green Carnegie. We were worried when gbNYC reported that the good ol' Carnegie Hall is planning to undergo a massively ambitious, full-spectrum retrofit this year. But don't worry, the architecture firm Iu + Bibliowicz, which is in charge of all this, swears to preserve "the building’s distinctive 19th-century architectural grace notes" while making dramatic green building improvements. Parking to parkletting. The SF Examiner reports that more temporary public spaces, called 'parklets,' are exploding throughout San Francisco parking spots. The public battle between those who want to park cars and those who want to seat customers out on the sidewalk seems to have a clear winner-- the Department of Public Works is stamping out countless approvals for businesses to have their own parklets despite complaints.
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Quick Clicks> Vital Arts, Freeway Down, Arguing Art, and Metro Card Art

District Review. Blair Kamin reports on the Dallas Arts District - the nation's largest contiguous urban arts district - and finds the architecture inspiring but the street life a bore. In an area where Pritzker-winning architecture abounds, can a new park and residential development create urban vitality? Freeway Down. NPR reports on the mainstreaming of highway teardowns across the country. With skyrocketing infrastructure costs, many cities find removing a mega-road is more affordable while preserving neighborhood character and spurring new business. Public Art Confidential. WNYC takes a look at the story of public art in New York and the controversy that can follow as times and values change. Dueling sides argue the benefits of provoking thought on difficult subjects versus giving artwork an appropriate stage to do so. Among the eight most contested statues in New York is the long-toppled King George III once located in Bowling Green. Multi-Use Metro Cards. Subway Art Blog has a pair of recent galleries showing how you can reuse your old Metro Cards, either by adding to your wardrobe or creating collage artwork.
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Space Available on the High Line

This Friday, three massive billboards will debut along the High Line, but instead of blasting consumerism, the art installation by Kim Beck hopes to provoke visitors to think of public space. From the High Line: "Kim's work will encourage park visitors to reconsider the water towers, exhaust pipes, HVAC systems, roof decks, green roofs, and other building elements that are integral components of the cityscape views along the High Line." Called Space Available, Beck will install three "skeletal" blank billboards. Experiencing the signs from different angles can provide the illusion of three dimensionality, when in fact each sign is really flat.
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Towering Beacon Awaits Approval in Miami Beach

You won't see German artist Tobias Rehberger's proposed Lighthouse installation at this year's Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach, but if the city approves the project next week, the towering beacon could be lighting up the night sky by the end of 2011.  To be located in South Pointe Park at a cost of $500,000, the 55-foot tall Lighthouse is comprised of stacked cylinders and would represent Rehberger's first public commission in the United States. [ Via The Art Newspaper. ]
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A Thousand Drops of Light in Madison Square Park

Upon first stumbling across this massive array of 2,000 LED lights encased in standard light bulbs in Madison Square Park a few weeks ago, I thought holiday decoration had come a little early to the Flatiron's front yard, but as shadowed figures began moving across the field of light, it became apparent that this installation by artist Jim Campbell was something special. Situated on Madison Square Park's Oval Lawn, Scattered Light consists of a three-dimensional grid of light spanning roughly 80 feet by 16 feet and standing 20 feet tall. When viewing the installation from the front, programmed LED lights flicker in sequence to create the illusion of shadows walking through the park. Moving around the artwork causes the image to blue and abstract as the grid moves in and out of focus. Scattered Light video by specialkrb / YT: Scattered Light video by Craig Dorety / Vimeo: The installation is one of three public art projects by Jim Campbell on display in Madison Square Park. Here's more information about the other two from the Madison Square Park Conservancy:
Broken Window, the second installation, will be situated near the main entrance to Madison Square Park at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. An array of LEDs encased in a glass-brick wall (70”h x 70”w x 10”d) will create illuminated images that appear to glide across the glass plane, reflecting the movements of the city around them and echoing the aesthetic poetry of the Scattered Lightinstallation. Situated on the eastern lawn adjacent to Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th street, Voices in the Subway Station, the third installation, will feature LEDs encased in two dozen glass tablets (14” x 18” each) arrayed across the lawn at ground level. The light pulses emanating from each tablet will be rhythmically modulated to represent the voices of individual travelers as recorded in conversation on a subway platform, combining to create a visual symphony rendered in light.
Each of the three installations offers an abstracted experience drawn from the urban environment that's at once distant but right at home and it's worth an evening stroll through the park to experience them for yourself. The installations will be on display through February 2011. Interview with Jim Campbell from Switched: Voices in the Subway video by Craig Dorety / Vimeo: Broken Window video by lessthanrita / YT: