Posts tagged with "public art":

Iron Men Invade New York

Starting today, New York’s Flatiron District will host British artist Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon, a temporary installation of 31 life-size human figures.  The nude figures, modeled after the artist, will be situated at ground level, on rooftops, and even as high as 57 stories.  The installation, sponsored by the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art., is the group’s first project to extend beyond the boundaries of Madison Square Park. “It’s really about New York City,” says Debbie Landau, President of the Madison Square Park Conservancy.  “Some of the locations were selected because they’re landmarks and other because they’re beautiful architecture, but they’re all places that people are going to want to stop and look.” Four of the figures will be on the ground but most will be on rooftops, situated as close to the edge of buildings as possible.  More prominent locations include icons like the Flatiron Building, the New York Life Building, and the Empire State Building.  The figures are designed to inspire viewers to pause and consider the skyline and the city as it surrounds them. Event Horizon is an adaptation of a Gormley project of the same name installed in London in 2007. The figures were placed in a similar fashion in the project’s earlier incarnation on building rooftops and other provocative locations. The 31 figures used for the New York installation are the same figures employed previously in London. While the formal opening date for the exhibition is today, many of the figures have been installed and on view since last week.  A map and accompanying list of locations can be found on the project’s website.

LEGO Fixer Upper

As most readers of this blog know, we've got quite a thing for LEGO building blocks, which is why Jan Vormann might just be our new favorite artist. The Berlin-based, Bavarian-born Vornmann takes the little plastic blocks as one of his favored media, which would be awesome in its own right. But then, pushing the architectural boundaries of LEGO blocks, uses them to fix real-life cracks in the city, beginning to reverse the urban decay as only a child could. He took a recent visit to New York, as we found out from NewYorkology today, though he's also made repairs across the globe, including some beautiful work in old Tel Aviv and fixing World War II wounds in Berlin. Better still, Vormann's playful aesthetic can't help but inspire those around him, creating a truly cosmopolitan experience. As he recounts on his own site of his trip to the Five Boroughs,
At first I strolled through the concrete jungle alone, loosing myself over the endless amount of walls that need a fix. Later on, a dynamic Crew formed, which consisted of 3-40 year-olds, who wanted to shape up the city with me!
We'd love to see what he could do down at the World Trade Center or to help Moynihan Station get off the ground.

A Public Art Plan for the Derby City

Today the City of Louisville and the New York-based public art organization Creative Time unveiled a long-term plan for funding and developing public art across the city.  The Louisville Public Art Master Plan recommends the creation of a Committee on Public Art (COPA) that will oversee the city’s current art collection, manage a granting system for new public art and advise future city leaders on the continued creation and development of new art. Funding for the new master plan will come from grants and donations. Additional funding will come from developers via an innovative approach to commercial development code. Currently developers of projects exceeding 100,000 square feet are required to set aside a percentage of their construction budget for various public amenities like benches, fountains, landscaping, and trails. Under the new plan, there will be an option to direct that money to a new public space art fund. In turn, the fund can then provide support to non-profit arts and neighborhood groups who want to commission artists to create art for public spaces. The funds will be dispensed through a granting process administered by the new COPA. "Developers will recognize that this new model makes good business sense," said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson in a statement prepared for the plan’s unveiling. "Their money will support the arts and, in turn, they don't have to pay for the long-term maintenance of benches or a fountain." Aside from addressing funding, the plan also tackles important issues like conservation and maintenance, thoroughly cataloging the current collection and procedures for commissioning and de-accessioning pieces. Creative Time won the master planning contract a year and a half ago over two other finalists in a RFQ released by the City. Principal Meredith Johnson traveled to Louisville numerous times during the yearlong preparation of the study and sees the finished master plan as a reflection of the city’s unique spirit and arts community.  Using both short and long-term approaches, the plan provides both a vision of the arts as well as practical steps both the City and community can take to achieve those goals.

Full Steam Ahead

While the preservation experts at Beyer Blinder Belle are typically busy making old structures look new with new components that look old (like, say, the signage at a certain skyscraper), BBB's designers also from time to time design from whole cloth. Or whole bronze, as is the case for a pair of murals created for a recent lobby renovation to 230Park Avenue, the former Helmsley Building that caps Grand Central. Last Monday, Monday Properties president Anthony Westreich, the building's owner, dedicated the murals along with local pols Scott Stringer and Daniel Garodnick and Landmarks Preservation Commission chair Robert Tierney. Weighing more than a ton, the murals—which were drawn by Chris Ludlow and sculpted by Joan Benefiel under the direction of BBB—hark back to the building's history as the former headquarters for the New York Central Railroad, depicting a train speeding by with the distinctive profile of 230 Park in the background. See more photos from the dedication and shop after the jump.

NOLA Lights Up

For the last three years, AIA New Orleans has invited teams of architects and artists to takeover "hidden" spaces within the city, transforming them with the latest design tech and hopefully testing the boundaries of this at-times-ephemeral place in the process. One of installations at this year's DesCours comes from the Chicago team of Marshall Brown and Dana Carter. (Brooklynites may know Brown from his work on the anti-Ratner UNITY plan for the Atlantic Yards.) The duo has focused their gaze on the heavens, where they are harnessing the sun—through photovoltaic, of course—and transforming it for the weeklong nightly event into a constellation in no less a celestial place than Charles Moore's Piazza d'Italia. More illuminating photos after the jump, and if you happen to be in town for the event, let us know what you think about this or any of the other 13 projects.

The City of Benchly Love

It would seem Philadelphia has a bit of a seating fixation going on with this year's Design Philadelphia event. First there was the new Veyko subway chairs, and now—as you've noticed if you've been out wandering the streets of town during October—more than a dozen seats/sculptures scattered about, all cut from DuPont Corian, all created by prominent local designers. Reading-based C.H. Briggs, the interiors supplier, decided it wanted to celebrate Philly's top designers and the city's popular public spaces by commissioning them to create site-specific seating from that most ubiquitous of building materials. The results will only officially be up through the end of the month, though Briggs is currently negotiating with the city and certain institutions to donate the pieces so that they might find a permanent home—not unlike those damn cow parades that were so popular earlier in the decade, though at least these seats have a far greater purpose. You can see a slideshow of all 14 here.

Waterfalls of Revenue

Though some people were more than happy to see Olafur Eliasson's New York City Waterfalls dry up a few weeks ago, one person who will dearly miss them is the mayor. Standing beneath the Scandinavian artist's massive mirror installation at P.S. 1 yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced with great excitement that, according to a study undertaken by the city's Economic Development Corporation, the falls generated $69 million in economic activity, exceeding the $55 million initially expected and countering criticism that the $15 million project was wasteful. "Art also has the power to invigorate neighborhoods, as you know, and catalyze new investment" Bloomberg said. "That's why we've made investing in culture a major part of our efforts to diversify the economy." He added that this would be especially important in the wake of the collapsing financial sector--long the bedrock of the local economy. While it will likely never reap the dividends Wall Street once did, it is good to know we can put our art to work for us, rather than simply embracing art for art's sake. Other findings of the report include:
  • An estimated 1.4 million people visited the Waterfalls in the 13 weeks it was up this summer. Of those, 79,200 would not have visited the city or otherwise extended their trip, and 590,000 people from the metropolitan area made special trips to view the falls. They drew people from all 50 states and 55 countries.
  • As part of the administration's plan to revitalize the Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts, 23 percent of visitors, or 320,000 people, visited those areas for the first time. Of them, 44,500 were residents of the five boroughs.
  • About 95 percent of all out-of-town Waterfalls viewers participated in at least one other cultural attraction during their stay. About 43 percent of visitors attended one or more Broadway shows; 42 percent attended a visual art, photography, or design museum; 34 percent visited a history museum; and nearly 27 percent viewed a public art installation other than the Waterfalls.
  • Circle Line Downtown offered between 25 and 30 tours a day, with sell-outs on many tours, particularly during its evening cruises. Between June 26 and October 13, more than 213,000 passengers bought tickets for Circle Line Downtown's Waterfalls tour, Zephyr and Shark boat tours that all went past the Waterfalls.
  • The Public Art Fund's official Waterfalls website, nycwaterfalls.org, received more than 512,000 visits between January and October 2008. More than 6,000 photographs were posted to Flickr, 1,200 blog posts were written, and 200 videos with 235,000 viewers uploaded to YouTube. [Here's a personal favorite because, you know, who doesn't love models.]
  The full report [PDF] Video of the press conference