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.
Posts tagged with "Public Art":
“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.
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.
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.