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