Posts tagged with "public art":

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Washington, D.C., turns recycling trucks into art

In an effort to encourage locals to reduce landfill waste and pollution, Washington, D.C. has relaunched a beloved program that wraps recycling trucks in brightly-colored art. The “Designed to Recycle” initiative, put on by the Department of Public Works, selected 15 local artists this year to design graphic artwork for the trucks this summer. Last week, the city released the first two of the newly-wrapped trucks and will continue to launch them in weekly pairs through September 6. The program, which started in 2015, also plans to rewrap and “refresh” five of the trucks that received the treatment during the inaugural year. The project is funded by the Commission on the Arts and Humanities and is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s commitment to expanding the creative economy in the city. “Through the Design to Recycle Project, we are able to support and showcase the talent of our local artists, further enhance the visibility of the city’s recycling efforts, and add to the creative landscape of the District in all eight wards,” said Angie Gates, interim director for the commission, in a statement. As one of the country’s leaders in sustainability and efforts to address climate change, D.C. has worked tirelessly to advance its zero waste goals and introduce green building laws into its current construction market. Here are the 15 selected designs along with the artists: Waste Not by Nicole Hamam; Recycle Now by Michael Marshall Design; Urban Jungle by Jackie Coleman; Nurturing Nature by Kofi Tyus; Untitled by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann; Untitled by Dean Kessman; Recycled Fish by Carly Rounds;  Evolution with an “R” by Gordon Steven Spencer Davis II; Mapping by Santiago Flores-Charneco; Inform, Reduce, Recycle by Minsoo Kang & Andre Sanchez-Montoya; Untitled by Anne Masters; Pop District by Sarah, James & Parvina Gilliam; Recycled Flowers by John Gann; Nuestra Terra I recycle DC by Nicolas F. Shi; and Fair Chard Value by Michael Crossett.
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Sculptural concrete canopies cool a San Antonio public park

As implied by its name, Confluence Park overlooks the meeting of San Pedro Creek and the San Antonio River in San Antonio, Texas. Located about three miles south of downtown, the park acts as a gateway for the historic Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River. The $13.7 million project includes an education center and extensive landscaping that illustrates the diverse biomes of Texas. But what most visitors will remember about the 3.5-acre park are the nearly 30-foot-tall concrete petals that emerge from the ground to form a sprawling overhead canopy. Twenty-two of these sculptural panels are clustered together to form a single, large, open-air pavilion. Another six are paired together to form three smaller gathering areas. In addition to providing relief from the South Texas sun, these panels are shaped so that when it rains, they channel water into an integrated system of rainwater collection, filtration, and dispersal. All of this reinforces the stated mission of the park, which is to act as a destination for recreation while teaching important lessons about environmental science and sustainability. To that end, the design team sought to create a composition of architectural and landscape elements that used the same kind of logic found in nature. Ball-Nogues Studio, a Los Angeles–based design practice, established the park’s conceptual master plan. From there, the design was developed in close collaboration with the landscape architect Rialto Studio, Lake|Flato Architects, and Matsys, a San Francisco–based design practice that specializes in the development of new approaches to architectural design and fabrication. That particular skill set was critical in the development of the park’s concrete. Given the structural gymnastics involved, the project’s structural engineer, Architectural Engineers Collaborative (AEC), became an integral part of the design team as well. Although petals of steel, fabric, and wood were all considered during the design process, concrete was ultimately selected for its durability and permanence. Even though the majority of funding for the project came from private donations, Confluence Park functions as a public park, and so vandalism and long-term resiliency were key considerations. Despite the apparent complexity of the assembled petals, the design only required three unique petal shapes. These three forms were refined digitally using Grasshopper and Rhino. The resulting computer files were then provided to Kreysler & Associates and fed to their large 5-axis CNC router at their factory in California. The resulting Styrofoam “positives” were then used to manufacture the fiberglass “negatives” that were shipped to San Antonio to be used as formwork for the petals. Each of the park’s 28 petals was cast on-site but not in place. Given their complex geometry, a portion of the petal had to be exposed during the pour. This resulted in two contrasting concrete textures: a smooth finish where the concrete was poured into the fiberglass form, and a broom finish where the concrete was left exposed. As with many other aspects of the project, a custom solution was required here, too. A special eight-inch broom was used to apply the finish consistently to the petal’s curved form and to emulate the flow of water down the petals. After the concrete had cured for several days, the petals were lifted into their final positions. As with any tilt-up concrete structure, this was the moment when the highest stresses would be placed upon the petals. Adding to the complexity of the erection process was the fact that the petals had to be assembled in pairs: neighboring petals were joined to one another with two steel pin connections to form a determinant structure. The result of all this effort is a unique landmark on the south side of San Antonio. Despite the weight of the concrete petals—individual petals weigh between 15 and 20 tons each—the resulting structure feels remarkably light. The space between individual petals contributes to this feeling of weightlessness, while acrylic lenses embedded in the concrete add a bit of playfulness to the overall composition. In addition to illustrating the possibilities of contemporary concrete construction, Confluence Park demonstrates what is possible when a highly collaborative interdisciplinary design team works with an educated client to create something truly unique. It is only fitting that a park built to celebrate the confluence of diverse bodies of water be created by a confluence of diverse design professionals. Pavilion Design Matsys Landscape Architect Rialto Studio Structural Engineer Architectural Eng. Collaborative MEP CNG Engineering, PLLC Lighting Designer Mazzetti Energy Consultants Positive Energy Waterproofing Consultant Acton Partners This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of Texas Architect magazine.
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San Francisco’s Instagram-famous Color Factory is headed to New York

Explosions of summer color are coming to New York City as San Francisco’s sold-out Color Factory pop-up installation is set to brighten Manhattan's streets starting on August 20. A 20,000-square-foot interactive exhibition from artist collaborative Color Factory will open in SoHo and will be accompanied by 20 “secret” color installations hidden across Lower Manhattan. The original Color Factory installation opened last August in San Francisco for a four-week run that eventually expanded to last nearly eight months. That show brought together a star-studded roster of local and international artists to create an exploration of color that went viral on Instagram, and Color Factory is looking to replicate that success in New York. Instagram-friendly installations and pavilions have exploded in recent years, and lauded firms from AGENCY to Snarkitecture have all jumped on the bandwagon, delivering selfie walls and all-white takes on the form. Let's not forget pop-ups like the Museum of Ice Cream, either, soon to be joined by its long-lost cousin the Museum of Pizza. The California version of Color Factory involved multiple explorations of color in light works, several monochrome rooms (currently all the rage), rainbow decals, fabric, balloons, and technicolor plastic furniture. The New York version seems like it will keep to the same vein; visitors will be able to experience 16 rooms, including a bar filled with mocha in every color of the rainbow, a light-up dance floor, a room full of ombré balloons, a room where participants can walk through a guided experience to discover their own “personal color," an enormous full-room ball pit, and custom illustrations from New York artists. After guests are finished at the exhibition, they can pick up a map to the 20 “secret experiences” Color Factory has hidden across the island, and the group says that the installation will be inspired by the colors of New York. Manhattan Color Walk from Color Factory on Vimeo. Color Factory is no stranger to New York’s streets. Manhattan Color Walk, a survey of colors from 265 individual Manhattan blocks, recently wrapped up at the Cooper Hewitt. The free installation was on display through June and adorned the museum’s terrace, garden, and walkways with colored bands pulled from New York’s most unique and ubiquitous colors. Color Factory staff walked and biked from West 220th Street all the way down to Battery Park and translated one color per block into a stripe at the museum and released an accompanying guide. General admission tickets for Color Factory are now on sale for $38, and the exhibition will be open at 251 Spring Street after August 20 from Thursday to Tuesday, 10:00 AM through 11:00 PM.
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After causing a storm in the U.K., Baby Trump is coming to America

If one Baby Trump balloon caused a commotion in the U.K., what will four do in the U.S.?

Americans may soon find out as activists announced this week that they have raised enough money through a GoFundMe campaign to create not one clone of the 20-foot-high Baby Trump balloon but four, and send them on a “border-to-border” tour of the United States.

As of Wednesday, the campaign to bring the original balloon to America had raised $23,695 in five days from 1,059 people, more than five times the $4,500 goal. So much money poured in that the campaign is no longer accepting donations.

“Your response has been tremendous,” the organizers said on their website. “We have met our initial GoFundMe goal for purchase of BT! The additional funds will be used to support the @babytrumptour.”

The American tour is a joint effort of Didier Jiminez-Castro, a social worker and activist from Hillsborough, New Jersey, and Jim Girvan of Branchburg, N. J., part of a group called the People’s Motorcade, which stages weekly protests at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N. J.

On Wednesday, Girvan announced the plan to “deliver” four Baby Trumps.

”We’ve gone from a single baby to expecting quadruplets,” he told NJ Advance Media.

The organizers say on their fundraising site that they were inspired by the group in the United Kingdom that launched the first Baby Trump balloon to protest President Donald Trump and his policies during his visit last week to England and Scotland.

“Baby Trump is not just a piece of humor,” Jiminez-Castro told NJ Advance Media and NJ.com. “It is also a symbol of the administration. It’s symbolic of the children that are in cages. It’s a symbol of racism, and we know that he hates to be ridiculed.”

The design has been credited to a British activist named Leo Murray, who came up with the idea for the balloon, and a graphic designer named Matt Bonner, who works for a firm called Revolt! and executed the concept.

The balloon depicts Trump as a pouting orange baby in diapers with tiny hands and his signature combover, clutching a smartphone. According to  its Crowdfunder campaign, the goal was to portray Trump as a “big, angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands.”

Tens of thousands of people marched in central London as the balloon flew over Parliament Square, and it later popped up in Scotland. Trump told The Sun in London that it made him feel "unwelcome.”

The American organizers initially sought to raise enough money to bring the original Baby Trump balloon to New Jersey and fly it near Trump-owned golf courses there, including the one in Bedminster. After the outpouring of support, they expanded their plans.

“Given your generous response, we will be purchasing more than one Baby so we can go coast to coast, border-to-border,” they stated online. “Our goal is to make Baby Trump available to various locations around the country. Dozens of locations have reached out to us. Therefore, we are building a Team to manage the tour to make sure that Baby gets as much exposure as possible.”

Apart from making a political statement, the balloon is a successful combination of graphic design and temporary art, which literally rose out of events and served as a visual marker and magnet for thousands of peaceful protestors.

It is one of the most publicized works of art since Kristen Visbal’s Fearless Girl statue appeared overnight in lower Manhattan just before International Women’s Day in 2017. Like Fearless Girl, it became a social media phenomenon.

Much of its success was due to the design. The face is a shade darker and redder than the rest of the body, but the skin is lighter around the eyes, a reference to Trump’s penchants both for tanning and ranting. The bean-shaped body has a definite stodginess to it—a jab at Trump’s weight. The smartphone signifies his Twitter habit.

The organizers say that the Baby Trump balloons they launch in America will be just like the first one.

“In acknowledgment of the creative investment made by our compatriots in the U. K, “ organizers said, “we are working closely with them to use their design and not a knock off.”

They told donors that all of the funds raised are being deposited in a dedicated account to be used for purchasing the balloons and covering the cost of permits, security, publicity, and “babysitter gear,” among other expenses.

The organizers are currently seeking suggestions for areas and events to take the four balloons. According to NBC, activists from California, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Utah have already expressed interest.

Supporters can follow the group’s progress on a Facebook page and on Twitter. If all goes according to plan, the activists say, the balloons will be ready by mid-August.

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Nation’s largest public art project funded via Kickstarter and launching in September

The largest public art campaign in U.S. history features 52 artist-designed billboards and will commence in September in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, thanks to more than 2000 backers across 52 Kickstarter campaigns. The publicly-funded campaign is part of the 50 State Initiative, organized by For Freedoms, a project sponsored by non-profit arts service organization Artadia. The 50 State Initiative also amasses more than 200 institutional partners and 250 artists to produce “additional billboards, lawn signs, town hall meetings, and special exhibitions to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation around November’s midterm elections,” according to a statement from the organizers. Kickstarter Director of Arts Paton Hindle explained that he was pleased to help the For Freedoms team with their first step. “At their core, both For Freedoms and Kickstarter seek to make art an integral part of society. Having all 52 projects succeed on Kickstarter is an affirmation that the greater global community believes in the power of art to spark dialogue and participation.” The billboards will tackle nationwide topics such as democracy, religion, sexual orientation, expression, and systemic oppression. Through the launching of the 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms hopes to create “a network of artists and institutional partners," as well as to “model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.”
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Bjarke Ingels is crowdfunding a floating mirrored ball for Burning Man

Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange of the Bjarke Ingels Group (and BIG Ideas, the studio's in-house think-tank) have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for its Burning Man 2018 project. ORB is an 80-foot-wide reflective sphere that, if funded, would bring an elevated mirror, wayfinding symbol, and “temporal monument” to the Black Rock Desert’s Playa in Nevada. ORB borrows the Earth's form (at 1/500,000th of the scale) to create a 360-degree mirror that will reflect the sky above and goings-on of the Burners below. Although the ORB will be inflatable to reduce the project’s environmental impact, the piece would be hoisted into the air via a 30-ton, 105-foot-tall steel arm. BIG partner Jakob Lange writes that the installation is a “tribute to mother earth & human expression,” and the piece will seamlessly blend into the desert sky at night as the festival lights dim. Below, the ORB will create a “light shadow” and help visitors navigate the festival's transitory metropolis, the 50,000-strong Black Rock City. The studio is looking to raise $50,000 before the start of this year’s Burning Man, which will run from August 26 through September 3. Backers can pledge to receive engraved stainless steel orbs of varying sizes, with a 40-inch-wide ball going to those who pledge $4,000 or more. Ingels is no stranger to the mind-expanding arts and culture festival, having thoroughly documented his prior trips on Instagram. The ORB will share Playa space with this year’s headlining temple from Arthur Mamou-Mani: the spiraling Galaxia, a timber tower inspired by the movement of planets, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. No word yet if Anish Kapoor will set his sights on the ORB.
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AN tours the 2018 Young Architects Program installation at MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1’s 2018 Young Architects Program (YAP) installation is set to open for the summer on June 28, and The Architect’s Newspaper took a behind-the-scenes look at the winning entry from Minneapolis-based Dream The Combine. Husband-and-wife partners Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers of Dream The Combine, and Clayton Binkley of ARUP were on hand for a guided press preview of the steel-and-glass Hide & Seek, now installed in PS1’s courtyard. This year’s YAP installation is highly technical and stark at first glance, but is still responsive at the human-scale and cuts a striking figure as the lighting conditions change overhead. Eight intersecting elements made of black steel–Carruthers co-owns a metal fabrication shop in Minneapolis–stretch across PS1’s open space, creating a layered experience for museum-goers. Each end of the horizontal structures on the ground-level are capped with enormous suspended mirrors, which move both in response to the wind as well as visitor participation; the mirrored-panels have had handles welded to their back. The bending, constantly shifting viewpoints and reflections of Hide & Seek are designed to introduce a measure of spontaneity and unpredictability to the concrete-walled courtyard. Mirrors mounted high above the ground break the visual constraints of the PS1 courtyard and provide glimpses of the surrounding neighborhood to passerbys and vice versa. The installation’s central structure, a catwalk installed just past PS1’s entrance, turns into an infinitely-reflecting hallway as the mirrors at its ends move in the breeze. It also provides shade from the harsh summer sun via a stretched overhead canopy. As Newsom and Carruthers explained, the black fabric is intended to physically both block and filter the sun so that looking up invokes the feeling of viewing the night sky, as well as symbolically represent the poche of a drawn plan. A large-scale hammock nearby trades the plywood flooring of the catwalk for springy netting (though the installation doesn’t have a trampoline-level of bounce, AN’s editors spotted plenty of children trying to catch some air anyway). “For the 19th year of the Young Architects Program, Dream The Combine’s provocative intervention Hide & Seek tests the effects of rapid development in Long Island City, Queens and, more broadly, the American city,” wrote Associate Curator of MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design Sean Anderson. “Conceived as a temporary site of exchange, the proposal activates the MoMA PS1 courtyard as a speculative frontier to be magnified, transgressed, and re-occupied.” Hide & Seek will also act as a staging area for PS1’s Warm Up concert series, and the steel sculptures overhead will reportedly be bathed in mist and light at night in response to the music below. Hide & Seek will be on display and open to the public from June 28 until September 3. An exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art's main building showcasing the schemes from all five finalists will run concurrently.
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LinkNYC kiosks will display iconic film director’s photos of old New York

Beginning this Thursday, LinkNYC kiosks around the city will feature images from the Museum of the City of New York’s (MCNY) extensive photography archive. The aptly named campaign, Summer in the City, is a partnership between the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT), LinkNYC, the city’s free Wi-Fi kiosk system, and MCNY. Images will be displayed from the Museum’s current exhibition, Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Passerby on the street will be able to catch a glimpse of the old New York through the lens of the iconic film director. Kubrick’s photographs highlight his formative years as a photographer (before he became a film director) for Look magazine in New York City between 1945-1950. The photographs focus on and capture the pathos of everyday life of the city, from street scenes to sporting events. The LinkNYC kiosks can be found dotted all over the city. Since Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the program in 2016, more than 1,650 Links are active across all five boroughs and have replaced the old pay phones with sleek kiosks that feature free Wi-Fi, phone chargers, and digital displays for advertisements and in this case, art. It’s not the first time that LinkNYC has featured art on its kiosks from MCNY. Previous "exhibitions" on the kiosks include historic photos of women who influenced New York’s political history for Women’s History Month and "On This Day in NYC History" information. The MCNY and LinkNYC partnership is one of many programs that disseminate New York City’s history; others include the NYC Space/Time Directory from the New York Public Library, an app from Urban Archive that made more than 2,500 images of old New York available on-the-go, and a Civil Rights & Social Justice Map from the Greenwich Village Society.
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Visiting UAP, the studio fabricating many of the biggest projects in art and architecture

UAP may not be a household name, but the firm is behind the scenes of many of the biggest projects in public art and architecture. With studios in Brisbane, Shanghai, and New York, UAP works with world-renowned artists and architects like Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller, and Frank Gehry on highly complicated sculptures and architectural features. Most recently, it manufactured Phillip K. Smith III’s Open Sky with clothing brand COS for Salone del Mobile in Milan. UAP is also overseeing a number of projects in the Hudson Yards mega-development. Started in 1993 by brothers Daniel and Matthew Tobin in Australia, UAP collaborates with artists, architects, developers, and governments to plan and fabricate large-scale projects. However, at their core the Tobins are committed to protecting artists’ voices and maintaining conceptual integrity—dealing with tight deadlines, engineering challenges, and logistical complexities to deliver the creator’s vision in full. In this way, they function as an extension of the artist’s studio, allowing artists to step back from management and go back to doing what they do best: making art. UAP is organized into three sectors: UAP Studio, which produces site-specific artworks and offers curatorial oversight and public art strategy; UAP Factory, which works alongside architects on building projects; and UAP Supply, which offers limited-edition and custom furnishings. While UAP’s business includes working with artists to make their visions materialize, the firm also works with developers and governments to curate and consult on the how, where, and who behind public art. Recently, it has been going even bigger and helping develop master plans and long-term public art strategy for clients such as the Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane. Although handwork, traditional CNC, and cutting-edge fabrication techniques are integral to the practice, UAP is constantly looking for new ways to utilize technology. The team has been introducing virtual reality into its design process and collaborating with manufacturing researchers at Innovative Manufacturing CRC, Queensland University of Technology, and RMIT University to experiment with new robotic manufacturing systems that present a range of new possibilities. With his artist pedigree, founder Daniel has designed monumental projects, including the 197-foot-tall concrete tower Al Fanar (Beacon) in Saudi Arabia (with bureau^proberts) and a National AIDS Monument with the West Hollywood Foundation, to be completed in 2019. It’s this creative sensibility that’s central to UAP. It can help artists because they themselves are no mere fabricators; they’re partners in the creative process with an intimate knowledge of production and a deep investment in creative expression. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors New York This past winter’s blockbuster five-borough public exhibition from Ai Weiwei, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, showcased the work of UAP in one of its most memorable sculptures: the 40-foot mirrored cage underneath the Washington Square Arch. Made in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, the arch sculpture was one of two that UAP completed for Ai’s project. The subject of many photographs, the sculpture approached serious topics with levity—juxtaposing a passage with a cage, it troubled the constructed notion of borders and highlighted the different ways they restrict, regulate, and permit the movement of differentiated bodies. Nuage, promenade Miami Working with renowned designers (and another fraternal pair) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, UAP oversaw the construction of a series of metal and glass canopies in Miami’s design district. Called Nuage, promenade, the pergola is designed to engage with not only the surrounding built environment of Paseo Ponti, but also the natural environment, as native plants will slowly grow around the blue and green structure. SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico UAP worked on every step of the process, from design to fabrication to installation, for an external cladding system for a SHoP Architects expansion to the New Mexico contemporary art space SITE Santa Fe. The layers of folded and perforated aluminum cladding for the two entrances help to unify the extension as a whole and mesh it with the museum and the public space. UAP also worked with SHoP on the interiors of the American Copper Buildings in Manhattan. Wahat Al Karama Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates In 2016, UAP worked with British artist Idris Khan to realize the massive memorial park Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The central monument comprises 31 leaning tablets made of aluminum plates recycled from decommissioned armored vehicles. The tablets are inscribed with the names of service members and poems and quotes from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At one end of the park is the Pavilion of Honor, completed with bureau^proberts. Made of 2,800 aluminum panels encircling seven glass panels by Khan, the meditative space is a quiet interior pause that complements the monolithic structure outside.
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Christo floats monumental oil barrel installation in London’s Serpentine Lake

Artist Christo, famous for his large-scale landscape interventions, has completed work on The London Mastaba, a massive trapezoid made of multi-colored barrels and set afloat in London’s Serpentine Lake. The installation sits adjacent to the Serpentine Gallery and will run concurrently with the gallery’s retrospective of Christo and late wife Jeanne-Claude work. The London Mastaba is Christo’s first large-scale installation in the UK, and the trapezoidal form and the use of barrels is a return to both a shape and a material that Christo and Jeanne-Claude have consistently explored throughout their long career. The temporary sculpture, floating in the middle of the historic Hyde Park on top of an interlocking platform, was designed to be extremely visible without damaging the ecologically sensitive lake. The 7,506 barrels, arranged to create a colorful face on either side of the trapezoid, are stacked 65 feet high, 130 feet long, and 90 feet wide. When reflected in the surrounding lake, The London Mastaba’s split-face creates an ever-changing reflection. Much like the Serpentine Pavilion nearby, the sun’s movement over the course of the summer and resultant shadows will alter the work’s appearance every day. In name, form, and color, The London Mastaba references Islamic art. The red-and-white stripes on the round side of the barrels creates a visually homogenous “outer coating,” while the mauve, blue, and red outer walls are abstractions of the pointillist-styled artworks found in Islamic architecture. Even the word Mastaba references similarly-shaped Egyptian tombs. “For three months, The London Mastaba will be a part of Hyde Park's environment in the centre of London," said Christo in a statement. “The colours will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting. It has been a pleasure to work with The Royal Parks to realize The London Mastaba and with our friends at the Serpentine Galleries to create an exhibition showing Jeanne-Claude’s and my 60-year history of using barrels in our work.” The London Mastaba and accompanying show Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018 are free to the public. As with his other pieces, Christo has entirely self-financed the sculpture’s construction through sales of original works of art. The London Mastaba is currently open to the public and viewable through September 23, 2018, while the exhibition will run from June 19 through September 9, 2018. Christo is also well known for his fabric installations; the Lake Iseo-spanning The Modular Pier in Italy drew major crowds to the region in 2015, while the series of gates installed throughout Central Park in 2005 were met with widespread media attention (for better or for worse).
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A St. Louis symposium imagines alternate urban futures inspired by Afrofuturism

We have to imagine a place before we can actually be there. So St. Louis–based artists and curators Gavin Kroeber, Tim Portlock, and Rebecca Wanzo invited their fellow citizens to imagine the urban future with “a two-day festival of art and ideas that explores the collisions of race, urbanism, and futurism, providing a platform for alternate visions of the St. Louis to come.” The name of the event, “Dwell in Other Futures,” comes from the novel Dhalgren by the Afrofuturist writer Samuel R. Delaney, who also served as the keynote speaker and underpinning force that bound together a number of the program’s participants. To open the event, Delaney recited a chapter from his most recent novel that bolstered the role that intimacy might play in how we understand our spaces. Held on April 27 and 28, the program included a collection of workshops and presentations, with special emphasis on performances. For example, the multidisciplinary artist Eric Ellingsen, along with his team of Tyvek-hazmat-suit-clad landscape architecture faculty and students from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, invited the public to join as they performed a choreographic ritual on an empty land parcel across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation. Inspired by the spray paint markings that often indicate underground utility lines, Ellingsen’s team challenged the audience to assume agency over the colored ground markings that make up our cities in order to speculate how infrastructure may connect us in more creative ways. Children and adults took charge of rolling paint applicators to inscribe the site with colorful lines while an overhead drone recorded the real-time mapmaking from a bird’s-eye view. Inside, artist Autumn Knight invited audience members to offer impromptu proposals for civic institutions as part of her La-A Consortium performance, positing playful yet bureaucratic titles such as “Shephanique Center for Literacy” and the “Jadavian Center for Creative Ecologies” as a starting point. By leveraging the power of intentional naming, Knight prompted the audience to consider how they might creatively impact the identities and activities of the organizations that constitute our society. The event closed with a bang as six different local participants delivered “Manifestos for a Future St. Louis.” These brief, bold, and highly choreographed proclamations required each participant to articulate a scenario about a possible future through whatever artistic means necessary. Architectural historian Michael Allen delivered a prescient soliloquy set to a Hollywood soundtrack, warning of a “non-topian” future that intensifies our troubled present, brimming with privatization and distrust of the public sphere. Maxi Glamour, the self-proclaimed “Demon Queen of Polka and Baklava” projected a nonbinary, gender-fluid future enacted by a spectacular drag performance. Social practice designer De Nichols closed the series with an optimistic call to action, imploring us to consider what parts of the status quo need to be destroyed in order to make space for “audacious” culture-makers and “fearless” justice-makers. What conclusions did the festival draw? Its participants proposed more questions than answers, implicating the audience every step of the way, but most assuredly, the celebratory collective voice proclaimed that the future will be black, the future will be queer, and the future city demands all of our emphatic participation.
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David Hammons’ ghostly pier to rise in the Hudson after all

The skeletal recreation of Pier 52, an abandoned industrial shed that once jutted into the waters next to the High Line, will rise courtesy of the Whitney Museum, artist David Hammon, and a recent legislative victory in the New York State Senate. The pier was once a hub of for artistic intervention and under-the-radar sexual liberation, and Hammon has titled his “new” Pier 52 sculpture Day’s End after Gordon Matta Clark’s 1975 transformation of the building. The public piece was first announced in October of last year, and the Whitney has taken pains to avoid the mistakes of the adjacent Pier 55 by engaging with the local community boards at every step of the planning process. Complicating the sculpture’s installation has been the Hudson River Park Act, which established the Hudson River Park Trust’s stewardship of the waterfront and environmental protections for the river. Now, after the passage of legislation by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman yesterday (S8044A), the Hudson River Park Act has been amended to allow Day’s End to rise after all. While the Whitney will construct the stainless-steel sculpture offsite over a period of eight to 10 months and maintain the piece, the museum will be required to donate the sculpture to the Hudson River Park Trust under S8044A. While there are still regulatory hurdles to get over, Day’s End recently cleared a vote in the State Assembly and is likely to breeze to fabrication.