Posts tagged with "public art":

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Chicago announces the city’s first public art plan

Of all the events and programs associated with this year’s “Year of Public Art” in Chicago, it may be the recent announcement of the city’s first Public Art Plan that will have the longest-lasting effect. Rounding out a year which included a new art festival, the 50th anniversary of some of the city’s most beloved public pieces, a new youth art corps, and numerous other city-initiated art commissions, the Public Art Plan outlines the city’s goals and focus regarding the future of art in the public domain. Building off the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012, a large portion of the plan is focused directly on reassessing the process of commissioning art and shifting the way the city talks about and supports artists. To do so, the Public Art Plan lays out a series of guidelines which the city plans to implement over the coming years. The seven points in the plan include:
  • Update Chicago’s Percent for Art Program
  • Establish clear and transparent governmental practices
  • Expand resources to support the creation of public art throughout the city
  • Advance programs that support artists, neighborhoods and the public good
  • Strengthen the City’s collection management systems
  • Support the work that artists and organizations do to create public art
  • Build awareness of and engagement with Chicago’s public art
For a city which is generally understood in a color palette of subdued browns, blacks, and grays, Chicago has a long history of diverse public art pieces, and that diversity is evolving quickly. From sculpture to murals, the new plan hopes to adjust the city’s scope of what is understood as public art. Chicago has often been on the forefront of public art, being the first city, in 1978, to create a city-funded public art program. Even before that though, Chicago was home to one of the first monumental abstract sculptures in the world with the Picasso in Daley Plaza. "As Chicago powers forward as an engine of creative life, we ought not to forget that public art isn’t just one discipline,” explained Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) upon the announcement of the new plan. “It’s how we as a city bring artistic vision to our streets and to the public realm. By engaging in public art, we bring value, meaning and pride to Chicago” It should be noted that nowhere in the plan are there appropriations to paint, move, or otherwise cover Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in pasta sauce. The plan can be found here in its entirety.

Monument, Myth, and Meaning

In light of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia and other cities across the nation, a panel discussion on Civil War Monuments has been planned in Cooper Union’s renowned Great Hall, on the subject of their meaning, the complex histories that surround their realization, and the current socio-political conditions that are causing their very existence to be reconsidered. Should these monuments be saved? Should they be torn down? Is it possible—or even appropriate—to make thoughtful, informed interventions into these works of public art that can preserve their history, diffuse the myth and polarization that surround them and serve as teaching moments for future generations? These and other questions will be posed during the program. Panelists include:
  • Stony Brook University Professor Michele H. Bogart, whose teaching areas include the social history of public art and urban design and commercial culture in the United States;
  • Executive Director of the American Historical Association James Grossman whose work has focused on various aspects of American urban history, African American history, the place of history in public culture, and more;
  • Julian LaVerdiere, a 1993 graduate of The Cooper Union School of Art and co-creator of the Tribute in Light Memorial;
  • Visual journalist and former CNN correspondent Brian Palmer, who has photographed Virginia's neglected African American cemeteries and more;
  • Columbia University Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Mabel O. Wilson, whose design and scholarly research investigates space, politics and cultural memory in black America and race and modern architecture;
  • Mya Dosch, faculty member of The Cooper Union’s Humanities and Social Sciences who is teaching the fall 2017 course “Take ‘em down: Monuments, Artist Interventions, and the Struggle for Memory in the Americas,” will moderate.
 
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Colorful crosswalk installation lights up paths to the Broad Museum

Venezuelan-born artist Carlos Cruz-Diez has completed work on a new art installation at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles that utilizes blocks of pastel-colored paint to activate the crosswalks connected to the museum. The installation was developed by the Broad with the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation and the artist himself as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA (PST), an ambitious multi-venue exploration of Latin American and Latino art currently taking place across the Los Angeles region. The installation, titled Couleur Additive, was installed along the four crosswalks located at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 2nd Street in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the crosswalks connects the Broad to the Disney Concert Hall located on a block north of the museum. Cruz-Diez is a highly-regarded figure in the Kinetic-Optical art genre, an experimental color theory-based form of artistic exploration initially developed in the 1950s. Cruz-Diez, who recently turned 94 years old, developed his approach based on the assumption that the perception of color in the human eye constitutes an autonomous reality that changes based on position, time, and perspective. His works, according to Ed Schad, assistant curator at The Broad, create art “through and around” the side-by-side collision of the installation’s green, orange, yellow, and blue hues. Schad’s team undertook great pains to comply with the City of Los Angeles’s permitting process for the installation, which required that the paint be applied in such a way as to retain the original sidewalk striping in its entirety. As a result, the paint swatches exist independently from the typical white crosswalk striping. The paint itself was applied by student-artists from the nearby Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, a complex designed by architects Coop Himmelb(l)au. Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad said in a press release, “Carlos Cruz-Diez’s practice challenges the traditional relationship between art and the viewer, and between the viewer and the urban environment,”adding, “His new work Couleur Additive activates the public space around The Broad, embracing Grand Avenue and bringing the museum out into the daily life of pedestrians and our visitors, highlighting the ideas of an important Latin American artist whose career has spanned seven decades.” The public art installation will be featured alongside explanatory materials displayed inside the museum and in conjunction with educational workshops put on by Learning Lab, an arm of the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation. The installation is on view through the year and into 2018.
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Times Square will host a three-minute psychedelic wonder all this month at midnight

Times Square can leave your head spinning at the best of times, but come the final minutes of each day this month, visitors can witness a psychedelic show on the square's famous advertising boards. Known as Convolution Weave~Lattice Domain and created by MSHR—a collaborative composed of Portland, Oregon–based artists Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy—the work is a highly colorful virtual landscape of spinning objects. The complex sculptures represent objects that would be impossible to create in reality, as well as more conventional forms, that creating dazzling patterns. "We construct hypershapes that reflect consciousness, just as the content in Times Square reflects the psychic structure of our culture. There are many possible shapes of reality," MSHR said in a press release. "We aim to warp the frayed edges of this media node, minding the intentions behind mental influence through imagery. Our intention is to inject the light stream with objects sculpted for presence of mind." The installation is part of the Midnight Moment, a monthly showing provided by The Times Square Advertising Coalition and presented in partnership with Upfor Gallery and Times Square Arts. Convolution Weave~Lattice Domain can be viewed from 11:57 p.m.-midnight every night this August. Despite hailing from the West Coast, more of MSHR's work can be found in New York—in particular, Queens, where Cooper and Murphy's art is featured in the Past Skin exhibition at MoMA PS1 where it is on view through September 10, 2017.
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Abandoned building in Boston transformed into a site-specific art installation

An abandoned building in Allston, Boston has been transformed into an engaging art installation by two Baltimore-based artists, revealing the power of art in urban intervention.
The duo Jessie + Katey, formed by Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, created the mural as a part of a Harvard-based initiative called Zone 3. The initiative aims to further activate and energize the buildings along Western Avenue, which include a former dry cleaning facility and auto body garage, by implementing creative programs, events, and retail.
Jessie + Katey are known for creating large-scale public murals that look to engage the public with their socially active art. The entire building’s facade is painted with bold colors and sweeping patterns that curve around the edges, along with recycled materials like beer cans and bottle caps attached to the walls. The pair also held community events where the public was invited to create their own screen prints, which were eventually inscribed onto the walls. It took them nearly one month to complete the mural, which explores themes of movement and symmetry. The two artists have been creating colorful murals since 2011 and have been making an impression on the East Coast. Two years ago they were selected for the New York Department of Transportation’s 191st Tunnel Beautification Project and that same year they worked with Philadelphia’s Murals Arts Program when creating the 400-foot-long mural pop-up park: "Summer Kaleidoscope." In addition to this, Unterhalter and Truhn have residencies with The Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo, New York, The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine and the John Micheal Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
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Artist’s peeing pooch takes Fearless Girl out for a whiz

A New York City sculptor decided to take a literal piss on some art he didn't like. Artist Alex Gardega's latest piece sends a golden shower down the leg of Fearless Girl, the bronze statue installed under the cover of darkness by a financial services company to generate free PR celebrate International Women's Day. The statue faces down Arturo Di Modica's Charging Bull on Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Though the bronze sculpture attracted the ire and eye rolls of art historians, designers, and some feminists, the public seemed to love Fearless Girl. Even Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in, granting it a temporary permit. In response, Gardega dreamed up Pissing Pug, an intentionally "crappy" bronze likeness of a dog taking a whiz on the leg of Fearless Girl. The pug lurks below the knee of the Fearless Girl, its near hind leg arched to do the deed. “I decided to build this dog and make it crappy to downgrade the statue, exactly how the girl is a downgrade on the bull,” Gardega told the New York Post. There's no word yet on whether the statue will stay—though it is safe to say that the triangle in Bowling Green where the three pieces live is a micro-haven for guerrilla art. Back in 1989, Di Modica erected his sculpture in front of the New York Stock Exchange without permission from the city. Following public outcry after the city impounded the piece, the Park Department moved it to its current location where it has attracted throngs of testicle-rubbing tourists ever since.
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SPORTS creates traveling “loungescape” for Santa Barbara

Syracuse, New York–based SPORTS recently completed the installation of their Runaway pavilion, a striking arrangement of wire metal meshes designed as an ode to the unique atmospheric qualities of Santa Barbara, California. In a statement, the designers explained their desire to “architecturalize the aesthetic quality of the air” in the beachside community, a shifting environmental phenomenon caused by the confluence of intense inland heat and cooler beach fog. The resulting “June gloom,” serves as the inspiration for the project. The pavilion is made up of three triangular masses constructed from rectilinear elements that can be repositioned variously. The masses—which have nested shapes scooped out from their interior volumes—seem to dematerialize in place, as their bright cyan, magenta, and yellow forms catch the passing light. The so-called “loungescape” works at a variety of scales and functions. Based on the arrangement and orientation of the forms, the pavilion can work as a simple wall used to demarcate space or as something grander, like a performance stage. The shapes can also be used as casual seating elements. The pieces will move around the city, starting with the Santa Barbara Pier. From there, they will travel to a number of different neighborhoods and be installed in at least six sites. The composition of the project will vary according to each locale, a process the designers envision will unlock the multi-functional nature of the pieces. SPORTS completed a mint-green seating installation in Chicago’s suburbs last year. The current installation is the result of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara’s Take Part / Make Art Pavilion competition that sought to reposition the museum as a force for urban art through traveling, neighborhood-based installations. The pavilion will move throughout the city, changing location every few weeks, through mid-August of this year.
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Chicago tower gets 150-foot-long LED art installation

A new art installation has recently been illuminated in the epic lobby of the Goettsch-designed 150 North Riverside. At 150 feet long and 22 feet high, 150 Media Stream is an ever changing digital installation comprised of 89 LED blades. Commissioned by the building's developer, Riverside Investment & Development, the installation was closely integrated with 150 North Riverside's design. “150 Media Stream represents an interesting convergence of art, architecture, and technology, and we believe it celebrates the transformational experience of media art,” said Yuge Zhou, creative director at Riverside Investment & Development. The physical components of 150 Media Stream were designed and constructed by McCann Systems, who worked with Digital Kitchen. Chicago-based Leviathan produced the initial artwork and content delivery system. “We set out to build a flexible, intelligent system of endless digital content that would make 150 Media Stream look exceptional, every moment of every day,” explained Jason White, executive creative director of Leviathan. The artwork that will be displayed on the installation will be commissioned from artists and students. A series of collaborative projects have been specifically created for the piece in classes sponsored by Riverside. Partnering cultural and educational institutions also contributed. The first prominent artist to be featured on the installation will be Chicago-based new media artist Jason Salavon. Coupled with its site specificity, this will be one of the largest pieces Salavon has ever done. “The opportunity to explore these aspects of this project was intriguing. There is no other video wall in the world that looks like this one,” Salavon said.
The 150 Riverside tower will officially open Thursday, April 20, 2017, with the lobby being open to the public starting Friday, April 21, 2017, at 6pm.
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Merchandise Mart facade to host grand public light installation

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago’s epically-scaled Merchandise Mart will soon host a public art piece to match its size. Scheduled for a 2018 unveiling, the installation will be comprised of large-scale projections that will illuminate the two-block stretch of the Chicago River in front of the building. Leading the design of the installation is New York–based A+I architects and San Francisco-based Obscura Digital. Obscura specializes in immersive experience design and has done similarly scaled projection projects on such iconic buildings as the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. An RFP released by the city in 2014 hints at a possible vision for the installation, with interactive videos playing on its facade. That RFP was a call for a design team for the Lighting Frame Work Plan (LFP) to imagine a comprehensive lighting plan for the public spaces of Chicago. A major portion of the RFP was dedicated to the stretch of the Chicago River which now is home to the Riverwalk. The language of the RFP specifically addressed lighting as a part of the city’s goal to integrate art, design, and technology into public spaces to attract tourist. The announcement comes as the city celebrates the Year of Public Art, which includes the installation of multiple new pieces in public spaces, a $1.5 million investment from the city, and a series of public events and programs. The Merchandise Mart project is planned to be completely privately funded. Completed 1931, the art deco Merchandise Mart was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White. It was the largest building in the world by floor area until the Pentagon was built and is still in the top 50 for largest buildings in the world. Today the building is filled with a variety of tenants but is best known for its wholesale design showrooms on the lower floors. Upper floors are filled with office and exhibition spaces, including a large tech startup incubator, and Motorola Mobility. The Mart, as it is usually referred to, is also home to NeoCon, the international commercial design show.
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Liz Glynn turns a corner of Central Park South into a Gilded Age living room for all

For her Public Art Fund piece in Central Park, artist Liz Glynn has spilled the contents of a super-rich enclave out onto the sidewalk for all to enjoy. Open House's cast concrete furnishings, laid out on a public plaza at the southeast corner of Central Park, reference the interiors of one of Manhattan's most famous Gilded Age mansions. Notably, the now-demolished home of politician William C. Whitney featured a 1,000-person ballroom, the kind of mahogany-and-silk fantasia where Ellen Olenska might have caught Newland Archer's eye. Gracing a corner just eight blocks north of the exhibition, the Stanford White–designed home was a lavish gathering place for New York elite. Turn-of-the-century society mingled in its ballroom, one of the grandest private spaces in the city, luxuriating on real and reproduction 18th-century French furniture. Glynn, who's based in Los Angeles, reproduced 26 of those couches, chairs, footstools and graceful entryways in concrete—a material of the people, she told The Architect's Newspaper, that she chose for its associations with working-class modernist housing, particularly in the work of Le Corbusier. The spacious outdoor interior (what Glynn calls her "ruin") was informed by archival research into the gracious homes of old New York, when (like now) the gap between the haves and have-nots defined the production of space in the city. The work reflects too on the decadence of today's ultra-rich, whose tastes shape the New York skyline into wastebaskets and all-glass everything. By turning the private into public, Glynn questions how social class in the city is performed and displayed. "In putting together this exhibition," said associate curator Daniel S. Palmer, "we asked, 'How can we make something that engages the entirety of the plaza, and make this an embodied architectural space?'" Although it officially opens tomorrow, New Yorkers were already making the most of their new living room. A woman was lounging in one of the armchairs, applying chapstick, while another scooped her pug up onto a couch to chat with a friend. To withstand three seasons' worth of weather but allow for design flexibility, the GFRC concrete was blended with an acrylic polymer that allowed Glynn to imprint patterns into the cushions, while decorative wood details are rendered evocatively in the same material. The furniture retains the elegance of its Whitney predecessors, but at 500 to 900 pounds apiece, they are theft-proof and durable enough for ten thousand butts. Open House is on view through September 24 at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, at the northwest corner of 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.
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NYC increases Percent for Art program funding for the first time in 35 years

Since its inception in 1982, New York City's Percent for Art program hasn't seen a funding increase, though that changed last Wednesday with new legislation signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The 35-year-old program provides funding for public art, requiring that one percent of the city budget for construction projects is allocated for public artwork. To date, the program has commissioned more than 350 artworks in public spaces and currently has almost 100 works in progress. “Public art plays a crucial role in capturing the extraordinary energy and diversity of this city,” said de Blasio in a press release. “The improvement of the Percent for Art program strengthens the City’s ability to invest in public works of art and the local artists who create it.” In its original form, the program set aside one percent of the first $20 million intended for public projects for public works of art, approximately $1.5 million annually. The new legislation sets aside one percent of the first $50 million instead, increasing the annual budget to $4 million in order to account for inflation. “We’re ready to work with residents more closely than ever before on bringing extraordinary works of art to their communities, and to bring the amount of funding available in line with the law’s original intent,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. Other new bills passed with this legislation aim to increase the transparency of the program and ensure diversity and community involvement. For example, the city hopes that providing artwork submission information in multiple languages will increase community input. Additionally, the Department of Cultural Affairs will collect and share data about the artists selected to ensure a diverse group is receiving these commissions. This is the largest package of bills signed into law in the history of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, according to Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, who chairs the committee and helped sponsor the bills. For more information about the Percent for Art program or to see other works of art the program has sponsored, visit here.
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100 screens host public art throughout New York City

When almost everyone stumbles blindly through the city, glued to a phone, a new series of digital works from the Public Art Fund is asking New Yorkers to pause their small screens to look at art on bigger screens around the city. Now through March 5, the nonprofit will display Commercial Break at roughly four sites: the Brooklyn Barclays Center's circular LED marquee; the Westfield World Trade Center mall in lower Manhattan; hundreds of porn-free LinkNYC kiosks; and on one of the most famous screens of all—a Times Square billboard. Notably, this is the organization's first show to simultaneously display work in all five boroughs. Commercial Break's antecedent is the Public Art Fund's Messages to the Public, a series that ran on a Times Square lightboard through most of the 1980s, displacing the usual ads. Similarly, the 23 participating artists in this show interrogate the omnipresence of digital imagery, especially advertising, and its effect on real spaces, online and off. The Public Art Fund's website is the final venue—work by Casey Jane Ellison is paired with showtimes and more information about each IRL site.