Just in time for spring, the 36th season of outdoor art at Madison Square Park will bring architectural landscapes, dissolving mythological figures, and eroding monuments to the lower Manhattan park. Diana Al-Hadid’s Delirious Matter will weave feminine narratives with Modernist thinking and scatter “ruins” for park-goers to discover come May 7, 2018. The Aleppo-born artist is well known for using casting techniques and materials that result in ethereal, yet surprisingly strong, works, and Delirious Matter is no exception. Six sculptures will be on display, and all of them resemble eroded organic forms, produced through pouring colored polymer gypsum on a surface, peeling it off and reinforcing the structure with a fiberglass coating. Al-Hadid has called the technique “a blend between fresco and tapestry.” “I was educated by Modernist instructors in the Midwest, but also was raised in an Islamic household with a culture that very much prizes narrative and folklore,” explained Al-Hadid. On the park’s Oval Lawn, Al-Hadid will lay down a set of 14-foot-tall porous walls that fade into the hedges, one 36 feet long and the other 22 feet, allowing visitors to explore the gaps in the hard scaffolding. The first wall, Gravida, evokes the Roman god Mars Gradivus, while the second references Allegory of Chastity by Hans Memling, a 15th century painting where a woman arises from a mountain, her clothing and body becoming one with the rocky landscape. Three female figures in repose, all of them missing heads and sitting on plinths, will be scattered around the rest of the park. The three sculptures that make up Synonym all hover in midair, dripped over invisible, destroyed classical statues, and are seemingly supported by nothing more than the extra fluid that’s spilled over the sides. A final sculpture, also referencing Allegory of Chastity, will be installed in the park’s reflecting pool. Delirious Matter is Al-Hadid’s attempt to blend sculpture and plant matter for the first time in her career, much in the same way her work combines contemporary fabrication methods to reinterpret historical paintings and sculptures; it also represents her largest show to date. Delirious Matter was made possible in part by a $35,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and through the support of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. The show will run in tandem with the Diana Al-Hadid: Delirious Matter at the Bronx Museum of the Arts from July 18 through October 14, 2018, while Al-Hadid’s melting mashups in the park will be on display until September 3, 2018.
Posts tagged with "Public Art":
Less than a year after financial firm State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) installed its Fearless Girl statue opposite Arturo Di Modica’s classic Charging Bull in Manhattan’s Financial District, both sculptures may be relocated. As first reported by Adweek, Fearless Girl, which was originally meant to be a month-long installation for International Women’s Day 2017, has proven so popular that the Mayor’s Office has begun negotiations with SSGA to make it a permanent fixture. The only problem? Fearless Girl is a victim of its own popularity, and throngs of tourists are making the patch of open space impossible to navigate through. As a result, and because both sculptures have become intertwined, the city will either need to redesign the plaza for better accessibility, or move the pair to a more open location. While neither the Mayor’s Office, SSGA nor McCann New York, responsible for creating the statue, were willing to comment, it’s likely that the duo wouldn’t be moved very far. The initial reactions to Fearless Girl weren’t entirely positive, as some viewed the installation as a cynical marketing ploy; the criticism only intensified when SSGA’s parent company State Street Corporation was fined $5 million for routinely underpaying female employees. Di Modica himself was shot down when he petitioned the city for Fearless Girl’s removal, although it should be noted that Charging Bull was originally dropped on the streets under the cover of darkness without permission. Bolstered by the good press, SSGA has reportedly looked into installing Fearless Girl copies in other interested cities, giving credence to opponents who claim that the statue is a free advertising ploy (the statue, which cost $250,000 to install, has generated over $7 million in investments for the company). AN will follow up when we know exactly where the two statues will be moving to.
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Inspired by a military camouflage technique dating back nearly 100 years, DAZZLE is a permanent public artwork commissioned by San Diego County Regional Airport Authority for San Diego International Airport’s Rental Car Center. The project, delivered by art team Ueberall International (Nikolaus Hafermaas, David Delgado, Dan Goods, and Jeano Erforth), was made possible through a public art fund after a highly competitive open artist RFQ selection process. Experimenting with different ways to execute a geometric camouflage pattern, the artists turned to “electronic paper” technology as a facade applique. Individual e-paper tiles are articulated in a parallelogram shape and arranged in algorithmic distances to each other, to create a dynamic visual effect, even when still. The graphic patterns are animated by a library of short loops evoking water ripples, moving traffic, dancing snowflakes, and shifting geometries. The physical components of Ueberall’s installation include 2,100 autonomous tiles approximately 12 by 24 inches, strategically placed wireless transmitters, and a host computer. Each tile is outfitted with a photovoltaic solar cell for power, electronics for operation, and wireless communication for programmed control. The tiles are individually coded with distinct addresses to enable precise programming of visual facade patterns. The host computer stores and coordinates all animations (about 15 to 30) designed by the artists. Information can be transmitted from the host computer through Ethernet wiring to wireless transmitters that face the building. These wireless transmitters then forward the information to clusters of tiles which further forward data to other tiles. The end result is a tile that can transform from solid black to solid white based on the information it receives. In this way, each tile represents one pixel in a field of thousands, which is individually controlled through a pre-programmed “playlist” of synchronized effects. The tiles are lightweight, bendable, and energy efficient, and can be cut as long as a continuous path from end to end exists for electrical current. “E Ink” does not emit light, and has a matte appearance, like paper, utilizing pigments for coloration. Energy usage only occurs when the material “switches,” which means a static pattern does not use electricity. In the case of DAZZLE, the tiles were outfitted with specific coatings to allow the parking garage’s precast concrete facade to be power washed. Interestingly, no penetrations through the existing facade system of the building were required. The tiles were adhered to the precast concrete facade. The manufacturer, E Ink, said the tiles can be installed in numerous ways, dependent on site conditions and project requirement. Other options include track systems, tensile cable structures, and sandwiched assemblies. The tiles at DAZZLE were outfitted with solar cells, helping to offset what amounted to very little operational energy. The overall power consumption, including all support hardware (PC, communication transmitters, etc.) was less than two flat panel TVs. The installation was completed in phases, with the tiles ultimately being installed in under two weeks. Each individual tile was coded, scanned, and GPS-located on the facade for pattern synchronization. This level of scrutiny required careful upfront design consideration. For instance, manufacturers worked to design the tiles with unique addresses and barcodes to track, inventory, and ultimately sort each piece. The e-paper manufacturer, E Ink, is the world’s leading innovator of e-ink technology through products like eReaders, electronic shelf labels, digital signage, and architectural materials. For DAZZLE, E Ink utilized their “Prism” line, which is specifically made for the architectural market. This project represents their first major installation of the product. The material is manufactured in large roll quantities that allows for the capability of very large scale installations. Future possibilities for electronic paper technology could be incorporation in light pollution sensitive environments, where the more natural paint-like look of electronic paper is valued over harsh LED light. E Ink said the material can be easily integrated with traditional materials to produce a more dynamic experiential space. "This is the next greatest thing, but it feels more natural and less futuristic, which in its own way is really cool."
Thomas Heatherwick’s $150 million Vessel sculpture has topped out only eight months after beginning construction. The freestanding staircase is set to anchor phase one of the Hudson Yards megaproject when it opens in 2019, when the five-acre public plaza where Vessel sits, opens to the public. The 150-foot tall, bronzed-steel and concrete Vessel is designed to react to its surroundings in both material and function. Containing over 2,400 steps, 80 landings and 154 flights of stairs, the sculpture gradually widens out from a 50-foot base to a 150-feet diameter at the top, and will offer visitors unobstructed views of the surrounding Hudson Yards neighborhood and the other side of the Hudson River. Fabrication on Vessel began in January, with the individual pieces made in Italy and shipped to the site from Port of Newark in New Jersey across the Hudson River. A time-lapse video of the sculpture's construction provided by Hudson Yards developer Related Companies can be found below. In a statement, the London-based Heatherwick said the following about the project: “Vessel is one of the most complex pieces of steelwork ever made. Today we are marking the exciting moment when the last of the enormous 75 pre-fabricated pieces which traveled all the way from Italy to Manhattan, has been assembled ahead of schedule and with astonishing geometric accuracy.” The climbable sculpture has been compared to a pinecone, a beehive, and countless other forms, while critics have questioned everything from the sculpture’s ADA compliance to the implications of running privately-funded public art spaces. Although the sculpture is only waiting for its cladding, railings, and lighting, Vessel won’t open to the public until early 2019. As part of phase one of Hudson Yards’ development, the surrounding construction on the landscaped plaza and nearby supertalls have necessitated that everything opens at the same time. Once that happens, visitors will be able to move from one west side attraction, the High Line, straight to Heatherwick’s soaring atrium.
Whatever your feelings about public art, there's a lot of it in New York City. A new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York reflects on the origins and future of the city's public sculptures, murals, and more ephemeral works, fifty years after artists and curators brought art out of the galleries and into the streets. Of course, New York has always had civic statues and monuments, but the public art movement really took off in the 1960s with Sculpture in Environment, a 1967 Parks Department exhibition that brought work by 24 artists to parks and buildings in Manhattan. The installations were the city's attempt to beautify itself in the face of disinvestment and decay, as well as a response to changing urban conditions that coincided with Kennedy-era positioning of American art and culture as a worldwide export. A timeline in the forecourt of Art in the Open gives a concise and colorful overview of public art from the 60s to today, with "Go See It!" stickers affixed to work that's endured, like Isamu Noguchi's Red Cube in front of 140 Broadway. A walk in the gallery is a greatest hits parade, organized by theme. A red Keith Haring mural, Crack is Wack, greets visitors who enter Art in Public, the opening category that engages the role of art in shaping shared spaces. Art in Place features site-specific works like The Gates, the 23 miles of orange banners Christo and Jeanne-Claude threaded through Central Park; A Subtlety, Kara Walker's arresting installation inside the Domino Sugar Factory; and a throwback, Wheatfield—A Confrontation, Agnes Denes's amber waves of grain in front of Minoru Yamasaki's World Trade Center. The third and final grouping, Art in Action, is devoted to performance and interactive installations. Tania Bruguera's Immigrant Movement International, a community center for migrants in Corona, Queens, and Rudy Shepherd's Drawing Cart, a table in front of a Harlem laundromat where the artist drew with neighbors, are thoughtful exceptions to the blockbusters. Exhibition curators collaborated with the city's major public art organizations to realize Art in the Open. There's art from MTA Arts & Design, the transit arts program that brings straphangers mosaic murals and Poetry in Motion, video stills and ephemera from Creative Time, the nonprofit behind A Subtlety, as well as many other works featured. The Public Art Fund, the group behind Ai Wei Wei's current citywide installation, shared its archives with MCNY for the show. Full-scale photographs of the art in situ contextualize the work, most of which (if decommissioned) is scaled to the sky, too massive to fit inside the gallery—a tension the show highlights. There's a lot to take in, and for New Yorkers, the show will jog memories of art that shapes the city, love it or hate it. Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York, is on view tomorrow, November 10 through May 13, 2018.
Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto is having a New York City moment. He was included in a recent Arte Povera survey at Hauser & Wirth and in a current exhibition of silkscreens on mirrors at Luhring Augustine. The public highlight, though, was his performance of Scultura da Passeggio (Walking Sculpture) in Cold Spring, New York this past weekend. Sponsored by the new postwar and contemporary Italian art museum Magazzino in Cold Spring, the Saturday performance replicated an earlier run in Turin, Italy. In 1967, Pistoletto rolled a large ball or Sfere di Giornali (newspaper sphere) covered with newspaper clippings that highlighted Italy's turmoil during the 1960s, a literal rendition of the news cycle. In the Arte Povera tradition, it used common cheap materials and attempted to move outside the gallery walls and into the city, having viewers "reflect on an all-encompassing expression of circulation, a manipulation of the passing of time." Oh for the days of the 1960s and art that actively engaged with the public! This weekend’s Scultura da Passeggio had a new version of the ball arrive in Cold Spring on a red FIAT roadster, just as it had fifty years ago. After a few brief comments by Pistoletto and the creators of Magazzino, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, the ball was rolled though the streets of the small Hudson River village by an enthusiastic group of participants to celebrate the joy of art when it engages with the city rather than lectures from the gallery walls. Magazzino is a jewel of a small museum and is less than 60 miles from New York City.
An already controversial plan by Saudi-backed developers Olayan America to renovate 550 Madison Avenue into a modern office building has hit another snag. Following on the heels of Snøhetta’s proposal to update the base of Philip Johnson’s postmodern skyscraper with a rolling glass facade, new questions have arisen over a pair of murals in the second floor lobby. Famed abstract artist Dorothea Rockburne, who came to prominence in the 1970s with her paintings inspired by minimalism and mathematical principles, is questioning what will happen to her site-specific installations commissioned in 1993 by former Sony executives. A pair of 30 by 30-foot murals slotted into viewing alcoves, “Northern Sky” and “Southern Sky” are contextual pieces designed specifically for what was once the Sony Building. The swooping spheres of red and yellow, overlaid with a pattern of shifting squiggles, are representative of the electromagnetic field in that part of the sky while also drawing on aspects of chaos theory. The Chetrit Group, 550 Madison’s former owners before selling the property in 2016, had been engaged with a game of cat-and-mouse with Rockburne for years over the fate of the murals. Only after Rockburne revealed their correspondences publicly did the Chetrit Group eventually promise to keep the murals in place and pay for their upkeep. With the building changing hands, the agreement evaporated. Prompted by the Snøhetta’s recent renderings, the issue has once again reared its head, but Rockburne seemed hopeful when asked about where the murals would ultimately end up. Rockburne said, “Michael Schulhof [former CEO of Sony America and the original commissioner of the work] has stayed in contact with the new owners of the building. They’re aware of the importance, and have planned to take care of them.” Rockburne is less certain about what the building’s new facade means for the interplay between the building itself and her work, and had strong feelings about the latest proposal. “I knew Phillip Johnson. I’ve had dinner with Phillip Johnson. This is like putting a glass curtain over a cathedral.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.