American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, known for her text-focused artworks and sculptures, created a footstool to benefit the New York City AIDs Memorial. The footstool will feature one of Holzer’s well-known works from her “Survival” series written in the early 80s. The phrase, "Let Your Hand Wander on Flesh to Make Possibility Multiply," is seen as one of the artist’s more romantic works. She is also engraving Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself into the memorial’s granite pavers. This will be Holzer’s first permanent installation in New York City, although her 1982 "Messages to the Public" installation in Times Square is considered to be a groundbreaking work. The NYC AIDs Memorial, by Brooklyn architecture firm Studio ai, will open early November in Greenwich Village at Seventh Avenue. The design utilizes mirrors to exemplify the way in which the AIDS epidemic has no definitive boundaries: “There are no definite dates or victims. In our design process, we emphasize the changing and varied ways through which AIDS affects us personally and as a society,” the firm said on its website. There will also be a new public park with granite benches and a water feature designed by Rick Parisi of M. Paul Friedberg & Partners with Manhattan-based company Rudin Management. The site will be dedicated on December 1, World AIDS Day. To inquire about pricing and learn more about the stool, go to Artspace or contact this addresss.
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On Friday, the gates opened at a long-awaited, $10 million park in Greenwich Village. The 16,000-square-foot, triangular-shaped space was designed by Rick Parisi of M. Paul Friedberg & Partners and features hexagonal pavers, benches, colorful water jets, an array of tree and flower species, and an amorphous lawn at its center. As AN reported in March, the creation of the park comes out of a deal the city made with Rudin Management Company and Global Holdings that allowed them to turn the site of the defunct St. Vincent’s Hospital into an FXFOWLE-designed condo complex. The developers fully funded the park which will be overseen by the New York City Parks Department. An 18-foot-tall AIDS Memorial, designed by Studio a+I, will soon occupy the western corner of the park. Christopher Tepper, co-founder of the New York City AIDS Memorial, told the New York Times that the memorial is being built in Buenos Aires, and is about 50 percent complete. The park does not yet have an official name.
It's been a while since AN checked in with the New York City AIDS Memorial designed by Brookyn-based Studio a+i and slated for St. Vincent Hospital Park in Manhattan. Architects and memorial organizers have been making their way through a series of approvals, checking one more off their list this week as the city's Landmarks Commission unanimously gave a thumbs up to the design. [Curbed.]
It was a week of devastating lows and mild highs for Community Board 2. With NYU virtually assured of getting their 1.9 million-square-foot expansion plan through City Council next week, in spite of vigorous local objection, the mood at last night’s executive board meeting was decidedly grim. But a new design for the AIDS Memorial, to be incorporated into the proposed St. Vincent's Hospital Park across the street from the former hospital site in Greenwich Village, offered some hope. The new design was in response to a demand that the designers incorporate community input, providing hope for some that that the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) was not a waste of time. "With ULURP being ULURP, I didn't think this would happen," Village resident Robert Woodworth said of the memorial designed by Brooklyn-based studio a+i. The vote was nearly eclipsed by a visit from Council Member Margaret Chin who came to explain her position on NYU to the polite but angry crowd. Board Chair David Gruber didn't mince words, telling the Council Member that the vote earlier this week was "monumentally tragic" in its disregard for the community. The frustration with NYU made the memorial's evolution that much more poignant. Community member Steve Ashkenazi drew a direct comparison. "This group has responded to the community," he told the crowd. "It's a beautiful, relevant design." Strange as it may seem, the memorial and NYU do share commonality, both the modest AIDS Memorial and NYU's huge expansion plan bid high in their initial proposals and eventually whittled the scale down after negotiating with the board. Indeed many had thought that a+i's winning design resulting from the ideas competition, sponsored by Architizer and Architectural Record , would be realized as it was presented, encompassing the entirety of the triangular park. But as it tuned out, site-owner Rudin Management had a plan of their own for a much smaller park. Under the banner of the Queer History Alliance, activists rallied media support for an AIDS memorial on the site, even as the board was trying to influence the design underway by Rudin's landscape architect M. Paul Feiedberg. In the process the site for the public park evntually expanded to encompass the entire triangle, with 17,000 square feet set aside for the memorial. The memorial's planted overhead canopy will mimic the angles formed by West 12th meeting Greenwich and is supported in turn by three inverse triangles. Cross beams of planters will run the width of the triangles, holding English Ivy, Virginia Creepers and Honeysuckle. Slats running opposite the planters will hold a galvanized Greenscreen grid, giving the vine a surface to grow on. A large oculus will hover above a reflective water element and granite benches will run along the north and south border. Under foot, carved poetry texts find their way in a series of large intersecting circular pavers. Lighting, planting, and irrigation systems include a detailed plan for maintenance. The memorial's co-founder Chris Tepper told the crowd that the compromise, which led to a much smaller memorial than the winning proposal presented last spring, still meets the group's "policy goals." He promised that he and co-founder Paul Kelterborn would remain committed to raising the $2 million for the memorial as well as $500,000 for a maintenance fund. In a first exclusive look, New York Magazine's Justin Davidson gave the project a thumbs up. With such media savvy, there is little doubt that the the group, now officially called the AIDS Memorial Park, will have trouble raising the funds to build.
With the prodding of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the Rudin Management Company agreed to hand over the the last smidgen of property at Triangle Park for use in an AIDS memorial. The park sits across the street from St. Vincent's Hospital where so many AIDS patients were cared for and died. After months, indeed years, of wrangling, the gateway park to the West Village will move forward largely as originally planned, with M. Paul Friedberg incorporating components of the memorial by AIDS Memorial Competition winner studio a+i into the park design. The 1,600 square foot memorial will sit at the park's westernmost edge, replacing a triangular building that stored oxygen tanks for the now defunct hospital. Gone are the large scale plans for the memorial which would have taken over the entire park and enclosed the site with a mirrored interior / slate exterior. Gone also are plans for an underground museum. By challenging competition entrants to utilize the entire Triangle site, Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn from the AIDS Memorial Coalition (formerly the Queer History Alliance) made a huge media splash and ruffled more than a few Village feathers. After watching St. Vincent's fail and luxury housing move in, many in the community were looking forward to the one aspect of the Rudin plan they liked--open space. Some thought the Coalition's overly aggressive approach was usurping the ULURP process. The activists' stance recalled old-school ACT-UP tactics. For the competition, they pulled together a big name jury (Whoopi and Arad) and big arch media (Arhchitizer and Architectural Record). With the agreement in place, a more conciliatory Coalition will team up with M. Paul Friedberg and work with the community at several charrettes hosted by Community Board 1 beginning this summer. While the Coalition may not have achieved all that they'd hoped for--it did accomplish much more than a memorial plaque. "I think we had to make our presence felt really strongly," said Tepper. "There's this history there and there’s barely a statue. We had to be forceful and get people to think about it."
Brooklyn's studio a+i walked away with first place for their design, Infinite Forest, in a competition to envision an AIDS Memorial at Triangle Park in Manhattan's West Village. The memorial is intended to sit on the site of a small garden and garage directly across the street from the former St. Vincent's Hospital, considered by many to be ground zero of the AIDS epidemic. The announcement comes just one week after the plans for the former hospital site by Rudin Management were approved by City Planning. For the memorial, three walls would bind the park with mirrors on the interior and slate on the exterior. The mirrors would reflect a grove of white birch trees. Park entrances are at three corners of the triangle. The space between the mirror and slate walls also act as light wells and entrances for a museum intended to go beneath the park. There are no markers with names or dates for the 100,000-plus New Yorkers who died of AIDS; instead, visitors are encouraged to write on the slate walls with chalk, "creating an ever-changing mural which is refreshed with every rain." The Infinite Forest design team included Mateo Paiva, Lily Lim, John Thurtle, Insook Kim, and Esteban Erlich, with a rendering by Guillaume Paturel. The competition, which received more than 475 entries, was a collaboration between the Queer History Alliance, Architizer.com, and Architectural Record.