2013 Arsenal Gallery Exhibits
Exhibits by Year:
The Arsenal Gallery is located at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue inside Central Park, Third Floor of the Arsenal Building. Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. (Closed municipal holidays.) Admission is free. For further information please call (212) 360-8163.
May 2 – June 20, 2013
Erik Benson, The Park
Erik Benson’s paintings depict the landscape of everyday metropolitan life, created with thousands of shapes hand-cut from dried sheets of acrylic paint. Benson uses this painstaking compositional technique to capture the complexity of urban development, with its interplay of construction and creative destruction, density and emptiness. Familiar cityscapes emerge as more complex than they initially appear.
“Originally I was interested in creating a painting vocabulary that depicted the plasticity and temporality of unexamined things such as playgrounds and construction sites,” says Benson. “These interests have been growing into ideas and concerns that deal with the urban landscape, such as how cities grow and shrink, and what these issues mean to the inhabitants.”
In these vivid new paintings, Benson considers the role and impact of playgrounds, trees and parks within evolving communities, often setting the saturated colors and bold shapes of play equipment and dynamic tree branch patterns against the muted backdrops of the surrounding buildings. Inspired by his neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, he creates works that are not precise representations, but rather archetypes, at once foreboding and optimistic.
March 7 – April 26, 2013
Benjamin Swett, New York City of Trees
Twenty-eight color portraits of trees around the five boroughs take the viewer up close to some of the extraordinary species that grow along the streets and in the parks, cemeteries, gardens, and backyards of the city. After working at Parks for thirteen years, Swett left in 2001 to pursue a career as a freelance photographer but continued to photograph New York City’s urban forest, fascinated by the connections between trees and the city’s history. “We know that trees improve living conditions in cities by filtering and cooling the air, absorbing excess rainwater, and making neighborhoods more attractive,” writes Swett. “But little has been said about the importance of trees as keepers of a city’s past. The aim in taking these pictures—aside from taking the best photographs I could—was to try to bring back into focus an aspect of the city that most people tend to take for granted until something happens to it. The idea has been to remind New Yorkers how much of their own lives and the lives of neighbors these trees quietly contain.”
The Arsenal Gallery, in partnership with MillionTreesNYC, is pleased to offer three public lectures by noted tree authors in conjunction with the exhibit New York City of Trees—for more information visit: MillionTreesNYC.
This project was partially funded through a grant from Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, with additional support from the City Parks Foundation. The images have been selected from Swett’s forthcoming book New York City of Trees, to be released by the Quantuck Lane Press on March 6.
February 1 – February 27, 2013
Celebrate Black History Month: African-American Monuments in New York City’s Parks
The monuments in our parks honor the heights of human achievement and the depths of human sacrifice. They are intended in permanent form to commemorate persons, events and values of lasting consequence to the evolution of our city, nation and the world, and to our advancement as a people.
In honor of Black History Month, this exhibition examines those monuments in the Parks collection that honor key African-American figures in the arts, sport, the military, science, and the abolition movement and who are preserved in our collective memory. Also remembered are the many thousands of anonymous people who, until emancipation, did not have the rights of citizenship and were enslaved.
December 13, 2012 – January 10, 2013
Parks & Recreation celebrates the holiday season with its 30th annual exhibition of unique, unconventional wreaths. A diverse selection of 42 fine artists, horticulturalists, designers, and other spirited contributors enliven this ageless holiday symbol. Materials such as pistachio shells, stained glass, bicycle tubes, and Chinese food containers, among others, are used to examine themes as diverse as Victoria hair wreaths to the recent impact of Hurricane Sandy. This exhibition is sure to be one of the most thoughtful, enjoyable experiences of this year's holiday season.