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Art in the Parks

Through collaborations with a diverse group of arts organizations and artists, Parks brings to the public both experimental and traditional art in many park locations. Please browse our list of current exhibits below, explore our archives of past exhibits or read more about the Art in the Parks Program.

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Julianne Swartz's Digital Empathy. Image courtesy of the artist.

Julianne Swartz, Digital Empathy
June 8, 2011 to June 2012
Select locations throughout Sections 1 and 2 of the park
The High Line, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

​Julianne Swartz's sound installation, Digital Empathy, will greet High Line visitors with a variety of messages. At some sites, computer-generated voices will speak messages of concern, support, and love, intermingled with pragmatic information. In other sites, those same digitized voices will recite poetry and sing love songs to park visitors.

Installed in 11 different locations throughout the park, the sound will be transmitted through the park's bathroom sinks, water fountains, and elevators. These sites are not only unexpected places in which to encounter public art, they are places designed for individuals or small numbers of people, allowing for intimate encounters within an otherwise sprawling, communal space. The locations for Swartz's sound interventions will be indicated by graphic—based signage created by the artist that mimics standard public information signs.

Digital Empathy plays on the notion that, in our culture, we turn to technologies like online social networking, blogs, and instant messages to meet our basic human need for friendship and personal connection.

This High Line Art Commission is presented by Friends of the High Line.

Gaston Lachaise, La Montagne, Courtesy of Parks Art & Antiquities

Gaston Lachaise, La Montagne (The Mountain)
September 23, 2011 to June 4, 2012
Tramway Plaza, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

​La Montagne (The Mountain) was modeled in 1934 by American Modernist sculptor Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935). The sculpture is the culmination of a series begun in 1913 by Lachaise in New York, where he lived and worked from 1912 until his death in 1935. The work represents at once a landscape and the figure of Isabel Dutaud Nagle, the artist’s muse, model and eventual wife. Lachaise envisioned a piece that was “great and solemn.” He later admitted, “You may say the model is my wife. It is a large, generous figure of great placidity, great tranquility.” Some recognize in Lachaise a revival of the feminine ideal that had flourished for centuries in the voluptuous stone carvings on Hindu temples. Lachaise’s wife inspired virtually all of Lachaise’s sculptures of the female form. “You are the Goddess I seek to express in all my work,” he wrote to her in 1915-16.

This exhibition was made possible by The Lachaise Foundation and The Frelinghuysen-Morris Foundation.

Akihiro Ito, Forever, Riverside Park South

Art Students League, Model to Monument
June 24, 2011 to May 2012
59th to 72nd Streets
Riverside Park South, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
The Art Students League of New York, one of America’s premier art schools, presents the Model to Monument Program (M2M), a collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation that has culminated in the installation of seven sculptures on view along Riverside South from 59th to 72nd Streets.
 
The sculptures were created by an international team of seven selected League students during a nine-month program led by master sculptor Greg Wyatt.  The pieces, one by each artist, range from abstractions conjuring New York City’s past and future, to a life-size bronze of a girl and her dog looking out on the Hudson River. The exhibition includes: River Gazers by Elizabeth Allison, The New Age by John Balsamo, Looking Up by Allston Chapman, Forever by Akihiro Ito, Flight: Past to Future by Selva Sanjines, Wish by Noa Shay, and Seiren by Matthew White.

A collaborative sculpture created by the team is also on concurrently on view in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The artwork, a monumental mask, was inspired by the regular performances programmed behind the Van Cortlandt House Museum.

This work was made possible by the Art Students League’s Model to Monument Program.

Miquel Barceló,  Elephandret, Union Square, photograph by Daniel Avila

Miquel Barceló, Elefandret Sculpture at Union Square, New York City
September 13, 2011 to May 29, 2012
Union Square Park Triangle
Union Square Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

​Barcelo’s immense Gran Elefandret, balances upright on its trunk, its four massive legs outspread searching for equilibrium. At twenty-six feet tall the sculpture brilliantly portrays an extraordinary, if not impossible physical and cultural feat; this contemporary monument believably captures with humor, scale and Spanish courage the essence of what a public monument can be today.

To further communicate the gravity-defying feat beyond the surprisingly slim trunk and large body, Barceló imparts the mass and weight of the creature through the downward sag of the heavily wrinkled skin, the off-kilter positioning of the huge legs, and the complete overturning of the floppy ears. The highly textured surface of the elephant recalls the artist’s tactile paintings, in which he creates rich topographic, sculpted surfaces on canvas.
 
Barceló, born in Mallorca in 1957, has spent considerable time in West Africa, and his paintings and sculptures often are often concerned with the natural life cycle.

This is a project by Marlborough Gallery, in cooperation with the Union Square Partnership.

Image courtesy of Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery

Jacco Olivier, Untitled
December 15, 2011 to March 12, 2012
Madison Square Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
Six painterly animations by acclaimed Dutch artist Jacco Olivier is the final presentation of Mad.Sq.Art’s  2011 season.  Mad. Sq. Art celebrates the artist’s first public art commission in New York City, which features both new, site-specific and existing works displayed throughout the Park. Olivier’s series of stop-motion animations brightens New York’s winter landscape with moving images exemplary of the artist’s characteristically rich color palette and lavishly textured style. The exhibition is on view daily in Madison Square Park from December 15, 2011 through March 12, 2012.

Beginning with a single image, Olivier introduces subtle alterations with each additional layer through his process of over-painting.  After he paints and re-paints his images, Olivier photographs each stage of the process as stop-motion animation until an original no longer exists. The resulting work reveals a history of the painting process that captures scraps of narrative and visual iconography brought to light as a moving painting.

According to the artist, Jacco Olivier, exhibiting in Madison Square Park provides “an opportunity to go totally abstract and see things on a molecular level, to change perspective[…] to show an animation in the ground, you really have to look down to see it, which creates a little private moment for the viewer that is free of narrative, subject or meaning.”

This is a project of Mad.Sq.Art.

Michael Sailstorfer, Tornado, Courtesy of Parks Art & Antiquities

Michael Sailstorfer, Tornado
September 20, 2011 to February 19, 2012
Doris Freedman Plaza
Central Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

​This arresting sculpture is the first public commission in the United States by Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer. It is a powerful response to the attributes of the site, for which it was conceived, and to the epic scale of New York City.

Rising more than 30 feet to meet the treetops of Central Park, Tornado brings together a series of opposite terms. It combines lightness and weight, with looming black “clouds” made from inflated truck tire inner tubes that gently shift in the breeze. Its muscular steel armature zigzags from top to bottom while the ballooning rubber forms that hang in bunches from its spiraling arms are knotted together in bulging clusters. Like a tornado, which is violently powerful but also literally made of air, Sailstorfer’s towering work provides a visceral experience of sculptural form and materials in tension, massive but also vulnerable.

Tornado is the largest in a series of the artist’s sculptures that draw on rubber tires, inner tubes, and ideas of movement and velocity. Much of his work engages with natural forces and the way we perceive them through form and physical space. At the same time, there is often a hint of whimsy in Sailstorfer’s art, conjuring a sense of playfulness, backyard experimentation, and visual wit.

This is a project by the Public Art Fund.

Kim Beck, Space Available. Photo by Tim Schreier.

Kim Beck, Space Available
March 4, 2011 to January, 2012
On rooftops along Washington Street, between West 13th and Gansevoort Streets
The High Line, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
Kim Beck presents three sculptures resembling the skeletal framework behind advertising billboards. These blank forms emulate the abounding indicators of the economic recession, such as empty storefronts and "For Sale" signs. Beck's sculptures have the illusion of depth when viewed from the front, but as visitors move past them, the side views reveal that they are completely flat, cut from perspective drawings and built like theater props.

A series of three sculptures are installed on roofs of buildings close to the High Line. They integrate seamlessly into the environment of the High Line neighborhood, echoing existing billboards and buildings in partial states of construction. The existence of the three reinforces their visibility and invites visitors to rethink the logic of what they are seeing.

This is a project by the Friends of the High Line.

Catherine Opie, Untitled (Stump Fire #4), 11? x 28? billboard photograph.

Catherine Opie, Untitled (Stump Fire #4)
September 9, 2012 to March 31, 2013
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
Untitled (Stump Fire #4), an 11' x 28' photograph by artist Catherine Opie, is the newest installment of Socrates Sculpture Park's ongoing Broadway Billboard series.

Opie has created a mise-en-sc?ne of epic scope, drama, and mystery. Nature and artifice, light and darkness are just some of the contradictory elements of Opie's image that create an ominous tableau for us to contemplate. Neither a warm hearth, nor regenerative forest fire, we discover it is liquid, not wood, which is ablaze. The log stumps in the foreground are Opie's own handmade clay sculptures, which further heightens the surrealism of the scene. The image hovers between an apocalyptic figment of our imaginings and the possibility of nature run amok. What is clear, however, is that all is not well within our environment or psyche. Untitled (Stump Fire #4) is from a series of new work and will be part of an exhibition at Regen Projects, Los Angeles in 2013.

Catherine Opie is one the great photographers of this generation and documentarian of our American landscape and people. A graduate of CalArts, she currently teaches in the studio program at the University of California at Los Angeles. Select solo exhibitions include Catherine Opie: Figure and Landscape at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2010), Catherine Opie: American Photographer at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2008), Catherine Opie: Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2006). Opie was a 2009 recipient of the President's Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Women's Caucus for Art and was awarded a United States Artists Fellowship in 2006.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park.

Folly, Jermone Haferd and K Brandt Knap, Curtain
July 14, 2012 to October 21, 2012
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
​Exploring the intersections between architecture, design, and sculpture is Socrates Sculpture Park’s exhibition and residency, Folly. Architects Jerome Haferd and K Brandt Knap submitted the winning proposal for this exhibition, titled Curtain, exploring and investigating materiality, spatial interaction, and concepts about our built environment. The project is composed of a series of frames of slender wood posts, defining a space of 20 feet wide on each side with a roof canopy. The horizontal planes of the structure are articulated by a dense series of plastic white chains, fixed in some places, hanging free in others, creating “rooms” that viewers can occupy, offering changing spatial experiences within the fixed wooden framework.  The piece alludes to the material quality of the chain as it reacts to the breezes off the East River as well as a word play on the architectural term “curtain wall.”

Prompted by an increased interest among younger architects and designers in fabrication technologies and materials, Folly is an exciting opportunity for these emerging minds to rediscover the pleasures of craft and explore the process of making. The result of collaboration between Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League is presented in the park’s waterfront location, offering a rare and immediate connection to the landscape and the public.

Civic Action, Socrates Sculpture Park

Various, Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City
May 13, 2012 to August 5, 2012
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

Civic Action features the work of artists Natalie Jeremijenko and xClinic, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and George Trakas - all known for their innovative works in the public sphere. Civic Action is the second half of a two-part exhibition with The Noguchi Museum and is curated by Amy Smith-Stewart. The artists were asked to proffer alternative visions and an imaginative future for the northern industrial stretch of Long Island City, Queens that encompasses both organizations - Socrates and Noguchi. In 2011, each artist formed a team (listed below) comprised of architects, urban planners, writers, historians, and other consultants to re-imagine the area in response to increasing residential development, rezoning, and ecological threats. Their findings were exhibited as models, installations and drawings at The Noguchi Museum from October 13, 2011 to April 22, 2012. Now at Socrates, their ideas, which address accessibility, sustainability, community building, and urban environment, will be realized through sculpture, site-specific installations, earthworks and participatory, social activities.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum.

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