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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.

2014

Manhattan

Iran Do Espirito Santo, Playground, courtesy of NYC Parks.

Iran do Espirito Santo, Playground
September 10, 2013 to February 16, 2014
Doris C. 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:

One of Brazil’s most highly regarded contemporary artists, Iran do Espírito Santo (b. 1963) is known for his austere yet sensuous drawings, wall paintings, and sculptures. Playground is his first public work in the United States. At first glance it looks like a massive cube made from large stone blocks – but with a number of blocks missing at the corners. On closer examination it becomes evident that the work hasn’t been constructed out of individual elements but rather cast in stone-like concrete as a unified form. We see that the “mortar” is exactly the same as the “block” itself and that the entire sculpture is consistent in color, texture, and finish. The “missing” corner elements were never there but are instead deliberately composed openings that allow transparency and access to the interior space.

Do Espírito Santo speaks of the work as a kind of “idealized ruin” that is also a metaphorical playground. As a child the artist loved to play with building blocks. Given its architectural materials and oversized scale, Playground is a bit like a blown up cartoon image of a child’s fantasy building. At the same time, the artist has created a subtle and elegant play between perception and reality, construction and destruction, and between idealized form and everyday objects and materials.

This exhibition is presented by Public Art Fund.

Courtesy of Madison Square Conservancy

Giuseppe Penone, Ideas of Stone
September 26, 2013 to February 9, 2014
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:

Three 30-foot tall bronze trees by renowned Italian artist Giuseppe Penone are now installed in Madison Square Park. Ideas of Stone (Idee di pietra), featuring Penone’s signature manipulation of the trees’ natural forms, will interact with the park’s lush landscape to highlight the relationships amongst man, sculpture and nature. The installation will remain on view daily from September 26, 2013 through February 9, 2014 in Madison Square Park.

Throughout his 40–year career, Penone has employed natural materials and forms in an exploration of the contrasting and fundamental relationships between man and nature. Penone was a member of the Italian Arte Povera movement, which was comprised of artists who sought to dissolve divisions between art and life by using commonplace subjects and materials in their work. Trees as living sculpture is a recurring theme for Penone. He often manipulates these natural forms by twisting, deconstructing, hollowing, and uprooting the organic figures. He incorporates traces of fingerprints, nails, wires, carvings, and precariously placed boulders as remnant evidence of the sculptures’ manmade composition and the effect of human interaction with the natural world. Penone addresses concepts of weight, balance, and scale, while merging the manmade and the organic.

This exhibition is presented by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Courtesy of NYC Parks

Cracking Art Group, REgeneration Project
December 10, 2013 to January 4, 2014
Columbus Circle
Central Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

Four giant red snails created by the Cracking Art Group have been placed around the famous Christopher Columbus monument at Columbus Circle, Manhattan. Curated by owner and director of Galleria Ca’ d’Oro, Gloria Porcella, the exhibition will last through January 6th, 2014. The eight foot snails are part of the REgeneration Art Project and are made of recyclable plastic obtained from landfills. The Cracking Art Group is committed to social and environmental concerns, and an innovative use of different recyclable plastic materials. Before arriving to Columbus Circle, the snails had been displayed in Central Park’s Rumsey Field and could also be found at the famous Italian food market Eataly.

This exhibition is presented by Galleria Ca’ d’Oro and Villa Firenze Foundation.

Queens

Jade Chan, In Flight, Courtesy of NYC Parks

Jade Chan, In Flight
July 2013 to July 2014
Shorefront Parkway between Beach 77 Street and Beach 107 Street, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

The Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project is the longest mural in New York City, covering a 1.5 mile stretch of road along the beach in Rockaway, Queens. NYC Parks invited artists and designers to envision the surface of these ordinary barriers as canvases for art. Members of the community helped to select the top three designs that grace the surface of these barriers and paint the murals.

This project was made possible thanks to a partnership between NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Transportation, the Community Affairs Unit (CAU) of the Office of the Mayor, NYC Service, and community groups, including the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, Rockaway Artists Alliance, and Friends of Rockaway Beach. Benjamin Moore generously donated 420 gallons of paint to the Mayorâ??s Fund to Advance New York City for this initiative.

Jade Chan's design for the Rockaway barriers is titled In Flight. When she visited Rockaway Beach, she was inspired by the warmth, the sun and the colors that jumped out at her from the sky, water and sand. The sound of the surf and the breeze upon her skin was exhilarating. She observed the birds in flight and was inspired by this free and liberating vision. Chan sees In Flight as a representation of the freedom and strength of the human spirit.

Learn more about the Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project.

Patty Harris, Ride the Wave, Courtesy of NYC Parks

Patty Harris, Ride the Wave
July 2013 to July 2014
Shorefront Parkway, Between Beach 74 Street and Beach 107 Street, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

The Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project is the longest mural in New York City, covering a 1.5 mile stretch of road along the beach in Rockaway, Queens. NYC Parks invited artists and designers to envision the surface of these ordinary barriers as canvases for art. Members of the community helped to select the top three designs that grace the surface of these barriers and paint the murals.

This project was made possible thanks to a partnership between NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Transportation, the Community Affairs Unit (CAU) of the Office of the Mayor, NYC Service, and community groups, including the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, Rockaway Artists Alliance, and Friends of Rockaway Beach. Benjamin Moore generously donated 420 gallons of paint to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City for this initiative.

As an artist, Patty Harris has created animations of floods and is fascinated by the way water moves. Experienced in looking closely at the sea, she pulled a few simple forms that suggest the movement and pattern of a wave. For the Shore Parkway barrier, Patty painted shapes that express the undulating movement of a wave. She added curved shapes that hold water of a slightly different color—just as actual water displays a range of hues. To this rhythmical simple pattern, Harris included the silhouetted forms of surfers at the crests of the waves.

Learn more about the Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project.

John Garcia, Untitled, Courtesy of NYC Parks

John Garcia, Untitled
July 2013 to July 2014
Shorefront Parkway, Between Beach 74 Street and Beach 107 Street, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

The Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project is the longest mural in New York City, covering a 1.5 mile stretch of road along the beach in Rockaway, Queens. NYC Parks invited artists and designers to envision the surface of these ordinary barriers as canvases for art. Members of the community helped to select the top three designs that grace the surface of these barriers and paint the murals.

This project was made possible thanks to a partnership between NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Transportation, the Community Affairs Unit (CAU) of the Office of the Mayor, NYC Service, and community groups, including the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, Rockaway Artists Alliance, and Friends of Rockaway Beach. Benjamin Moore generously donated 420 gallons of paint to the Mayorâ??s Fund to Advance New York City for this initiative.

As a surf regular of Rockaway Beach, John Garcia pays tribute to Rockaway Beachâ??s surf culture in his barrier mural. He has painted images of Rockaway surfers riding waves, along with the birds that often keep them company on the water and on the shore. These images of birds and surfers sit on top of an aquatic abstract backdrop that captures the mystery and beauty of the ocean. The barriers also include the text â??Welcome to the Rockawaysâ? as an invitation for others to experience the waves and serenity of Rockaway Beach.

Learn more about the Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project.

Toshihiro Oki architect, FOLLY: tree wood
May 12, 2013 to March 31, 2014
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens

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

Description:

Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League of New York are pleased to announce the selection of Toshihiro Oki architect for tree wood as the winner of this year’s “Folly” competition – an extraordinary opportunity for emerging architects and designers to experiment and build large-scale projects for outdoor exhibition.

tree wood will be a rigid yet airy geometrical wooden structure placed within a grove of trees – a lush and dense area at Socrates Sculpture Park. Visitors will peer into the structure through the floor beams where a formal, ornate chandelier will be suspended. The installation creates a dialogue between built structures and systems with the irregular and organic.

Toshihiro Oki architect consists of team members Toshihiro Oki, Jen Wood and Jared Diganci.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League of New York

Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park

Wangechi Mutu, A Sunset Satire
September 8, 2013 to March 31, 2014
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:

The latest Broadway Billboard was designed by artist Wangechi Mutu. Located at the park's main entrance, Wutu's 11' x 28' billboard is a vibrant scene that can be seen as visitors approach the park from Broadway.

Broadway Billboard is supported through generous contributions from Agnes Gund, Charina Endowment Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mark di Suvero, and Lambent Foundation.

This exhibition is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and by public funds from the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park.

Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park

Various Artists, EAF13: 2013 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition
September 8, 2013 to March 31, 2014
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:

Socrates is pleased to announce the opening of its fall exhibition featuring the latest works of artists to watch. In EAF13: 2013 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition, 15 new commissions on view respond very specifically to the park's unique waterfront, urban environment with conceptual and formal artworks that are visually compelling, subtly mysterious and, at times, provocative. Local and global subjects are presented alongside one and other, with topics such as the history, ecology, and panorama of the park confronting broader topics of international politics, militarization, and culture. Rather than being a thematic exhibition, each artist has a distinct artwork (and in some cases performance) that embodies his or her innovative exploration of sculpture.

This exhibition features the collective works of the park's 2013 Emerging Artists Fellows, each chosen through a rigorous application process; they are: Thordis Adalsteinsdottir; Diann Bauer; Michael DeLucia; Tamara Johnson; Anthony Heinz May; David McQueen; Kenneth Pietrobono; Aida Šehovic Sandy Smith; Edouard Steinhauer; Christopher Taylor; Justin Randolph Thompson; Hong-An Truong; Gustabo Velazquez; and Myung Gyun You.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park.

Staten Island

Karlis Rekevics All-Too-Familiar Tangle photo by Karley Klopfenstein

Karlis Rekevics, All-Too-Familiar Tangle
June 27, 2013 to June 27, 2014
Tappen Park, Staten Island
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Recipient of the third annual Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award, Karlis Rekevics is drawn to the overlooked part of our urban landscape that we regularly see but rarely register: bridge supports, store facades, guardrails, signs, and scaffolding. After documenting notable forms and architecture around the park, Rekevics created a series of wooden molds that combine recognizable elements in altered scales. The monumental All-Too-Familiar Tangle references the wooden bollards that line the coast near the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the neo-classical limestone columns and rounded portico entryway of the landmarked Staten Island Savings Bank located at 81 Water Street. Further investigation reveals the dormer window details from the park’s historic Village Hall conflated with the defining form of the sculpture—a wall-like structure with three peaks and low windows that echoes the distinctive pink design that covers the face of 7 Beach Street.

More information on the Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award or Park Art in the Parks program

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