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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

Courtesy of the artist

Bundith Phunsombatlert, Wayfinding: 100 NYC Public Sculptures
May 15, 2014 to November 15, 2014
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Wayfinding: 100 NYC Public Sculptures is a site-specific project that invites the public to embark on guided journeys through NYC to find public sculptures. Phunsombatlert researched all existing public sculptures in New York City and identified 100 sites to be incorporated in his final work. He then created small drawings of each sculpture and developed directional signs and maps that resemble standard U.S. National Park Service signage. The artwork is made up of signage for 100 public sculptures that contain distances drawn from GPS coordinates between each sculpture and the group of wooden posts outside of the Queens Museum at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The project is made possible by the generosity of the Athena Foundation, Awesome Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Location One, New York Foundation for the Arts’ Opportunity Grants, Puffin Foundation, Ltd., Puffin Foundation West, Ltd., Socrates Sculpture Park, Mark di Suvero, Anne Dunning, Rob Herschenfeld, James T. MacGregor & Claire Montgomery, Ivana Mestrovic, and Jan Mun.

Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park

Pawel Althamer, Queen Mother of Reality
May 11, 2014 to August 3, 2014
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Queen Mother of Reality by Pawel Althamer is a monumental, mixed media sculpture of an elegant figure that is peacefully reclining in the shaded southern section of the park overlooking the East River waterfront. Althamer’s sculpture is dedicated to and inspired by “Queen Mother” Dr. Delois Blakely, a U.S. Ambassador of Goodwill to Africa,who has been the Community Mayor of Harlem since she was sworn in by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1995. Queen Mother of Reality serves as a call to highlight the numerous displaced and homeless of New York City – Dr. Blakely’s paramount cause.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park in collaboration with Performa, and in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.

Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park

Zilvinas Kempinas, Scarecrow
May 11, 2014 to August 3, 2014
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Scarecrowis a new site-specific installation by artist Zilvinas Kempinas and the largest installation in Socrates’ 28-year history. Minimal and magical, the sculpture will be a 250-foot-long, thirteen-foot-high kinetic pathway composed of 200 stainless steel, mirrored poles connecting energetic slopes of silver Mylar ribbon overhead. With two simple elements – poles and tape – Scarecrow activates the invisible forces of nature. Scarecrow will reflect its surrounding environment and thus will continuously change throughout the exhibition. The perpetual motion of the ribbon, as it responds to the wind of its environment, will echo the natural flowing of the nearby East River, while the mirrored material will reflect momentary shifts of light and sky like a shimmering horizon along the waterfront.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park.

Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park

Austin + Mergold, SuralArk
May 11, 2014 to August 3, 2014
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

SuralArk by Jason Timberlake Austin and Aleksandr Mergold, of the Philadelphia-based architectural firm Austin+Mergold, is the winning proposal for Folly 2014, an annual design / build competition co-organized by The Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park. This residency and exhibition explores the intersections among architecture, design, and sculpture through an interpretation of the architectural folly. The project was selected from over 170 submissions by a jury of architects and artists, including Chris Doyle, artist; John Hatfield, Socrates Sculpture Park; Enrique Norten, TEN Arquitectos; Lisa Switkin, James Corner Field Operations; and Ada Tolla, LOT-EK.

The 2014 Folly program is made possible by a generous grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park.

Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park

Meshac Gaba, Broadway Billboard: Citoyen Du Monde
May 11, 2014 to August 3, 2014
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Citoyen du Monde, the park’s spring Broadway Billboard by the Beninese artist Meschac Gaba, is the artist’s vision for a global flag. Created by elongating individual flags from every country in the world into narrow triangles that converge at a central point, this optically spectacular work presents a humorous image of idealism and optimism for resolutions to the difficulties and crises that divide our world. The singularity of each flag is lost in the rhythm of the composition as is the case in the age of globalization where national borders merge into the international. Greeting visitors at the entrance to the park, this large scale utopic graphic broadcasts a message of unity that reflects Socrates’ mission to introduce art to the broadest spectrum of people possible.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park, Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.

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.

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