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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.

2015

Bronx

Courtesy of the Art Students League

Art Students League, Tree of Life
June 12, 2014 to June 1, 2015
Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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 NYC Parks that has culminated in the installation of the monumental sculpture, Tree of Life, at Van Cortlandt Park.

The sculpture was created by an international team of seven selected League students during a nine-month program. In its fourth year, ASL created worked closely with the naturalists from Van Cortlandt Park to identify specific invertibre that are native to the area. The information they discovered was used by the artists to recreate artistic interpretations of the specimens. These interpretations are attached to a 12 foot tree-like structure. Tree of Life will be an educational experience for park visitors. The artists are: Laura Barmack, Janet Fekete-Bolton, Ana Sofìa Martì, Lindsay McCosh, Phyllis Sanfiorenzo, Natsuki Takauji, and Minako Yoshino.

A collaborative installation created by the team is also on concurrently on view in Riverside South Park in Manhattan. This exhibition is presented with the Art Students League.

Brooklyn

Beka Goedde, Fictitious Force, photograph courtesy of the artist

Beka Goedde, Fictitious Force
April 20, 2015 to April 19, 2016
Washington Park, Brooklyn
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Constructed from nearly 1,000 colorfully dyed concrete tiles, Fictitious Force is a temporary public art installation by artist Beka Goedde embedded in the lawn of the Old Stone House & Washington Park. The piece is arranged in concentric circles to resemble an early American hooked or braided rug, and intended to be trod upon like paving stones. This historic site of the American Revolution is particularly suited to host a work that references traditional American craft. While meditative and still, the pattern of the piece conveys a sense of movement that echoes the energy of the nearly 3,000 people attracted to the park daily.

Fictitious Force is presented with The Old Stone House & Washington Park. This exhibit is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

Leonard Ursachi, Fat Boy at the Ringling Museum of Art.

Leonard Ursachi, Fat Boy
May 1, 2015 to November 10, 2015
Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Description:

The latest in Ursachi’s decades-long “bunker” series, Fat Boy is an oversized head embedded with three recessed bunker windows fitted with mirrors instead of glass. Measuring 9.5 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide, the artwork was carved from styrofoam and covered in a weatherproof, cementitious material. Fat Boy is Ursachi’s first bunker sculpture in the form of a head. His previous bunkers, one of which was on view in at the entrance of Prospect Park off Grand Army Plaza in 2007, have been cylindrical and made with a variety of materials such as turkey feathers, willow branches, and ceramic tiles. “My bunkers reference not only war but also nests, shelter and refuge. They are as much about longing for home as they are about conflict, ” states Ursachi.

Fat Boy is based on a classical Western putto, or male child often depicted in Renaissance and Baroque artworks. “Since antiquity,” says the artist, “putti have been malleable signifiers, representing, among other things, Eros, panic, abandon, and joy.” Fat Boy’s title derives not only from his plump, cherubic face, but also from the WWII atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, giving the sculpture twin references to Eros and war.

Fat Boy was first exhibited at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, which is a partial sponsor of this exhibit. The exhibition is also in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance.

Manhattan

Kris Martin, Altar, Courtesy of the Friends of the High Line.

Various Artists, Panorama
April 23, 2015 to March 2016
The High Line, Manhattan

Description:

Panorama is an open-air exhibition that takes inspiration from the High Line as an urban park cutting straight through the city, creating new vistas and vantage points onto the surrounding natural and man-made landscapes. The High Line is the ideal stage for this series of sculptures and installations, all of which explore the act of seeing and understanding the spectacle of nature. The exhibition challenges historical notions of the sublime, quasi-religious experiences of “untouched” nature, and the debate on the manicured versus the ostensibly natural garden, opening up the possibility for experiencing nature in its necessarily human-impacted state. *Olafur Eliasson’s The Collectivity Project will be on view from mid-May to mid-September 2015.

Panorama will feature eleven international artists: Mariana Castillo Deball, Olafur Eliasson, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ryan Gander, Kris Martin, Damián Ortega, Gabriel Sierra, Katrín Sigurðardóttir, Yutaka Sone, Kaari Upson, Andro Wekua,

This exhibition is presented by the Friends of the High Line.

Rashid Johnson, Plateaus, 2014. Steel, spray enamel, plants, ceramic, concrete, plastic, brass, burned wood, grow lamps, CB radios, shea butter, rugs, books; 228 x 180 x 180 inches. Photo by Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

Rashid Johnson, Blocks
May 2015 to March 2016
The High Line, Manhattan

Description:

Inspired by a childhood steeped in African American cultural influences, Rashid Johnson creates layered artworks that engage a conversation between personal biography and the implied gravitas of larger cultural and historical narratives. Johnson works predominantly in mixed media sculptures and paintings, combining bare materials such as mirror, wood, and shea butter with loaded iconic objects including record covers, CB radios, historical books, and common domestic objects. Throughout his career, Johnson has explored the ways in which we form our sense of belonging to races and communities, investigating the relationship between familiar objects and identity.

For his High Line Commission, Johnson will build one of his minimalist three-dimensional steel black grids, which will house a variety of objects including busts painted to resemble shea butter (a material commonly used by the artist), and will act as a living greenhouse as plants on the High Line begin to intertwine with the sculpture over the year of its installation. Playing with forms taken from the Minimalist tradition – Sol LeWitt’s white open cubes come to mind – Johnson turns them into a reflection on blackness by breaking the rational structure open and embedding loaded objects within it.

Installed in an oblong island of plants growing between pathways on the High Line just south of The Standard, High Line, the sculpture will change over the course of its installation, the empty rectilinear vessel becoming a horticultural container as the seasons pass. The work reflects the artist’s ongoing interest in a line from a book by Lawrence Weiner called “Something to Put Something On,” in which the concept “table” is explained as “something to put something on.” This semiotic explication resonates with Johnson, who pushes its implications toward thinking about the ways in which lives, cultures, and historical arcs are a mere practice of putting some things on top other things that are imagined to be taken as given, such as the exemplary case of the table.

This exhibition is presented by the Friends of the High Line.

Allen Glatter, Toro, photograph courtesy of the artist

Allen Glatter, Toro
April 17, 2015 to March 20, 2016
Ahearn Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

“At first sight, the sculpture of Allen Glatter might appear to be a literal take on Paul Klee’s remark that a drawing is simply a line going on a walk. Each work, including Toro, takes the form of a continuous curve zigzagging through space, rising from the ground to above eye level and traversing the better part of a gallery room, or in the case of the outdoor work, a sidewalk. Constructed from seamlessly joined steel tubing, uniform in diameter, the freestanding sculptures simultaneously gather and perforate the spaces around them. Walking around the work produces a pleasant feeling that seems to derive from a rhythm of anticipation and surprise; despite the few formal elements involved, the overall experience varies radically from one vantage point to another. Each sculpture has a definite axis, and when viewed in that direction, the piece tends to open up into a number of loop windows. Though there are many changes of direction in its path, the curve is less of a meandering walk than a sequence of turns, an itinerary.”

Excerpted from a text by Philip Ording.

This exhibit is sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts.

Anthony Heinz May, Txiti Hìtkuk, Photo courtesy of NYC Parks.

Anthony Heinz May, Txiti Hitkuk
October 5, 2014 to September 20, 2015
First Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Heinz May’s site specific installations are created with trees that have been uprooted or removed from public spaces. Txiti Hìtkuk consists of a London Plane tree appropriated from NYC Parks. Heinz May transplanted the trunk in the planting bed alongside existing rose bushes and London Plane trees and pixelated its appearance into a cluster of wooden cubes. The tree trunk, though untouched at its base, starts to fragment into numerous blocks that are held together with a pin system.

Through his sculpture, Heinz May addresses the dialogue between preservation and degradation; real and artificial; and obsoletion and sustainability. Additionally, he draws parallels between our society and its growing use of technology with his transformation of raw materials into a gridded system. He alters the recycled trees into a three-dimensional representations of two-dimensional organization found in digital imagery---noting that they act like “dissolving digitized glitches in the landscape, symbolizing human interaction within nature through a technological lens.”

While researching the Lenape and the Wickquasgeck Trail (an early north-south trading route in what is now Manhattan), Heinz May came across an online translator for Unami/Delaware languages.  The title, Txiti Hìtkuk (pronunciation 'Touee-tee Heet-kook') roughly translates to “Few Trees,” which references the city as it is now in relation to how it was then.

This project is presented in part by First Street Green

Sebastian Masuda, Time After Time Capsule, photograph courtesy of the artist.

Sebastian Masuda, Time After Time Capsule
April 29, 2015 to September 13, 2015
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Time After Time Capsule, a nine-foot tall, translucent sculpture is in the shape of Hello Kitty packed full of personal objects collected from everyday New Yorkers and is just half a block from Japan Society Gallery, where the exhibition Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection, with over 130 cat-focused woodblock prints, paintings, and other artworks from 18th to early 20th century is on display.

Time after Time Capsule is a creation of Sebastian Masuda, a Japanese artist and an instigator of Japan’s craze over kawaii (cute) culture gone global. Masuda has been behind the empowerment of cute girland youth-culture since 1995 through his artful and colorful concept shop 6%DOKIDOKI in Tokyo’s fashion destination Harajuku. Masuda has made it his mission to encourage people to recall their childlike sense of wonder by transmitting kawaii culture.

Time After Time Capsule is part of an ongoing, multi-city participatory project with like capsules displayed last year in Miami, this year in New York and Amsterdam, and future cities currently under consideration. In each location, the artist plans a series of children and family workshops collaborating with the project’s community to create colorful objects using their personal items and cute objects from 6%DOKIDOKI. The objects created by the participants will be inserted into the capsule sculpture coloring the work as more items are added throughout the duration of the installation. All will be united in 2020 in Tokyo to mark the Tokyo Olympics, bringing together the contained memories from all the participating cities.

This exhibition is presented by the Japan Society and the Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.

Adrian Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God, photo courtesy of Friends of the High Line

Adrian Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God
September 21, 2014 to Summer 2015
The High Line, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas is known for his large-scale, site-specific sculptural installations that transform their environs into a vision of their own potential future. Employing a unique mixture of cement and clay, Villar Rojas imbues his sculptures with a material destined to crumble while on view. His works combine the daunting scale of conventional public sculptures with a precarious fragility, keeping viewers mindful of the ephemerality of even the most imposing monoliths.

For the High Line, the artist presents The Evolution of God, a new, site-specific installation composed of thirteen abstract sculptures which punctuate the wild, self-seeded landscape of the High Line at the Rail Yards, and creates a sculptural progression and a rhythmic sequence of forms, reminiscent of a musical score. This new project extends the artist’s own traditional treatment of materials, by integrating organic elements such as seeds, vegetables, and other perishable components inspired by the natural landscape on the High Line as well as non-perishable items such as clothing, sneakers, and rope. Seemingly sturdy, the sculptures will instead turn into living organisms, revealing the passage of time through vegetal sprouts and tectonic cracks, which will slowly return the sculptures to the surrounding landscape.

This exhibition is presented by Friends of the High Line

Tatiana Trouve, Desire Lines, Photo by NYC Parks

Tatiana Trouve, Desire Lines
March 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015
Doris C. Freedman Plaza
Central Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Description:

For her first public commission in the United States, Tatiana Trouvé has made a work that responds to Central Park. She came to see the miles of pedestrian paths that traverse its landscape as similar to the arteries of a living being. There’s no singular way to walk through the park, but rather a multitude of possible routes that may be followed according to our own desires.

Drawing on existing maps, Trouvé isolated all of the marked pathways in the park and estimated their distances. She identified 212, from secluded paths to prominent thoroughfares, ranging in length from around 60 feet to four miles. Translating her research into three-dimensional form, Trouvé created three large-scale storage racks that house a total of 212 spools. Each spool is wound with rope equivalent in length to a corresponding pathway and labeled to identify its location in the park.

Trouvé’s work is also a reflection on the broader cultural significance of walking. It’s an activity that ranges from personal recreation to political statement, and has inspired poets, musicians, writers, and artists. Thus, Trouvé has associated each pathway with a title drawn from culture and history that relates to walking. In this way, Desire Lines is both a systematic inventory of the park and an invitation to explore the political and poetic resonance of the simple act of taking a walk.

This exhibition is presented by the Public Art Fund.

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