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The Daily Plant : Monday, February 3, 2003

CITY HALL PARK HOSTS "METROSPECTIVE"


City Hall Park was covered in a thin blanket of snow on Wednesday, January 29, when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the opening of "MetroSpective" at City Hall Park, the first temporary public art exhibition in City Hall Park since 1992. The exhibit, presented by the Public Art Fund, includes six works that were previously on display at the MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn. "MetroSpective," so-named because it is a "retrospective" of the best contemporary works at the MetroTech Center, will be on display for six months, (until July 1, 2003.) The Mayor was joined by Commissioner Benepe, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman, Public Art Fund Director Tom Eccles, Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO Bruce Ratner, as well as the seven artists whose works are on display.

The Mayor, standing in front of Brian Tolle’s Witch Catcher, explained that no witch would ever venture down a twisting chimney, like the work, although he added that according to his reliable sources, Santa Clause would not be hindered by such a chimney.

"We are very grateful that this administration is supportive of the arts," said Public Art Fund President Freedman. "Even during these tough economic times, this administration has sent a clear message to artists that they are not forgotten."

The exhibition features seven local artists whose works cover numerous subjects including nature, public memorials, and childhood experience. The works chosen for "MetroSpective" were Art Domantay’s Balsa Wood Airplane: The Land That Time Forgot, a 15-foot replica of a balsa wood airplane; Ken Landauer’s Picnic Tables, two super-sized versions of a picnic table with appropriately sized nuts, bolts, and benches; Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz’s 9 to 5, a sculpture installed on two of the park’s trees, featuring beautiful bronze pears that appear to emerge from faucets and drop into awaiting buckets below; Peter Rostovsky’s Monument, which depicts a human figure standing alone at the edge of a daunting jutting mountain; Do-Ho Suh’s Maquette for Public Figures, a pedestal supported by miniature anonymous male and female figures; and Brian Tolle’s Witch Catcher, a large-scale installation of the architectural vestiges of a 17th Century New England home, featuring a brick chimney twisting 25 feet into the air and surrounded by the perimeter of the house’s foundation. Tolle’s Irish Hunger Memorial was recently added to New York City’s permanent art collection and stands in Battery Park City.

The works in "MetroSpective" complement other recent installations of contemporary art displayed in City Hall and on the front lawn of Gracie Mansion. Mayor Bloomberg, a public art enthusiast, believes that "MetroSpective" will bring many art lovers to Lower Manhattan. "Thanks to the Public Art Fund, the ‘MetroSpective’ exhibit contains a bold and imaginative spirit representative of the City’s talented artists and invaluable public arts programs," said the Mayor.

"This show underscores the significant improvements made to City Hall Park in recent years," said Commissioner Benepe. "Since the 17th Century, the land where this artwork stands has been an essential site of public gathering, and it contains significant sculptures of the 19th Century."

After the announcement, Public Art Fund Director Tom Eccles and the artists led a tour of the individual pieces. At each stop, the artists took a few minutes to describe the inspiration behind their works.

"MetroSpective" is now part of the Parks Department’s long tradition of exhibiting public art. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of art projects on parkland throughout the City. The Public Art Fund is New York’s leading presenter of artists’ projects, new commissions, installations, and exhibitions in public spaces. For the past twenty-five years, the Public Art Fund has identified, coordinated, and realized a diversity of major projects by both established and emerging artists throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, Parks and the Public Art Fund provide the public with spontaneous and unusual encounters with art.

Written by Hannah Gersen

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Go West, young man, and grow up with the country."

Horace Greeley

(February 3, 1811–1872)

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