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The Daily Plant : Tuesday, May 18, 2004

NEW ARTWORKS ALIGHT ON NEW YORK CITY’S PARKS


New York City’s parks are works of art. They also welcome a host of temporary art installations throughout the year. In the upcoming months, a number of new projects will be exhibited in New York City’s parks.

In Carl Schurz Park, Dorothy Frankel, an artist based in Sag Harbor, New York, will exhibit three sculptures from her Sign Language series on John Finley Walk at 86th Street. The three bronzes, entitled Connection, L.O.V.E., and I Love You, depict hands forming words and phrases in sign language. For Frankel, the hand gestures of sign language represent a form of visual poetry and communicate powerful and positive images of the human condition. The sculptures will be on view from June to November, 2004.

Beyond Metamorphosis, a site-specific installation by artist Victor Matthews, will be on view at The Battery from June 7 through June 20, 2004. The exhibition is fiscally sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC). Spanning across the park’s three-acre lawn, Matthews will construct a grid of nearly 3,000 umbrellas, each individually hand-painted with a rendering of a monarch butterfly. In his studio, the artist has painted the butterfly image directly onto the cotton canvas of the umbrellas using black, orange, and yellow water-based paints. The project will be one of the largest public art installations ever exhibited in the park. Whether viewed from near or afar, the umbrellas will create a stunning and vibrant impression of a migrating flutter of flame-colored butterflies.

To mark the fifth year of Madison Square Art, a program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, three monumental works by the internationally renowned sculptor Mark di Suvero will be on view in the park from June 4 to October 31, 2004. The exhibition includes three steel-beam sculptures never displayed in New York City, including two works never before exhibited: Aesope’s Fables (1990), Double Tetrahedron (2004), and Beyond (2004).

A force in contemporary sculpture since the 1950s, Mark di Suvero is one of the most important American artists to have emerged from the Abstract Expressionist era. The three sculptures in Madison Square Park demonstrate the expressive range of di Suvero’s epic steel-beam constructions, from the classically vertical Double Tetrahedron, to the tethered shapes in conversation of Aesope’s Fables, to the organic form gathering from the earth in Beyond.

Mark di Suvero’s signature steel-beam constructions suggest strength, beauty, and form on a monumental scale. Visitors to Madison Square Park will walk through, under, and around the pieces, allowing active participation in the dynamics of the sculptures. His sculptures combine the natural environment with the industrial and draw on his own experience of places and objects.

Brooklyn-based artist Leonard Ursachi will exhibit Refuge in Duarte Square from July to September, 2004. Like much of Ursachi’s work, the shape of Refuge reflects an interest in house-like structures that resemble small bunkers. This artwork is an 8-foot bunker with walls of large resin-coated white turkey feathers. The artwork almost seems to act as a poetic puzzle, inviting viewers to consider the meaning of this incongruous combination of sturdy architecture and light feathers.

From September 20 through November 22, 2004, Parks & Recreation, the Broadway Mall Association, and Marlborough Gallery will showcase Tom Otterness on Broadway, an exhibition of 25 sculptures by New York sculptor Tom Otterness that will stretch from Columbus Circle to Washington Heights. The exhibition represents the first large display of temporary public art on the Broadway Malls, the landscaped medians on Broadway from 60th to 168th Streets.

Considered one of the premier public artists working in the United States, Tom Otterness has exhibited widely and has completed commissions in the United States and abroad. His stylized bronze figures combine into sculptural ensembles that explore the range of human experience, from grand ambition to common foibles, plucking imagery and themes from popular culture and subtly transforming them into humorous commentary. This show will include Marriage of Real Estate and Money, as well as more recent works whose subjects are drawn from fairy tale and myth. Reflecting the artist’s use of scale to establish complex relationships between his sculpture and their surroundings, the works featured in Tom Otterness on Broadway range in size from Boy and Dog, which measures a mere 20-inches tall, to Escaping Leg, standing over 20-feet tall.


Venturing outside of Manhattan, Lina Puerta’s Confesiones desde el Vientre (Confessions from the Womb) will be on display in Manuel de Dios Unanue Triangle Park in Queens this fall. The installation will consist of 7 soft sculptures hanging from 15-foot poles. Each sculpture has the same basic shape, but they will be decorated individually to represent the stories of women who have immigrated to New York from Central and South America. As research for the project, the artist will interview women served by Centro Educativo Bolivariano and Safe Horizons, both in Jackson Heights, to learn about their experience. Puerta seeks to tell the stories of these women—their struggles, their dreams—through her artwork. The exhibition is sponsored by a grant from the Queens Council for the Arts.

Parks & Recreation’s temporary public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in City parks. Committed to the exhibition of art by emerging and established artists, Parks & Recreation has supported projects ranging from international exhibitions in flagship parks to local, community works in neighborhood parks and traffic islands.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and theother by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times moreeffective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment."

Mahatma Gandhi
(1869-1948)

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