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Socrates Sculpture Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, March 19, 2001

WOMAN ARTISTS AND ADMINISTRATORS ASSEMBLE FOR A PANEL DISCUSSION


The Arsenal Gallery is the indoor epicenter of New York City's largest outdoor sculpture garden: Parks. 300 sculptures and 1,700 monuments exist in the permanent collection, and an average of 50 temporary pieces are exhibited each year.

Parks welcomes art into the city's green spaces in the belief that the potency of art and the potency of nature reinforce one another. In practice, an examination of one reveals the variety of the other. A look at Parks' public art reveals virtually every type of urban landscape. Likewise, the works exhibited are as different from each other as salt marshes are from street trees.

On Wednesday evening, March 13, 2001 Arts and Antiquities hosted a panel discussion with four public art administrators and one visual artist. They were asked to speak about the role of women in the public art world today. Alyson Baker, Executive Director of the Socrates Sculpture Park; Michele Cohen, Program Director for Public Art for Public Schools; Wopo (PowWow) Holup, Sculptor; Jonathan (Archive) Kuhn, Director of Arts and Antiquities; and Sally Webster, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Lehman College and The Graduate Center CUNY participated. Adrian (Sassafras) Sas, Public Art Coordinator organized and moderated the panel.

At a similar event 13 years ago, entitled "Women and Public Art: Past and Present," Diana (Huntress) Chapin, Planning Commissioner, moderated a conversation with Jennifer McGregor-Cutting, Director of the Percent for Art program of the Department of Cultural Affairs; Adrian (A-Train) Benepe, Director of Art and Antiquities; and artists Kit-Yin Snyder and Elizabeth (The Cricket) Egbert whose work is included in the exhibit now on view in the Gallery. Since then, women's representation in Parks' public art has increased. Adrian Sas notes that from 1980 to the present, women's participation in Parks' temporary art program has increased by 13 percent, from 20 percent of installed works to 33 percent.

The approach Parks takes to public art reflects our mission to provide public spaces where people are welcomed in their diversity. It is also part of Parks' charge to provide spaces for the contemplation of beauty-natural and crafted. Like the parks themselves, the work we exhibit often come with an invitation to interact with them. The temporary art program, like the living things in parks, follows a cycle that could be called seasonal. Just as the growth of trees and the blooming of flowers alters the landscape of the park, the rotation of artworks creates new vistas.

Parks' temporary art program is currently showing Esther Grillo's Surf's Up, converted bus shelters in Rockaway; Agora by Antonia Papatzanaki in which cylinders of light in Battery Park recall the public meeting spaces of the artist's native Greece; Steve Tobin's Termite Hills which are actual termite homes cast in bronze; and three other pieces.

PARKIES GRIEVE FOR JEANETTE BOYD'S FATHER

Reverend Dr. John J. Sass, father of Jeanette (Dynamite) Boyd, passed away on March 11, 2001. We offer Jeanette our condolences.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Monday, March 28, 1988)

HARRY HOUDINI'S 114TH BIRTHDAY
BRINGS MAGIC TO CENTRAL PARK

Poof! With a flick of the wrist magicians Jack Young and Torkova made coins, magical rings, ropes, and Devil's Food cake mysteriously materialize at the Chess and Checkers House in Central Park. The magic conjured up last Friday honored the 114th birthday of the immortal magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini.

Sitting wide-eyed through the hour-long show of illusion and trickery were fifth graders from P.S. 6 and youngsters from Trinity, Cadman and Park Center Preschools in Manhattan. Not only were the youngsters amazed, they were also amused.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"The protein of our cultural imagination."

Robert Hughes (b. 1938) on an art exhibit

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