2010 Arsenal Gallery Exhibits

Exhibits by Year:

December 9, 2010 – January 6, 2011

Wreath Interpretations

Parks & Recreation celebrates the holiday season with its 28th annual exhibition of 31 unique, unconventional wreaths. A diverse selection of fine artists, metal workers, horticulturalists, designers, and other spirited contributors enliven this ageless holiday symbol. Materials such as drink umbrellas, dolls, Papier-mâché, welded steel and giant doilies are used to examine themes from the Great War to Franken-fish. The individuals and groups who produced the pieces are: Carolyn Antonucci-Almeida, Jennifer Cecere, Angelyn Chandler, Gabriela Cisneros, John Clark, Oliver Corwin, Edward Gormley, Parks Department Grants Unit, Judith Hoffman Corwin, Larry Hagberg, the Horticultural Society of New York, Anastasia Ionkin, Vilde Kleppe Braanaas, Lea Mairet, Abigail Malate, George Kroenert, Karen Overton and Bob Mitchell, Richard Pean, Wendy Popp, Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, Eileen Remor, Leonora Retsas, John Saunders, Adrian Smith, Michiko Shimojou, Amie Uhrynowski and David Carlson, Barbara Wallace, Takeshi Yamada, Madeline Yanni, Audrey Zeidman and Deborah Zingale.

 Jennifer Cecere, Rose Wreath, rip stop nylon and acrylic

November 4–November 30, 2010

The Everglades: Vanishing Splendor

This exhibition is a striking collection of photographs from Anthony Almeida's seven-year photo essay on the threatened state of the Florida Everglades. Almeida increases our environmental consciousness with images of the watershed's landscapes and species. In over forty black and white and color images, he offers a contemporary view of one of few remaining primordial environments. Snowy egrets, spoonbills, and blue herons in mid-flight will enliven the walls of the Arsenal Gallery. Almeida also creates vibrant mosaics of saw grass marshes, mangroves, and crawling currents.

For thousands of years, the Everglades have served as a sanctuary to countless species of plants and animals, many now endangered. As the nation's third largest park, the glades are home to over a thousand species of plants and 350 species of water fowl. Yet only half of the original habitat remains and the avian population has plummeted in recent years. The magnificent creatures recorded by Almeida's lens now succumb to increasing pollution, hyper-salination, and drought from modified waterways.

Anthony Almeida, Everglades Landscape 1

September 17–October 28, 2010


For Arboreal, artists Barbara Andrus, Avy Claire, Nancy Manter and Adele Ursone have produced a striking variety of paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures that rely on the shared vocabulary of trees. In visual language, alternately bold and nuanced, their independent artistic voices render a rich aesthetic tableaux. Inspired by the urban and rural forest, these works raise our awareness of our environment, its resilience, complexity and majesty.

For this exhibition in the heart of Central Park, the four artists have created new artwork inspired by one of New York City’s greatest assets–its trees. There are 5.2 million trees in New York City’s five boroughs. Approximately half of them live within the Parks system–24,000 trees in Central Park alone. Since 2007, MillionTreesNYC has planted more than 375,000 new trees in the city towards its goal of one million by 2017.

Nancy Manter, Dew Driven

June 23–September 9, 2010

Before They Were Parks

The Arsenal Gallery is pleased to present Before They Were Parks, an exhibition exploring the pre-park existence of numerous city parks—including former estates, industrial sites, reservoirs, cemeteries, vacant lots, natural preserves and tenement districts—and the stories of their transformation into urban amenities.  The exhibition features more than 100 vintage and contemporary photographs, as well as memorabilia and objects including an artist’s model for the forthcoming Frederick Douglass Memorial and an 18th-century gravestone recently unearthed in Washington Square Park.  Thirty-six parks, from the Bronx to Staten Island, are highlighted, including the High Line, Bryant Park, Jefferson Market Garden, the Brooklyn Promenade, Lincoln Center, Fresh Kills, Elmhurst Park, and Concrete Plant Park. 

Exhibit curated by Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Art & Antiquities for NYC Parks & Recreation.

Read more about the history of parks in the Before They Were Parks page.

Before They Were Parks

May 6–June 18, 2010

Transitory Space

Transitory Space, an exhibition featuring multiple exposure photography by New York-based artist Leah Oates, includes recent photographs from her ongoing series that portrays the complex relationships between humans and nature.

The exhibition focuses on Oates’ travels to Beijing, Newfoundland, and New York’s own Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park, highlighting the delicate balance between the natural and built environment. Her photographs are lush and at times disquieting, as she documents the breadth of man’s imprint on nature.

Oates’ photographs of New York City parks portray the unexpected beauty of primeval forests and natural botanicals thriving in the cityscape. Her use of multiple exposure photography translates particularly well in her photographs of Newfoundland’s power lines: multiple apertures fuse the lines and branches together making them indistinguishable from each other. A less symbiotic relationship between manmade and organic environments is depicted in her haunting photographs of Chinese hutongs. These historic alleyways condemned for future paved roads and high-rises have been reclaimed in the interim by nature. The sites in Transitory Space are in a constant state of unrest—flush with “messy human energy”—and complicated bonds between individuals and their surroundings

Transitory Space

March 4–April 22, 2010

Outside In

Outside In, Melanie Fischer’s installation of fabric foliage, transforms the Arsenal Gallery into a textile wonderland. Fischer creates a fanciful retreat, relying on materials that would not exist without technology—such as Astroturf and printed fabrics—yet still craft a tactile experience normally lost in our increasingly virtual world. For the next six weeks, an animated Central Park will slip into the Arsenal building for this playful illusion. For more information, please call (212) 360-8163.

Outside In

February 1–February 25, 2010

The Power of Play: Celebrating Black History Month

This exhibition of over thirty artworks includes paintings, quilts,  contemporary and historical photographs and textiles. More than twenty artists, Parks & Recreation employees, retirees, and members of recreation centers have contributed artwork on the theme of recreation for the exhibition.

This year’s contributions include Saint John’s Recreation Center’s colorful quilt composed of familiar recreational sites enjoyed around New York City, as well as Robert Carter’s depiction of two boys testing the physical and gravitational limits of basketball in Hoops.  Photographer Anthony Almeida returns to the Arsenal Gallery with a selection of photographs, which explore both the carefree and spiritual power of recreation.

This exhibition also features a series of black and white photographs from the Parks Department archive highlighting the African American experience in New York City’s public parks. 

View an online photo gallery of historic images.

The Power of Play: Celebrating Black History Month

January 11–January 15, 2010

Materials to Masterpieces: Parks’ Afterschool Participants Create with Materials for the Arts

Children from thirty-two Parks Afterschool Programs have produced this vibrant sample of artworks with supplies donated from Materials for the Arts. Three thousand children in New York City are served by the Parks Afterschool Program where they learn to explore a multitude of media including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Since 1978, Materials for the Arts has provided thousands of New York City's arts and educational organizations with supplies that would normally enter the city’s waste stream, promoting creativity and resourcefulness.

Materials to Masterpieces: Parks? Afterschool Participants Create with Materials for the Arts

History of the Arsenal

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