2011 Arsenal Gallery Exhibits

Exhibits by Year:

December 14, 2011 – January 12, 2012

Wreath Interpretations

This year’s exhibition offers an eclectic collection of over 30 wreath interpretations, from classic organic to contemporary styles. More traditional wreaths are made from birch bark and harvested rice stalks, while other artists used more eclectic materials, such as paintbrushes, chopsticks, soldered metals, piano keys, a doily measuring 8’ and even money! This year, artists have approached a number of different themes including the use of animal furs in fashion, worldwide drought, extinct Pterodactyls, the 99%, and the coronation of Roman Emperor Charlemagne.

The individuals and groups who produced the pieces are: Jennifer Cecere, Angelyn Chandler, George Choma, John Clarke, Oliver Corwin, Cara Enteles, Terese Flores, Linnea Gad, Edward Gormley, Parks Department Grants Unit, Judith Hoffman Corwin, Larry Hagberg, the Horticultural Society of New York, Anastasia Ionkin, Lori Knowles, Stephen Koren, George Kroenert, Alexandra Leff, Kim Lomba, Bob Mitchell, Justin Nissley, Samantha Nurmi, Partnership for Parks’ Technical Assistance and Catalyst staff, Wendy Popp, Carolina Prinzivalli, Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, Colleen Reinhart, Leonora Retsas, Adrian Smith, Barbara Wallace, Takeshi Yamada, Madeline Yanni, and Audrey Zeidman.

Cara Enteles, Painter's Wreath, repurposed paint brushes, glue,  wire, 2011

October 27 – December 6, 2011

Ryan Hackett, Natural Synthetics

Intrigued by a common desire to find solace in feigned natural environments, Hackett manipulates the forms, colors, and sounds of the natural world into highly immersive experiences. He “samples” auditory and visual elements, repeating and manipulating the sound or image to create a hybrid composition, much like an electronic musician. In one of Hackett’s three new installations, the fluttering wings of a Monarch butterfly build into hypnotic ambient music. He views these pieces as meditative and infinite, rather than melodic, which has a finality that he associates with songs.

Hackett’s layered paintings diffuse photographs of animals and machines, joining them together with streamlined painted forms. The abdomen of a butterfly transforms into the body of the Mars Rover and an antenna imitates a deer’s branching antlers.  Appropriately exhibited in the Arsenal building, the gateway between one of Manhattan’s most active hubs, Fifth Avenue, and the Central Park Zoo—Hackett’s works are a vibrant multimedia experience that questions the dichotomy of artifice and nature.

Ryan Hackett, (Detail) Synthetic Snapping Turtle Shell with Aquatic Sound System and (Detail) Hybrid Transmission [ Monarch / Mars Rover , 2011, courtesy of Artist

September 8 – October 20, 2011

Inked Up: Printmakers and the Parks, The Art Students League of New York

Inked Up, an exhibition highlighting 30 artists from the Art Students League of New York, features 47 prints inspired by New York City’s park system. Since 1892, aspiring artists have flocked to the League’s elegant Beaux Arts building on West 57th Street to study with professional painters, printmakers and sculptors. Located just two blocks south of Central Park, the Art Students League offers its 2500 students easy access to the city's galleries, museums and the seasonal pleasures of its many parks. In those leafy retreats, League printmakers have discovered graceful bridges, stunning skylines and beguiling creatures. Returning to their studios, the artists translate experience into designs on linoleum blocks, metal plates, or stone slabs. “Inked up” and pressed to paper, these surfaces yield striking prints of our nation's best urban sanctuaries.

Printmakers in the show are: Julie Abraham, Susan Allbert, Charles Basman, Lillian Bayer, Samantha Beste, Brenda Berkman, Coco Berkman, Veronique Coutant–Godard, John Dorish, RM Gallinari, David Gordon, Sally Gordon, James Haggerty, Michael Hew Wing, Su–Li Hung, Martha Ives, June Julian, Julie Nadel, Mark Pagano, Scott Parker, Ira Robbins, John Salvi, Ellen Singer, Richard Sloat, Ekaterina Smirnova, Mayumi Takagi, Charlene Tarbox, Shira Toren, Michiko Yoshida and Bernard Zalon.

David Gordon, Dog Walk, 2010, hand colored lithograph, courtesy of the Art Students League

July 20 – August 26, 2011

Parks in Focus: Malcolm Pinckney and Daniel Avila

This photography exhibition highlights the diverse work of the Parks Department's photographers, Malcolm Pinckney and Daniel Avila. Parks in Focus exhibition features nearly 20 oversized color photographs that capture the vitality and variety of Parks' landscapes, people, and programming.

This selection of vibrant images represents some of the very best of the tens of thousands of photographs Pinckney and Avila have taken while working as staff photographers. These and other images by Pinckney and Avila are part of a tradition dating to 1934, when Parks Commissioner Robert Moses established an in-house photo unit to document parks acquisition, development and use. Since then this rich collection of images amassed through these photographers' efforts has documented the park system's evolution over generations while producing images of great artistry.

Malcolm Pinckney, Harlem River Ball Field at Night, 2008, courtesy of NYC Parks & Recreation

Daniel Avila, World's Fair Observation Towers, 2009, courtesy of NYC Parks & Recreation

May 2 – July 15, 2011

Full Circle: Ai Weiwei and the Emperor's Fountain

This photographic exhibition, on view between May 2 and July 15, looks behind the scenes at the complex history and concept behind the first major public sculpture in New York City by China’s most celebrated contemporary artist. Steps from the Arsenal Gallery, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads is on view beginning May 2 at the historic Pulitzer Fountain in Grand Army Plaza at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.

Full Circle focuses on the inspiration for Ai’s current project: the ransacked 18th-century zodiac fountain clock designed by European Jesuits for the imperial retreat known as the Yuanming Yuan (the Garden of Perfect Brightness). Although the European palaces of the Yuanming Yuan housed a multitude of treasures, it is these 12 bronze heads depicting the animals of the Chinese zodiac that have, over the past two decades, achieved the status of national treasures.

In an interesting twist of history, these ornamental figures have been transformed into powerful symbols of the tumult in 19th-century China: the cultural achievements of the early Qing era, the losses suffered in the Opium Wars, and the humiliations that followed. In his recasting of the fountain’s history, Ai creates new layers of meaning for the 12 zodiac heads, presenting them as an evocative symbol of contemporary China’s complicated understanding of its past and of its shifting relationship with the West.

Ai Weiwei with Dog's Head Sculpture, Courtesy of AW Asia

March 10 – April 15, 2011

Shane McAdams, Fresh Green Beast

The Arsenal Gallery is pleased to present Fresh Green Beast, a collection of paintings by Shane McAdams in which he explores the line between the natural and the manmade. Painstakingly executed romantic landscapes, including new paintings of Central Park, are enmeshed in a network of biomorphic abstractions made from mundane materials like Elmer's Glue, ballpoint pen and correction fluid. The materials' inherent properties and physical idiosyncrasies render the abstractions more natural that the accompanying scenery, thus testing the tradition of landscape paintings.

Shane McAdams, Synthetic Landscape (Green Beast)" 2011, jade glue, oil and acrylic on canvas over panel, 48 x 48 inches

February 2 – February 28, 2011

Heritage of Innovation: Celebrating Black History Month

In commemoration of Black History Month, the Arsenal Gallery is pleased to present Heritage of Innovation, an exhibition of over 30 artworks in a variety of media that feature culturally, politically, and socially innovative African Americans. From Lewis Latimer’s improvement of light bulb filaments to Alvin Ailey's enduring influence on modern dance, fourteen artists highlight individuals that have made a lasting impact on our lives. The artists include: Stephen Alcorn, Kwame Brathwaite, Amanda Diva, Andrew Eccles, Felicia Grant Preston, Lewis Latimer, Misha McGlown, Justin Nissley, Charly Palmer, Kaliyma Pearce, Ansel Pitcairn, Victor Polanco, Alison Saar, and Olga Torrey.

Stephen Alcorn, Abraham Lincoln Meets Frederick Douglass, 1994, Relief-block print

January 12 – January 27, 2011

Parks Potpourri

From planting flowers to educating children to planning the parks of the future, dozens of groups within Parks & Recreation provide vital programming for our green spaces and make New York City a vibrant community. This exhibition of photographs will highlight several important Parks programs?New Yorkers for Parks’ Daffodil Project, the Urban Park Rangers’ Ranger Conservation Corps, St. Mary’s Recreation Center’s afterschool program, and the Parks Inspectors Program.

For more information, visit New Yorkers for Parks, Urban Park Rangers, St. Mary’s Recreation Center and the Parks Inspector Program websites.

Brenda Delgado and Estephany Bautista, Untitled, 2009, Found natural materials, Urban Park Rangers

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