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Art in the Parks

Through collaborations with a diverse group of arts organizations and artists, Parks bringsto the public both experimental and traditional art in many park locations. Please browse ourlist of current exhibits below, explore our archives of past exhibits or readmore about the Art in the Parks Program.

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Find out which current exhibits are on display near you, and browse our permanent monument collection.

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Image credit: courtesy of the artist.

Yvonne Shortt and Mayuko Fujino, Functional Bodies
June 9, 2018 to June 8, 2019
MacDonald Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
Functional Bodies is a community engaged project involving students from PS99, Seniors from Young Israel of Forest Hills Senior Center, Friends of MacDonald Park, and RPGA Studio. Incubated by social sculpture artist Yvonne Shortt, it is focused on creating collaboratively with local communities to prompt more people to volunteer in their park. The sculpture consists of a dog and girl, both with body parts designed for gardening. In addition to these pieces the sculpture also consists of several flowers created by people in the community from ages 11 to 85+.

Jeppe Hein, Please Touch the Art
May 17, 2015 to March 20, 2016
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn
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Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

Three bodies of work are represented in the exhibition by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Appearing Rooms is a systematically changing installation with walls of water that create rooms which appear and disappear. Visitors may move from space to space as the jets of water rise and fall. Mirror Labyrinth NY is made with equidistantly spaced vertical planks of mirror-polished stainless steel. Arranged in three radial arcs, the alternating rhythm and uneven heights of the steel elements echo the Manhattan skyline. Connecting these two works and continuing along the length of the park, the artist has installed sixteen bright red Modified Social Benches. These witty sculptures reinvent the form of the park bench, turning it into a lyrical and evocative work of art. Like each of his installations, they generate spontaneous expression and social connection, giving us new perspectives on ourselves and the world we share.

This exhibition is presented by the Public Art Fund.

Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Oracle of the Past, Present and Future, Courtesy of the Artist

Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Oracle of the Past, Present and Future
June 6, 2015 to May 1, 2016
Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

The Oracle of the Past, Present and Future is a 12-foot-tall structure that consists of geometric interlocking parts with elements of steel, wood, glass, and a magnificent dome that adds to its mystical symbolism. The work is inspired by the study of celestial bodies: the influence of the sun, moon, planets and zodiac constellations on human affairs and the natural world. Rodriguez invites the public to consider the mysteries of astrology and engage in contemplation and inner reflection while walking through the sculpture. The sculpture is located on the lawn just inside Tompkins Square Park at St. Mark’s Place and Avenue A.

In addition to the installation at Tompkins Square, four sculptures will accompany his permanent sculpture Growth at the East Harlem Art Park at 120th Street and Sylvan Place. "I have tried to capture the interaction between trees, birds, insects, flowers, and man. My sculpture may portray a seed sprouting from the ground, an insect transforming into a flower, or a bird changing into a tree. I hope to create an art piece that will serve as a source of enjoyment and inspiration to the community,” stated Rodríguez about Growth in 1985. These additional artworks echo his original concept as they emerge from different areas of the park.

The Oracle of the Past, Present and Future in the East Village and Birdhouse, Fish Spine, Hummingbird and Palenque in Harlem celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Growth, Rodríguez’s large-scale, permanent work that was New York City’s first completed Percent for Art commission.

Franz West, Mercury

Franz West, Mercury
June 7, 2004 to August 31, 2004
Doris C. Freedman Plaza
Central Park, Manhattan

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
Public Art Fund presents the first major outdoor survey of sculpture by Austrian artist Franz West at Lincoln Center and at Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park, where two works from the artist's "Mercury" series are on view. The title is a galaxy-themed reference to West's previous work, Moon Project, a group of furniture pieces he exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art's sculpture garden in 1997. With their long, low-lying bodies and irregular bumpy appendages, the works function both as public art and outdoor furniture, providing a variety of seats and perches for passersby. Franz West lives and works in Vienna, where he was born in 1947. He has exhibited internationally for more than three decades in galleries and museums, and at major festivals. Additional information is available on the Public Art Fund website.

Image credit: Xaviera Simmons, Convene, 2018, installation view, Hunter’s Point South Park. Commissioned by SculptureCenter, New York. Courtesy the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Xaviera Simmons, Convene
May 23, 2018 to August 19, 2018
Hunter's Point South Park, Queens
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Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

Convene is a sculptural installation of aluminum canoes painted with designs that abstractly and explicitly evoke national flags symbolic of the diverse historical and contemporary demographic makeup of Astoria and Long Island City.

Convene addresses population data and its visual representation while engaging the canoe’s symbolic narratives of historical shift and reliance on personal vessels to move navigators, people, and goods to their desired destinations, often via bodies of water that span or bisect local, national, and international territories. Simmons’s work references the conditions and forms of migration, political and leisure travel, transport, and refuge, as well as the practices of documenting and representing the location and movement of people. Abstracting the visual identities of individual flags, Simmons acknowledges the complex interplay between national, cultural, and ethnic subjects, as well as the reality that allegiances to flags are often imperfect reflections of individual or collective identities. Presenting visual information that is hard to decipher, Convene suggests that statistics found in any set of data need critical engagement in order to be put to use.

This exhibition is presented by SculptureCenter.

Rachel Feinstein, Folly
May 7, 2014 to September 7, 2014
Madison Square Park, Manhattan
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Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

Marking Rachel Feinstein’s first public art exhibition in the U.S. and comprising her largest sculptural works to date, the installation consists of three follies–structures that were popular in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture, built with decorative rather than functional purpose. Feinstein’s sculptures are executed in graphically printed and detailed panels of thin metal, ranging from eight to 26 feet tall. The three structures include a house perched on a towering cliff, a Rococo-style hut, and a flying ship moored high in a tree, supported by a mast extending to the ground.

Best known for her fanciful sculptures, Feinstein’s stage-set follies for Mad. Sq. Art are made of powder-coated aluminum with applied surface illustration. They are not inhabitable as the works are sculptural reliefs: they have active, three-dimensional facades and flat backs with structural supports. Installed on three park lawns, the structures will evoke theatrical scenery in which the park visitors are the actors.

This exhibition is presented by Mad. Sq. Art.

Courtesy of NYC Parks

Robert Raphael, Untitled Folly, Flow.14 Art and Music at Randall’s Island
June 1, 2014 to June 9, 2014
Randall's Island Park, Manhattan
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Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

The Randall’s Island Park Alliance, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and Made Event are pleased to present FLOW annual summer art exhibitions along the shoreline at Randall’s Island Park in New York City. FLOW is aimed at fostering appreciation of the shoreline through artistic expression, while calling visitors to interact with and care for the Park’s island environment. Each year, FLOW features site specific projects by participants in the Bronx Museum’s Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) program for emerging artists.

Raphael’s work at Randall’s Island Park investigates the category of the ornamental and decorative, and the idea of an architectural “folly” in contrast to functional structures. Specifically, inspired by the Island’s early use for farming by Dutch settlers, Raphael’s folly will be based on the form of a split rail fence, typically used for agriculture, in romantic and nostalgic homage to the Island’s past and to the beginning of its ongoing and complex historical transformations. FLOW.14 also includes Dean Monogenis’ City Pillars, Jessica Sander’s Ground, andKant Smith’s Ghost House.

This exhibition is presented by Randall’s Island Parks Alliance, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Made Event.

Image courtesy of NYC Parks.

Monika Sosnowska, Fir Tree
October 24, 2012 to February 17, 2013
Doris C. Freedman Plaza
Central Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

This 40-foot-tall steel sculpture by Monika Sosnowska marks the threshold between the urban environment of midtown Manhattan and the landscape of Central Park. The artist has used pulleys, cranes, and other heavy machinery to manipulate a spiral staircase to resemble an evergreen tree. No longer climbable, its stairs cascade around the central shaft of the sculpture like weighted tree limbs. The ribbon-like railing forms a twisting red line against the black silhouette of the sculpture. As if piercing the pavement with industrial force, Fir Tree (2012) conjures an image of skyscrapers with steel roots below the city.

For more than ten years, Sosnowska’s work has explored our psychological relationship to the built environment, creating complex installations that alter our perceptions of familiar objects and spaces. Based in Warsaw, Sosnowska often works with architectural elements associated with Eastern Europe during the Soviet period. Fir Tree echoes the industrial steel staircases found on the exterior walls of Polish housing blocks. Here, this once-functional object refuses to serve its intended purpose. Instead it becomes an animated and outsized metaphor, testing the bounds of a familiar form as it reaches toward the urban skyline.

This Exhibition is presented by the Public Art Fund.

Courtesy of Creative Time

Key to the City
June 3, 2010 to September 6, 2010
Times Square, Broadway Between 43rd & 44th streerts, Manhattan

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
​For centuries, the key to the city has been used to honor a city’s heroes and visiting dignitaries. Now, artist Paul Ramírez Jonas has created a Key to the City that is not only a symbolic award, but also a functional key—opening spaces across all five boroughs of New York City. This Key to the City is intended for everyday citizens, who will award one another the key for reasons large and small. Once in hand, the key launches a citywide exploration of backdoors, front gates, community gardens, graveyards, and museums that suggests that the city is a series of spaces that are either locked or unlocked.

Key to the City is presented by Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York. For more information, visit the Creative Time website.

Image credit: Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park

HANNAH, Folly / Function: RRRolling Stones
July 12, 2018 to September 12, 2018
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:
RRRolling Stones is a moveable outdoor seating system made from 3D-printed concrete. The designers exploit the standard ergonomics of a functional chair to create durable, mobile outdoor seating. RRRolling Stones’ playful design encourages creative interaction and emboldens park visitors to configure them in original arrangements based on preference and need: linear benches of various lengths; in small clusters; or as solitary seats dotting the landscape.

Folly / Function is an annual juried competition challenging architects to design and build a large- scale project for Socrates’ visitors. Jointly directed by The Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park, the program addresses the intersection of architecture and sculpture in public space.

This exhibition is presented by Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League of New York.

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