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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Alejandro Diaz, A Can for All Seasons

Alejandro Diaz, A Can for All Seasons
June 29, 2005 to September 29, 2005
Grand Concourse, between 164th and 165th streets, Bronx

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

A project of the Public Art Fund, Alejandro Diaz's A Can for All Seasons celebrates the overlap between art and everyday life. Inspired by the practice in rural households of growing plants in empty grocery-store cans, he has created four sculptural reproductions of brand-name canned goods, each representing a different type of food that is indigenous to Mexico: corn, chiles, chocolate, and tomatoes. Enlarging them to the size of outdoor street planters, Diaz affectionately observes and celebrates the practice of "making do," of using something on hand to create an aesthetic object. By transforming a small, private act of home improvement into a public gesture, he also plays off of the tradition of social sculpture, with its emphasis on using art to reconsider the world we live in.


Courtesy of the artist

Rebecca Pollock, Become
December 2005 to December 2006
Taaffee Place, Park & Myrtle avenues
Taaffe Playground, Brooklyn

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

This mural covers a temporary wall adjacent to Taaffee Playground. The subject of it relates to the omnipresence of litter in the neighborhood surrounding the playground. The artist selected the black plastic shopping bag as a symbol of this urban problem. "Rather than focus on the carelessness that this object represents when found in the street, I've chosen to sculpt it into another kind of debris: a leaf," says Rebecca Pollock, the artist. "Become encourages others to make similar leaps of the imagination with all the elements of their environment. I hope that this image will promote a spirit of making something beautiful out of something ugly and making the most out of limitation."

Ms. Pollock is enrolled in the MFA program at the School of Visual Arts.

Edwina Sandys, Tulips

Edwina Sandys, Tulips
May 3, 2005 to November 30, 2005
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn

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

Tulips, a 12-feet-high, painted aluminum sculpture of three red and white tulips, is the first public art installation in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

"Tulips are my passion and red is my color," said Edwina Sandys, the artist.

Ms. Sandys (pronounced "Sands") was born in England and now lives in New York City. Her work focuses on social issues affecting children, family, war and peace, women, and the environment. The United Nations has installed five of her monumental sculptures at their Centers around the world including "Child" at the United Nations International School on FDR Drive.

Sandys is known for her use of positive and negative cutout motif. Breakthrough, a major piece constructed from eight massive sections of the Berlin Wall, features male and female forms cut out from the wall's concrete surface. Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa and Margaret Thatcher have all walked through the openings in the wall. Sandys is represented in numerous private, corporate, and museum collections. The lifesize "Marriage Bed" is on display on the fourth floor at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She is the recipient of the 1997 United Nations Society of Writers & Artists Award for Excellence.

Noah Baen, Persephone

Noah Baen, Persephone
Winter 2004 to Winter 2005
Lentol Garden, Brooklyn

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

Within yards of the gritty Brooklyn Queens Expressway, an ecological sculpture by artist Noah Baen reclines under a hawthorn tree. Persephone was installed on January 11 in Lentol Garden, a bucolic park on Graham Avenue north of Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg. Persephone is a quilt of leaves clustered within garden netting, its form recalling a sleeping figure slowly reuniting with the landscape. Named for the Greek goddess connected with the cycle of seasons, Persephone will sleep under her tree through the winter, spring, summer and into fall. As the seasons progress, the natural processes of growth and decay will gradually break down the leaves. Seeds, gathered with the leaves or blown in, may sprout, causing plants to grow up through the sculpture. Eventually, fall will return and another year's withered leaves will descend upon Persephone.


Fritz Koenig, The Sphere. Photo by Malcolm Pinckney, NYC Parks.

Fritz Koenig, The Sphere
March 11, 2002 to Present
The Battery, Manhattan

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

Fritz Koenig's The Sphere, a 45,000 pound sculpture made of steel and bronze, adorned the fountain at the World Trade Center's Tobin Plaza from 1971 to September 11, 2001. Bent and damaged, but still recognizable, the sculpture has been relocated to Battery Park, where it stands as a powerful temporary memorial commemorating the lives of those lost in the World Trade Center attack and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. On September 11, 2002, a dedication was held to officially recognize the artwork as an interim memorial and to light an eternal flame in memory of those lost.

The Sphere is on long-term loan from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Media Advisory

DeeJay Bawden, Frontier Project (detail);
Photograph by Mark Holden

DeeJay Bawden, The Frontier Prophet
December 2005 to June 2006
Old Slip
Petrosino Square, Manhattan

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

This temporary sculpture commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism. In March 1830, at the age of 24, he published the Book of Mormon and organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A large group of Mormons embarked from Old Slip on the ship Brooklyn en route to California in 1846. This installation was organized by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation.

C Anna Morris / 2005

Marjorie Kouns, Well-Lit Chess Pieces
April 23, 2005 to April 2006
Washington Square Park, Manhattan

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

Well-Lit Chess Pieces consists of 11 oversized chess pieces placed near the park's chess tables, and 26 multicolored vinyl lampshades covering the park lampposts. Luminescent by day and glowing like stained glass at night, the Empire-style shades resemble those of household reading lamps.

"I'm testing the attraction people have with public spaces and how they instinctively desire to make them part of their own property," said Kouns. "In this case I'm producing lamp covers in a reading lamp style that you would use in your living room, making the park part of your very own outdoor living area."

Ms. Kouns has maintained a studio in Greenwich Village , near Washington Square Park , for over 20 years. Her artistic practice focuses on public art, including mural painting and projects in collaboration with children. Well Lit Chess Pieces is sponsored in part by Starbucks Neighborhood Park Grants Program, Knickerbocker Village NY, Inc., Signature Properties NY, Inc., and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Related Info:

Press Release

Jene Highstein, One Meter Tornado (External), 2004, quartzite

Jene Highstein, 11 Abstract Sculptures
October 2005 to April 2006
between 5th and Madison avenues, East 23rd & East 26th streets
Madison Square Park, Manhattan

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

A series of sculpture by Jene Highstein are grouped by medium on five lawns panels in the park. Some of the groupings explore a basic sculptural form through subtle differences in texture and shape. Another panel features three of Highstein's Tornado pieces, funnel-shaped forms in quartzite of varying surface patterns and textures. Other groupings feature objects in wood and cast iron.

Mr. Highstein (born 1942) has been exhibiting sculpture internationally since 1968. His works are in the collections of major museums, such as the Victoria and Albert, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. He has created pieces of public art for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Wanas Sculpture Park in Sweden, and Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. He has received four grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Award, and the Saint Gauden's Award from the Cooper Union. He lives and works in New York.

Richard Deacon, Masters of the Universe: Screen Version

Richard Deacon, Masters of the Universe: Screen Version
September 8, 2005 to April 15, 2006
Doris C. Freedman Plaza - 5th Avenue at 60th Street
Central Park, Manhattan

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

Richard Deacon is widely regarded as one of the foremost sculptors of our time, best known for creating abstract works that combine biomorphic, open forms and virtuoso engineering. Since the outset of his career in the mid-1970s, Deacon has been interested in materials and their manipulation, working with both natural media and also using manufactured metals such as the industrial stainless steel of Masters of the Universe: Screen Version.

The title is a reference to constellations in the nighttime sky. In particular, the artist is interested in the way we name clusters of stars based on the two-dimensional shapes they resemble. He observes that there are an infinite number of different relationships among these stars – we just can't see them from earth. "The title refers to the way that humans conceptualize an image in order to represent it, and that representation is mastery. It's an illusion."

Born in Wales in 1949, Deacon lives and works in London. He was awarded the Tate Gallery's Turner Prize in 1987. A major exhibition of large-scale work opened this year at the Museo Artium in Spain and will travel throughout Europe. Deacon has had solo exhibitions at the Serpentine, Whitechapel and Tate Galleries in London, and was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery Liverpool in 1990.

Deborah Butterfield, Deep Time

Deborah Butterfield, Deep Time, Cicada and Wilder
October 1, 2005 to March 4, 2006
between 52nd & 54th Streets
Park Avenue Malls, Manhattan

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

Three sculptures by internationally renowned artist Deborah Butterfield depict life-size horses, created from scrap metal and driftwood, each unique work cast in bronze. They appear on the grassy areas of the malls, against a backdrop of classic New York skyscrapers. The sculpture is presented upon the recommendation of the Sculpture Committee of the Fund for Park Avenue and in cooperation with Edward Thorp Gallery, New York.

Ms. Butterfield, who is based in Montana, has been creating sculptures of horses since the mid-1970s. In a recently published monograph of her work, art historian Wayne L. Roosa suggests that the artist transforms pieces of scrap metal and found wood into majestic, life-size horse sculptures that are like ancient noble archaeological remains, skeletal and grand.

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