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Art in the Parks

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

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Charles Long, Pet Sounds (rendering), courtesy of the artist.

Charles Long, Pet Sounds
May 2, 2012 to September 9, 2012
Madison Square Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

Pet Sounds is an interactive, large-scale, mixed-media installation by acclaimed California-based artist Charles Long. Sited on Madison Square Park’s expansive Oval Lawn, Pet Sounds introduces a snaking network of vibrantly colored pipe railings creating new paths as they wind across the urban oasis. As these railings converge around a common seating area, each railing begins to grow into a unique fantastic form. While the shape of each blob suggests a different set of associations, their uncanny semblances remain wonderfully elusive. As viewers smooth their hands over the undulating biomorphic surfaces, the act of touching produces a variety of sounds and vibrations coming from within the sculptural forms.

The exhibition is presented by Mad. Sq. Art.

Peter Woytuk, Bulls, Aluminum, 2011, courtesy of Morrison Gallery

Peter Woytuk, Peter Woytuk on Broadway
October 21, 2011 to July 27, 2012
Columbus Circle to Mitchel Square
Broadway Malls, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:
Peter Woytuk on Broadway brings to the Broadway Malls the vigorous yet endearing sculptures that Woytuk is known for worldwide. This is the artist’s first outdoor exhibition in New York City. The exhibition begins in Columbus Circle at 59th Street, the start of the Broadway Malls, with the monumental, life size Elephant Pair. A bronze Woytuk menagerie of sheep, ostriches, crows, hens and other fanciful sculptures continues at intervals along the Malls, concluding at Mitchel Square at 168th Street with two 2,500-pound seated Bulls.

Peter Woytuk (American, b. 1958) is recognized internationally for his sculptures of animals. Woytuk cleverly reduces their shapes to essential forms, allowing the power and elegance of his subjects to become both graceful and whimsical expressions of mass. Using a style that is at once descriptive and expressive, Woytuk also enjoys altering the scale of everyday objects such as tools or fruit, which in his hands are transformed into animated participants in the composition.

Sculptures can be found along Broadway at: 72nd Street, Verdi Square; 73rd Street, Verdi Square; 75th Street; 79th Street; 86th Street; 96th Street; 103rd Street; 107th Street; 114th Street; 117th Street; 137th Street, Montefiore Park; 139th Street; 157th Street; and 168th Street, Mitchel Square.

The ambitious exhibition is a collaboration by the Broadway Mall Association, the New York City
Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Morrison Gallery of Kent, CT.

Courtesy of NYC Parks.

Paola Pivi, How I Roll
June 20, 2012 to July 18, 2012
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:

According to a famous anecdote, three pioneers of modern art­–Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, and Fernand Léger–are said to have visited the 1912 Paris Air Show. Observing a propeller, Brancusi said, "Now that is what I call sculpture!" A hundred years later, Paola Pivi’s How I Roll suggests that the modernist romance with industrial design lives on. Pivi’s sculpture incorporates an entire six-seat plane that has been specially modified, enabling it to rotate through 360 degrees while held aloft on its wing tips. The artist’s transformation allows this 1977 Piper Seneca to be seen in an entirely new way. Airborne but flightless, its steady circular movement is mesmerizing. The shift of context from airport hangar to New York City plaza is equally dramatic. It creates the striking and surreal experience of a familiar object seen in an unexpected place doing a very unfamiliar thing. Like a child’s dream come to life, How I Roll is typical of the artist’s bold and playful imagination. This exhibition is presented by the Public Art Fund.

Rafael Barrios, Rendering of Acrobática at 53rd Street, courtesy of the artist.

Rafael Barrios, Rafael Barrios on Park Avenue
March 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012
51st Street - 67th Street
Park Avenue Malls, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:
Venezuelan artist Rafael Barrios will exhibit nine monumental sculptures on Park Avenue. Many of these pieces will be exhibited for the first time, created from experimental works that Barrios has kept reserved.

The pieces range in form, shape, color and dimension and are all representational of  Barrios’ forty-plus years of creating art that alters our perception and state of mind. Barrios experiments with volume and mass in his sculptures—at a distance they appear to have significant volume, but as you approach the pieces, they reveal their slimness.   As Barrios states, the sculptures are about “dislocating our perception in such a way that our mind’s eye will insist that you are seeing something that you are not.”

This exhibition was made possible by Art Nouveau Gallery. Exhibitions on Park Avenue are presented under the auspices of New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation and The Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee.

Rachel Owens, Inveterate Composition for Clare, repurposed replica humvees (steel and fiberglass), humpback whale songs, lights, Image courtesy of Parks Art & Antiquities.

Rachel Owens, Inveterate Composition for Clare
November 13, 2011 to June 15, 2012
1st Avenue and 47th Street
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:
Placed in Manhattan’s Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, the historic “Gateway to the UN” and designated protest site, this piece is composed of dissembled parts from two replica "kit" military Hummer shells, recomposed and welded together in a monumental pyramid-shaped stack. Sprayed with metallic icy-white paint, the piece also evokes the form of an iceberg. Additional parts welded between the two create a more cohesive form and refer to extra armaments that American soldiers have recently added to their own Hummers and equipment.

The moody songs of whales will emanate from the speakers – the haunting sounds act as a universal cry. In accordance with this soundtrack, the headlights of the cars will be set to dim and brighten.

With its rearranged parts, Inveterate Composition also places itself in recent art history dialogue. The crashed car has become an iconic form of the violence and excesses of contemporary culture as seen in work from John Chamberlain's car part sculptures and Andy Warhol’s infamous Death and Disaster series, to Charles Ray’s Untitled sculpture and Jeremy Deller’s Conversations about Iraq. Summoning references from the political strife and conflict overseas to our planet’s general discord, Rachel Owens’s latest sculpture continues this discourse, while adding focus on environmental distress to the pile of ruins. However, her abstract, melodious form also has a hulking beauty and calming presence that speaks to an undertone of optimism and the potential for change and renewal.

This work was originally developed with the enthusiastic support of the late Clare Weiss, curator for the New York City Parks Department, who passed away in January 2010 after a long battle with breast cancer. This piece is dedicated to her.

This project was completed with ZieherSmith Gallery.

Sarah Sze, Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat), image courtesy of the artist

Sarah Sze, Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat)
June 8, 2011 to June 2012
On the High Line between West 20th and West 21st Streets
The High Line, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

​Artist Sarah Sze is world-renowned for her intricate installations that shape space with hundreds or thousands of interconnected sculptural elements.

For the High Line, Sze will create an elaborate metropolis of perspectival architectural models that will be bisected by the High Line path itself. The sculpture forms an open archway that visually frames the views to the north and south, as well as allows park visitors to physically enter and pass through the space it outlines. The architecture, complex and dynamic, will act as a bird, butterfly and insect observatory, with perches, feeding spots and birdbaths throughout.

Emerging from the shooting perspective lines of the landscape of the High Line, the sculpture will extend through space like a perspective drawing in three dimensions. The structure will climb, spin and accelerate emphasizing the open trajectory of the High Line and modeling systems of development and growth. The artwork is simultaneously an observatory, an experiment, and a metropolis, evoking urban construction, scientific models, and attempts to capture nature in situ.

This High Line Art Commission is presented by Friends of the High Line.

Julianne Swartz's Digital Empathy. Image courtesy of the artist.

Julianne Swartz, Digital Empathy
June 8, 2011 to June 2012
Select locations throughout Sections 1 and 2 of the park
The High Line, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

​Julianne Swartz's sound installation, Digital Empathy, will greet High Line visitors with a variety of messages. At some sites, computer-generated voices will speak messages of concern, support, and love, intermingled with pragmatic information. In other sites, those same digitized voices will recite poetry and sing love songs to park visitors.

Installed in 11 different locations throughout the park, the sound will be transmitted through the park's bathroom sinks, water fountains, and elevators. These sites are not only unexpected places in which to encounter public art, they are places designed for individuals or small numbers of people, allowing for intimate encounters within an otherwise sprawling, communal space. The locations for Swartz's sound interventions will be indicated by graphic—based signage created by the artist that mimics standard public information signs.

Digital Empathy plays on the notion that, in our culture, we turn to technologies like online social networking, blogs, and instant messages to meet our basic human need for friendship and personal connection.

This High Line Art Commission is presented by Friends of the High Line.

Akihiro Ito, Forever, Riverside Park South

Art Students League, Model to Monument
June 24, 2011 to May 2012
59th to 72nd Streets
Riverside Park South, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:
The Art Students League of New York, one of America’s premier art schools, presents the Model to Monument Program (M2M), a collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation that has culminated in the installation of seven sculptures on view along Riverside South from 59th to 72nd Streets.
 
The sculptures were created by an international team of seven selected League students during a nine-month program led by master sculptor Greg Wyatt.  The pieces, one by each artist, range from abstractions conjuring New York City’s past and future, to a life-size bronze of a girl and her dog looking out on the Hudson River. The exhibition includes: River Gazers by Elizabeth Allison, The New Age by John Balsamo, Looking Up by Allston Chapman, Forever by Akihiro Ito, Flight: Past to Future by Selva Sanjines, Wish by Noa Shay, and Seiren by Matthew White.

A collaborative sculpture created by the team is also on concurrently on view in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The artwork, a monumental mask, was inspired by the regular performances programmed behind the Van Cortlandt House Museum.

This work was made possible by the Art Students League’s Model to Monument Program.

Miquel Barceló,  Elephandret, Union Square, photograph by Daniel Avila

Miquel Barceló, Elefandret Sculpture at Union Square, New York City
September 13, 2011 to May 29, 2012
Union Square Park Triangle
Union Square Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

​Barcelo’s immense Gran Elefandret, balances upright on its trunk, its four massive legs outspread searching for equilibrium. At twenty-six feet tall the sculpture brilliantly portrays an extraordinary, if not impossible physical and cultural feat; this contemporary monument believably captures with humor, scale and Spanish courage the essence of what a public monument can be today.

To further communicate the gravity-defying feat beyond the surprisingly slim trunk and large body, Barceló imparts the mass and weight of the creature through the downward sag of the heavily wrinkled skin, the off-kilter positioning of the huge legs, and the complete overturning of the floppy ears. The highly textured surface of the elephant recalls the artist’s tactile paintings, in which he creates rich topographic, sculpted surfaces on canvas.
 
Barceló, born in Mallorca in 1957, has spent considerable time in West Africa, and his paintings and sculptures often are often concerned with the natural life cycle.

This is a project by Marlborough Gallery, in cooperation with the Union Square Partnership.

Image courtesy of Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery

Jacco Olivier, Untitled
December 15, 2011 to March 12, 2012
Madison Square Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:
Six painterly animations by acclaimed Dutch artist Jacco Olivier is the final presentation of Mad.Sq.Art’s  2011 season.  Mad. Sq. Art celebrates the artist’s first public art commission in New York City, which features both new, site-specific and existing works displayed throughout the Park. Olivier’s series of stop-motion animations brightens New York’s winter landscape with moving images exemplary of the artist’s characteristically rich color palette and lavishly textured style. The exhibition is on view daily in Madison Square Park from December 15, 2011 through March 12, 2012.

Beginning with a single image, Olivier introduces subtle alterations with each additional layer through his process of over-painting.  After he paints and re-paints his images, Olivier photographs each stage of the process as stop-motion animation until an original no longer exists. The resulting work reveals a history of the painting process that captures scraps of narrative and visual iconography brought to light as a moving painting.

According to the artist, Jacco Olivier, exhibiting in Madison Square Park provides “an opportunity to go totally abstract and see things on a molecular level, to change perspective[…] to show an animation in the ground, you really have to look down to see it, which creates a little private moment for the viewer that is free of narrative, subject or meaning.”

This is a project of Mad.Sq.Art.

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