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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.

Celebrating 50 Years of Art in the Parks

Join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of our Art in the Parks program! Visit more than 50 public artworks currently on view in our parks, and celebrate with us at our upcoming anniversary events!

Celebrate 50 Years of Art in the Parks

Public Art Map and Guide

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

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2016

Manhattan

Courtesy of the artist

Yasumitsu Morito, Spirit of New York City
October 25, 2016 to August 25, 2017
Carl Schurz Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

Japanese artist Yasumitsu Morito designed Spirit of New York City to harmonize with the setting of Carl Schurz Park. The work sits just above the Hoop Garden, surrounded by trees lining the pathway to the promenade along the East River. Yasumitsu’s work addresses the human form within space, what it is to be human, and how the human spirit responds to social, political, and religious circumstances. For this installation, he considered both the practical and aesthetic experiences of the viewer. The sculpture conveys a sense of spiritual presence and prompts park visitors to contemplate the past, present, and future of sculpture in tandem with that of the park. Sitting on a vessel symbolizing the melting pot, the human figure represents a moment of serene contemplation amidst the commotion of the city.

Photo credit Liz Gwinn

Kevin Beasley, Who's Afraid to Listen to Red, Black and GreenΑ
August 25, 2016 to July 25, 2017
Morningside Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

Kevin Beasley is a New York-based artist interested in materials, sculpture, sound, and social exchange. Each of these three sculptures features a color of the Pan-African flag and consists of a mixture of resin, clothing, and housedresses sourced from a dress shop in East Harlem. Beasley calls the sculptures “acoustic mirrors,” and invites visitors to listen carefully as one speaks, sings, or otherwise projects sound into them.

inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, Simone Leigh, Kori Newkirk, Rudy Shepherd is a public art initiative presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem. Site-specific artworks are on view in four Historic Harlem Parks—Morningside, Marcus Garvey, St. Nicholas, and Jackie Robinson—from August 25, 2016, to July 25, 2017. For more information, visit studiomuseum.org.

This exhibition is presented by the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Photo credit Liz Gwinn

Simone Leigh, A particularly elaborate imba yokubikira, or kitchen house, stands locked up while its owners live in diaspora
August 25, 2016 to July 25, 2017
Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

Simone Leigh is a Brooklyn-based artist with a longstanding interest in African and African-American material culture and women’s work. These three round, clay-and-thatch hybrid sculptures, called imbas, resemble kitchen houses from rural areas of Zimbabwe and were created in collaboration with architect Maxwell Mutanda. They celebrate the expansiveness of the African diaspora, but also evoke the experience of living outside the place considered home.

inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, Simone Leigh, Kori Newkirk, Rudy Shepherd is a public art initiative presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem. Site-specific artworks are on view in four Historic Harlem Parks—Morningside, Marcus Garvey, St. Nicholas, and Jackie Robinson—from August 25, 2016, to July 25, 2017. For more information, visit studiomuseum.org.

This exhibition is presented by the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Photo credit Alani Bass

Kori Newkirk, Sentra
August 25, 2016 to July 25, 2017
St. Nicholas Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

A New York native now based in Los Angeles, Kori Newkirk is well known for creating multimedia works, often using materials associated with urban black life. Reminiscent of the artist’s signature beaded curtains, this work reframes the steps rising from St. Nicholas Avenue, and invites park visitors to reimagine an ordinary walk as a ceremonial procession.

inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, Simone Leigh, Kori Newkirk, Rudy Shepherd is a public art initiative presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem. Site-specific artworks are on view in four Historic Harlem Parks—Morningside, Marcus Garvey, St. Nicholas, and Jackie Robinson—from August 25, 2016, to July 25, 2017. For more information, visit studiomuseum.org.

This exhibition is presented by the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Photo credit Liz Gwinn

Rudy Shepherd, Black Rock Negative Energy Absorber
August 25, 2016 to July 25, 2017
Jackie Robinson Park, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

A longtime resident of Upper Manhattan, Rudy Shepherd creates sculptures and performances intended to dispel people’s feelings of prejudice, violence, or disdain. Created from colored concrete, this work is a playful form with a very serious purpose—to open hearts and inspire positive energy, dialogue, and compassion.

inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, Simone Leigh, Kori Newkirk, Rudy Shepherd is a public art initiative presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem. Site-specific artworks are on view in four Historic Harlem Parks—Morningside, Marcus Garvey, St. Nicholas, and Jackie Robinson—from August 25, 2016, to July 25, 2017. For more information, visit studiomuseum.org.

This exhibition is presented by the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Kenny Scharf, TotemOh
June 22, 2016 to June 21, 2017
116th street
East River Esplanade, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

This vibrant mural by internationally renowned artist Kenny Scharf is installed along the waterfront at 116th Street on the East River Esplanade in Harlem. Painted on an idle brick column, the totem of colorful faces is designed in Scharf’s recognizable cartoon-inspired style. A banner spanning over 50 feet, NEVERENDINGOGO, is installed adjacent to the column and will be on view through September 30, 2016. This public artwork corresponds with an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor, NY.

This exhibition is presented by the Friends of the East River Esplanade (60th-120th Streets).

Markus Rudolph Holtby, Leaves of Grass

Art Students League, Model to Monument (M2M)
June 16, 2016 to May 16, 2017
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 NYC Parks that has culminated in the installation of seven sculptures on view along Riverside Park South from 59th to 69th Streets. This is the sixth year at Riverside Park for the M2M program, which has installed nearly 50 monumental works in NYC parks since 2011.

The sculptures were created by an international team of selected League students during a nine-month program. The pieces for this exhibition explore Art in the Public Square. The artists are: The sculptors participating in the M2M program this year are Aaron Bell (Stand Tall, Stand Loud), Sheila Berger (AVIS GLORIAE ET LAVDIS MMXVI and Nature Eternal), James Emerson (Bridge), Tanda Francis (Everyone Breaks), Markus Rudolph Holtby (Leaves of Grass), Shiho Sato (Fragments) and Sarah Thompson Moore (Everything Between). The collaborative sculpture in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx for 2016 is entitled …And We Breathe.

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

Naomi Lawrence, Lotus
May 3, 2016 to May 1, 2017
Eugene McCabe Field, Manhattan
Map/Directions (in Google Maps)

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

Description:

Chain link fences are ubiquitous. Naomi Lawrence uses these common spaces to frame color and texture in surprising ways, creating interaction between fibers, colors, fences, sidewalks, and passing pedestrians. Lawrence believes that small artistic gestures of intricate, colorful crochet can prompt reflection and appreciation for often overlooked or unappreciated corners of the urban enviornment.

This work is an extension of May 2016’s FLUX Public Art Projects, a FLUX Art Fair initiative. FLUX embodies Harlem’s creative spirit and cultural significance by bringing together original works, from large sculptural works and sound pieces to performance art and thought-provoking installations.

This exhibition is presented by Art in FLUX, FLUX Art Fair, and Marcus Garvey Park Alliance.

Lionel Smit Studio, Courtesy of CYNTHIA-REEVES

Lionel Smit, MORPHOUS
June 13, 2016 to April 30, 2017
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:

MORPHOUS is an exploration of hybrid identity and its ever-changing nature within South Africa’s social landscape. This bronze sculpture, featuring the conjoined heads of two outward-gazing young women, evokes the question of time, of past and future, and a societal commentary without judgment. The “double-vision” portrayed in this work is simultaneously a foretelling of things to come and an acknowledgement of what has already passed. The figures are charged with an emotive and gestural energy, a hallmark of Smit’s evocative work. The spontaneous gestures in his three dimensional figural forms animate the beauty and grace of the faces he sees in the neighborhoods around his studio. The scale of his work invokes both a sense of celebration and power.

This is the South African artist’s first public art installation in the United States, and will be complemented by an exhibition of his work at CYNTHIA-REEVES’ gallery in North Adams, MA in July and August 2016. This exhibition is presented by CYNTHIA-REEVES, Union Square Partnership, and Art New York/Art Miami.

Martin Puryear, Big Bling
May 16, 2016 to April 2, 2017
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:

This temporary outdoor work, the thirty–third public art exhibition mounted by Mad. Sq. Art, the free contemporary art program of Madison Square Park Conservancy, is a multi–tier wood structure wrapped in fine chain–link fence. A gold–leafed shackle is anchored near the top of the structure. At forty feet high, Big Bling achieves colossal scale and elicits a range of readings, stimulating diverse and profound interpretations of its meaning.

The largest temporary outdoor sculpture Puryear has created, Big Bling is part animal form, part abstract sculpture, and part intellectual meditation. The artist’s signature organic vocabulary appears in a graceful, sinewy outline and an amoeboid form in the work’s center. Big Bling’s architectural language suggests a building that is accessible by ascension through its levels. Its stories are obstructed by chain–link fence, a barrier to entry, which covers all visible surfaces of the sculpture. In contrast to the coarse materials employed throughout most of the work, the gold shackle is a shimmering beacon that simultaneously adorns and restrains.

This exhibition is presented by Madison Square Park Conservancy.

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