Press Releases

Thursday, May 06, 2004
No. 36


Temporary Art Installation on display in the Park from June 7 – June 20, 2004

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce Beyond Metamorphosis, a site-specific public installation by artist Victor Matthews, on view at The Battery, from June 7 through June 20, 2004. The exhibition is fiscally sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).

Spanning across the park’s three-acre lawn, Matthews will construct a grid of nearly 3,000 umbrellas, each individually hand-painted with a rendering of a Monarch butterfly. In his studio, the artist has painted the butterfly image directly onto the cotton canvas of the umbrellas using black, orange and yellow water-based paints. Measuring 40” in diameter, the open umbrellas will be placed two feet apart in a checkerboard formation. The project will be one of the largest public art installations ever exhibited in the park. Whether viewed from near or afar, the umbrellas will create a stunning and vibrant impression of a migrating flutter of flame-colored butterflies.

“The piece explores themes of transformation, migration and regeneration,” says Matthews. “Butterflies make an obvious spiritual gesture that’s often overlooked: of a life that never ends and a spirit that never dies,” said Matthews. Every year Monarch butterflies make a 3,000-mile migration to Mexico, where they reproduce, die, and subsequently regenerate the species.

Born in Brooklyn in 1963, Victor Matthews currently lives and works in New York's Chinatown. He first emerged onto the New York art scene in the mid-eighties when he began to paint murals on the sides of buildings. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is in private and public collections around the world, including the 48th Venice Biennale.

Parks & Recreation’s temporary public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in City parks. Committed to the exhibition of art by emerging and established artists, Parks & Recreation has supported projects ranging from international exhibitions in flagship parks to local, community works in neighborhood parks and traffic islands.

As a fiscal sponsor, LMCC provides artists and emerging arts organizations in all disciplines with the ability to apply for funding and other resources usually available only to organizations with nonprofit status. Over the past 30 years, LMCC has been instrumental in placing public art and facilitating artists’ public projects in downtown Manhattan. Learn more at


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