Press Releases

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
No. 77

Summer Art In Parks: A Round-up

New Yorkers and tourists alike can catch some culture while enjoying the city’s parks this summer. From beaches to greenswards and tunnels to trestles, on piers, plazas, boulevards and traffic medians, Parks & Recreation’s Public Art Program features an eclectic array of artwork in green spaces throughout the five boroughs. More than a dozen artists, established and emerging, young and old, work in every medium imaginable, and their explorations in art will engage the park going public this summer. Below is a listing of projects. Images and artist interviews are available upon request.
Julia Vogl, Leaves of Fort Greene, Fort Greene Park, through July 10.
Vogl is an independent artist whose Leaves of Fort Greene is situated in Brooklyn’s oldest major park. Her installation explores how light colors our experience. Large plexi-glass panels embellished with images of enlarged foliage layered in translucent paint rely on the movement of sunlight to create ever-changing combinations of pattern, color and light.
Julie Farris and Sarah Wayland-Smith, A Clearing in the Streets, at Collect Pond Park, through October 1, 2009.
A project of the Public Art Fund, A Clearing in the Streets is an urban viewing structure that provides a glimpse of a natural habitat in a city setting and demonstrates in real time, how landscapes evolve. Located where a great wetland stood until the early 19th century, this ten-sided plywood structure is punctuated with viewing slots offering fleeting glances that reveal an idealized meadow of wild flowers growing surrounded by a panoramic mural of a vast blue sky. Starting from seeds and young plants, the meadow will grow and flourish over the duration of the piece turning in to a lush native habitat in a plaza framed by courthouses.
Spencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways, The Highline, through June 2010.
A collaboration of Creative Time with Friends of the Highline and NYC Parks, this installation will be presented on the occasion of the opening of the High Line as a City park in June 2009. Where freight once traveled Finch transforms an existing grid of window frames into a complex and soothing matrix of 700 individually crafted panes of glass representing the tidal cycle of the Hudson River over a period of 700 minutes on a single day. The installation is placed in a semi-enclosed tunnel atop the line, between 15th and 16th Streets, viewable from both the street and up on the Chelsea Market section of the High Line. The work links the movement of the river, viewable from the site, with the historic movement of the railway and the atmospheric conditions of its location on Manhattan’s West Side.
Kyu Seok Oh, Renka, Montefiore Park, up through June 15.
A project of West Harlem Art Fund with Harlem School of the Arts, Renka is a massive reclining figure created from hundreds of strips of wood. Inspired by his mother, artist Kyu Seok Oh created this piece as a symbol of all women. Students from the Harlem School of the Arts assisted with the construction of the work, which while ephemeral in nature has strong physical presence.
Richard Baronio, Spotted Leaf, Fort Tryon Park, through September 25.
Baronio created Spotted Leaf--a four-foot long self supporting perforated stainless steel leaf-- based on his recent interest in gardens as a source of inspiration and subject matter. With many beautiful locations in Fort Tryon, the artist settled on the beloved heather gardens as a temporary home for this work.
Natalie Pham and Avanti Patel, America’s Chinatown Voices, through August 8.
Organized by the Asian American Arts Center, America's Chinatown Voices consists of 80 brightly colored panels mounted on the fence encircling Columbus Park. Local voices, ideas, stories, and images have painted by the artists on these wood panels. The black silhouetted images on red backgrounds have the potency of political posters, and collectively create a dynamic rhythm framing this historic park at the heart of Chinatown. Every weekend throughout the summer, the artists and volunteers will come to repaint many of the panels with new comments and thoughts, renewing each artwork.
John Morton, Sound Tunnel, Central Park Zoo, through September 10.
Avant-garde composer John Morton’s rich sonic collage, Central Park Sound Tunnel, will resonate in the pedestrian tunnel between the Central Park Zoo and Children’s Zoo adjacent to 5th Avenue. Beginning every half-hour with the ringing of the Delacorte chimes, this 20-minute, 6-speaker sound installation incorporates field recordings made in Central Park over the last year. Randomly-generated selections of ambient sounds such as horses clopping, baseball games, birds, and the carousel are woven together to form a complex ever-changing compositions that echo through the cavernous tunnel. The installation will run every day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Jessica Stockholder, Flooded Chambers Maid, Madison Square Park through August 15. Organized by Madison Square Park Conservancy, this work is anchored by a 1300 sq. ft. arrow-shaped platform sprawling across the park’s Oval Lawn. The platform—a wildly colorful and intricately-patterned combination of custom cut and colored industrial steel and molded fiberglass grating—emerges from a shock of colored rubber mulch to spread itself across the lawn, enveloping a tree and stretching to reach the pathway surrounding the lawn. The platform’s dynamic pop colors spill from the edge of the platform and Oval Lawn across the bordering pathway, leading to an equally colorful staircase and viewing platform installed on one of the smaller adjacent lawns. From this elevated perspective, visitors are invited to view the installation’s garden: swaths of bright flowers and boldly colored plastic bins and buckets that sweep across the small adjoining lawn.
Katie Holten, Tree Museum, Grand Concourse, June 21 through October 12.
A project of the Bronx Museum of Art and Wave Hill with NYC Parks & Recreation, the Tree Museum runs from 138th Street to Mosholu Parkway. It features 100 existing trees, using them as a springboard for exploring the neighborhoods’ ecological and cultural life. A corresponding audio guide can be accessed by keying in a number into a cell phone, to listen to impressions from historians, tree experts, rappers, architects, bee keepers, schoolchildren and many others.
Ethan Long, Dirt Cube, Rockaway Beach at 32nd Street. Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, through November 1.
Far Rockaway resident Ethan Long has created a rammed-earth sculpture along the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk. This large-scale earthwork resembles a minimal cube during the day, but as night falls a series of fiber-optic lights dotting the structure’s surface are revealed. These lights glint like stars against the dirt structure adding a cyber-electric dimension to this powerful tribute of the dexterity of environmental elements.
Socrates Sculpture Park, State Fair, through August 9.
Curated by Alyson Baker, Mark Dion, and Marichris Ty, State Fair is a group exhibition exploring the theme of American rural life. It uses the platform of the state fair as a means to examine topics such as animal husbandry, specialized horticulture, small scale farming, culinary arts, and the pageantry within these fields that occurs at fairgrounds across the country. The show will also incorporate work that references traditional craft, and the myriad of amusements, rides, competitions, and entertainment that are presented as part of state fairs. Featured artists include Margarita Cabrera, Jennifer Cecere, Emily Feinstein, Charles Gute, Jeanine Oleson, Risa Puno, Dana Sherwood & The Black Forest Fancies, Stephen Shore, Jason Simon, William Stone, and Bernard Williams.
LEAP, Crotona Park, Claremont Park; Commodore Barry Park; Green Central Knoll; Inwood Hill Park; Tompkins Square Park; Juniper Valley Park; Parsons Greenstreet; Silver Lake Park; Stapleton Playground through September 1.
Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program (LEAP) is a 30 year old nonprofit that works with schools to use art as a tool for learning. As part of a program on public art that LEAP presented in NYC public schools, 10 works were created by high school students at parks in the 5 boroughs. Each work has a standard framework – a school lunch table – on which the students paint, draw and apply tiles. The students worked closely with experienced public artists to create content that reflects issues such as the environment, gang violence, and the economy.
James Surls, seven sculptures, Park Avenue between 50th-57th Streets, through July.
Based on natural forms, Surls’ constructions are created using his own iconic imagery of diamonds, vortexes, needles, and flowers. Born in East Texas James Surls has been based in Colorado since 1998. The exhibition was sponsored by the Gerald Peters Gallery.
Nancy Mladenoff, Post-Audubon, the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, through June 11.
This indoor exhibition features over 100 watercolor and marker studies of the major species of birds and insects in North America. Utilizing the most current rendition of Audubon's photo field guides, Mladenoff created a free-hand personal interpretation of the species Audubon tracked. Her gestural approach enables each piece to become a part of a unique field guide and not just a study of scientific data.

Bascove, A Walk in the Park, The Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, June 18 to August 13.
This exhibition celebrates the vibrant diversity of Central Park’s bridges by New York based artist Bascove. In her colorful and pulsating oil paintings and drawings, Bascove shares her fascination with these structures by capturing their individuality. The exhibit will run from June 18 to August 13.
Since 1967 the Parks Department has hosted over 1,000 temporary outdoor art displays in parks citywide. The works have included both readymade sculpture and installations inspired by the characteristics and landscape of a specific site. Some of the major exhibitions have included: Niki deSaint-Phalle and Jean Tingely (1968); Louise Nevelson (1972); Mark di Suvero (1975); Henry Moore (1984); Noah’s Art group show (1989); Fernando Botero (1993); Keith Haring (1997); Whitney Biennial (2002, 2004); Otterness on Broadway (2004); and Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates (2005).

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