Thomas Paine Park

Last Chance To View Landscapes Of The Future In City Parks

Friday, November 3, 2006
No. 107

Parks & Recreation’s exhibit Alternative Landscape Components: A New Land Art, a new series by renowned earth artist Dennis Oppenheim, will end this Wednesday, November 8. Just as the colorful fall leaves will soon fall, Oppenheim’s work will bloom for just a few more days. The exhibit has been running since September 14, 2006. Two outdoor installations and an indoor exhibit have introduced a radical new direction in Oppenheim’s work, an integration of sculpture and landscape architecture.

"Parks & Recreation’s temporary public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in City parks. Dennis Oppenheim’s work is an exemplary illustration of incorporating nature into art and art into nature."

Thomas Paine Park in downtown Manhattan is home to "Garden for the Accused," an extensive garden named for the adjacent courts and jails. The uptown installation, "Landscape Installations for Central Park," places the artist’s trees and flowerbeds alongside their natural versions, creating a dialog between the organic and the synthetic. Both installations involve highly artificial, manmade landscapes of trees, rocks, hedges and flowers. Fluorescent trees with steel mesh branches support brightly colored acrylic shapes. The artist utilized steel, acrylic panels and household and landscaping objects such as trashcans, milk crates, fencing and plastic tubing to create elements that mimic nature.

"In a way, it’s like bringing a Las Vegas lobby to the backyard," said artist Dennis Oppenheim. "The structures resemble interior furniture more than what one would order from a nursery."

These installations are part of a large, new body of work that comes from ideas that the artist has explored since his early rejection of the traditional gallery space for the outdoors during the Land Art Movement of the 1960s. The Arsenal Gallery exhibit will examine this new and still developing work by displaying working drawings for the current outdoor pieces, as well as yet-unrealized landscape elements. Curated by Parks & Recreation’s Public Art Coordinator Clare Weiss, the exhibit features photo montages in locations ranging from suburban backyards to dramatic mountain and seaside landscapes. Oppenheim’s work has been shown extensively in major galleries and museums around the world.

Thomas Paine Park is located in Foley Square at Worth, Lafayette and Centre Streets in downtown Manhattan. The uptown installation and the Arsenal Gallery are located in Central Park on 5th Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Admission is free.

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Photos available upon request.

Directions to Thomas Paine Park

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