The Official New York City WebsiteResidentsBusinessVisitorsGovernmentOffice of the always open

Things to Do > Attractions > Art and Monuments > Temporary Public Outdoor Art

Media Advisory


S: An Urban Oasis
On View August 27, 2002 - September 21, 2002

New York (July 23, 2002) - Nancy Hwang presents "S," a performance project in which she will provide free shampoos, conditioning treatments and massages to passersby in Petrosino Park from August 27 to September 21, 2002.

"S" is the third and final installment in a series of works that take the form of interpersonal situations on the edge of the public/private divide. In "2," Hwang tended a tiny bar designed to be visited by one person at a time (White Columns, NY, Winter 2000-2001). In "N," the artist gave anonymous manicures at a customized manicure station encircled by a translucent curtain (Artists Space, NY, Fall 2001). The projects take their names from the New York City subway system, which represents the ideas of accessibility, possibility, exchange, and personal and civic responsibility that underlie the work itself.

With "S," Hwang moves from the art space to the city park. Lieutenant Joseph L. Petrosino Park‹a tiny triangular patch of asphalt located at the convergence of Lafayette, Centre, and Kenmare Streets in Lower Manhattan‹will be outfitted by Hwang with a circle of potted palms. Inside this newly enclosed area, the visitor will find a professional shampoo basin and chair, a supply cart laden with bottles of shampoo and conditioner, neat stacks of clean plush towels, soothing music, and Hwang herself, ready to give a shampoo.

Hwang¹s experiments in economic exchange - all services are free - are also experiments in personal exchange. Borrowing and refining situations from the real world in which intimate contact occurs between strangers, Hwang then locates them within the art context and becomes directly involved. Together, she and her visitor are then able to perceive the possibilities and structures of their interactions as they occur. What are the boundaries of professionalism? What does an exchange of money or its absence affect? What do people want? Hwang¹s relationships with the businesses whose work she is duplicating‹bars, nail salons, and now hair salons‹are also conceptually integral to the series. Sponsorships or in-kind donations, such as the shampoo and conditioner provided by Laicale salon and the plumbing installed by Dae-Heung Services, are themselves part of the artist¹s inquiry into economic and interpersonal relationships.

To implement "S," Hwang will have to carry water in 5-gallon buckets across the street to the park from Storefront for Art and Architecture, a non-profit multi-disciplinary arts organization. This act humorously underlines the project¹s values of invigoration, attention, care and maintenance, proposing a utopia in which Hwang can give to each of the city¹s slices of asphalt essentially what she gives to each of her "customers."

Nancy Hwang holds a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland. She is the recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Art Grant (2001), a Public Art Fund Proposal Commission (2001), and Philip Morris Fellowships (1994-95, 1995-96). She has participated in the Bronx Museum of Art¹s Artist in the Marketplace Seminar Program (2001) and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center¹s National Studio Program (1996-97). She has exhibited in New York, Cleveland, Detroit and Washington , DC, and in Hamburg, Germany. She lives and works in New York City.

"S" is made possible by special permission from the City of New York, Parks & Recreation.

In-kind support for "S" is kindly provided by Bicycle Habitat, Chris King of Plants, Dae Heung Services, Laicale, Moon Belt Company, Mr. Beauty Equipment Ltd., Pfiff Restaurant and Bar, and Sung Studio.

A unique network of support for this project, through various forms of assistance and services, has been generously provided by Artists Space, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and White Columns.

Funding for "S" is provided in part by Artists Space Independent Project Grant(s), Moon Belt Company, Laicale, Bicycle Habitat, and various individuals.

"S" is open to the public (no appointments necessary) from noon to 5pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, between August 27 and September 21, 2002.