If you’re looking for a fun way to get in your daily steps, while enjoying nature and discovering a bit of contemporary art, then head on over to Riverside Park and check out RE:GROWTH, A Celebration of Art, Riverside Park, and the New York Spirit, a summer-long public art exhibit which includes site-specific works by 24 artists and covers 100 blocks of the westside park and waterfront.
Among my favorites of these works is an entirely charming fantasy garden installation by New York-based Korean artist Sui Park entitled Summer Vibe. While not entirely accessible — it’s located behind a locked gate — Summer Vibe is easily spotted along Riverside Drive at 78th Street as long as you know what you’re looking for.
The comprehensive Yayoi Kusama exhibit, Kusama Cosmic Nature, runs through October 2021 at the New York Botanical Garden, and it’s all kinds of crazy fun to explore. The garden recently added one of the legendary Japanese artist’s super popular immersive Infinity Mirrored Rooms to the mix, and for just $10 you get a whopping 45 seconds to enjoy the light show and take as many insta-worthy photos as you can: not much time really to work on your composition, but was it work it? Oh yeah! Especially since purchasing these limited-availbilty tickets in advance means pretty short lines as compared to the time I nearly crippled myself waiting to get into one of these things for three hours. Ugh, never again.
The Destruction of the Father is a critical cathartic work in Louise Bourgeois’ artistic development and psychic life. Completed in 1974, the year after the death of her husband, Robert Goldwater, the work is a synthesis of the soft landscapes, poured forms, and sexually explicit part objects that she made starting in 1960. It is also the artist’s first installation piece and looks forward to the Cells of the 1990s.
One of the great things about public art is how the viewer can have such a wholly unique experience of the piece depending on the time of day it is viewed. In the case of Day’s End, the new, permanent sculpture by David Hammons (b. 1943), I saw it up-close for the first time at, well, day’s end. Watching the sun set through the sculpture and dip behind the New Jersey skyline was a beautiful thing to behold, especially as many of us are only just now able to walk outside free of masks for the first time in over a year.
Fans of this blog will know that I am way into repurposing and recycling items that would otherwise end up in a landfill into both functional items and aesthetically pleasing works of art, so when I read about Floating Maize, artist Jean Shin’s new public art installation at the Brookfield Place mall, I braved the subway to get down there to check it out.
Known for her inventive works that transform discarded materials into elegant expressions of place and identity, Jean Shin’s art and practice is ingrained with the idea of sustainability. With that in mind, Shin has repurposed thousands of green plastic soda bottles into an elaborate installation that resembles an artificial landscape.
If you’ve passed by Gem Spa, the legendary East Village bodega that is home to the city’s Best Egg Cream (#BestEggCream) at any point since September 11th of this year, you may have done a double, or even a triple take. We know that St. Mark’s Place has become increasingly gentrified, but is Gem Spa now a bank, or wait, what is going on here, exactly?
While it has been rumored that a citibank is slated to take over the corner lot which has been home to Gem Spa since 1957, fear not: this an art installation meant to draw attention to, but also satirize, the phenomenon known as “Disappearing New York.” It isn’t very pretty.
Disclaimer text running across the bottom of the sign above reads:
schitibank has kept the historical appeal to this building to absorb their customer base. This schiti location is not affiliated with any other schiti locations. We don’t mean to gentrify, as schitibank is co-opting this space with Gem Spa to bring you an authentic banking, egg cream and vaping experience. Every customer is on surveillance cameras. Smile, you’re on camera.
The Gem Spa Schitibank installation is the work of Tommy Noonan and Doug Cameron of boutique marketing firm DCX Growth Accelerator, who are known for their ‘Artisanal’ publicity stunts (Google them and be very impressed).
Click Image to Enlarge So You Can Read the Fine Print!
God is definitely in the details here. Promotional posters for the ‘bank’s’ various perks and services include artwork by Robert Mapplethorpe as well as the likenesses of The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
Click Image to Enlarge for Detail
More posters and props can be found inside the bodega!
We clearly do not need another bank in the village (or anywhere in NYC, for that matter) but we do need a cool bodega that’s been around forever, and we need our delicious egg creams! Gem Spa is located at the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. Drop in and drop some cash next time you’re in the hood. Better yet, make a special trip to visit, so you can see the schitibank installation before they take it down!
Update, May 8th, 2020: Sadly, Gem Spa has fallen victim to the Coronavirus Outbreak. Read the Press Release After The Jump
As promised, here’s another one of my favorite Dining By Design Installations from this year’s DIFFA event, as David Scott Interiors and renowned international luxury furniture brand Roche Bobois invite guests to an elemental dining experience aboard a luxury liner cruising the Atlantic.
Thoughtfully crafted for modern entertaining, an ambient seating area splashed with hues of ocean blue and warm sunshine yellow transitions to a dining area evoking natural light reflecting onto wave-like water formations.
A window seat provides the perfect perch to overlook a natural wonder in the water with Zaria Forman (@zarialynn)’s video artwork titled Ode to an Iceberg, fearing video filmed by Forman in Whale Bay, Antartica (courtesy of Winston Wächter Fine Art). While guests cruise along, similarly to artists’ hands, the wind and water sculpt the icebergs into unimaginable melting shapes.
The unique installation features Roche Bobois’ iconic pieces such as the Bubble armchairs, Edito lounge chair, Ava Bridge chairs, Voiles Dining Table and Nonette floor lamps. Architectural lighting is provided by Orsman Design and tabletop arrangements are provided courtesy of Nikko Ceramics and Les Ateliers Courbet with floral arrangements by Mark Rose Events.
“Our design was driven by the sculptural quality of the pieces selected from the Roche Bobois collections,” says designer, David Scott. “The visual strength of the brilliant yellow Bubble chair and the dramatic shape and finish of the Voiles dining table is a striking pairing. Song Wen Zhong’sAva Bridge clear dining chair is the perfect nod to Zaria Forman’s video piece . They look like they could melt away right in front of your eyes!”
“Roche Bobois is proud to support DIFFA in its continuous efforts to fight the misconceptions and judgements against HIV/AIDS,” says Jennifer Barre, National Marketing Director for Roche Bobois. “We couldn’t be happier to have partnered with the amazing team of David Scott Interiors. They really brought a storytelling dimension to the space.”