Tag Archive | public art

Abigail DeVille’s Light of Freedom in Madison Square Park

light of freedom at night photo by gain worley
All Photos By Gail

On the Friday before Joe Biden’s electoral victory was officially announced, I had a late afternoon appointment near Madison Square Park. It was already twilight when I exited onto Fifth Avenue and 25th Street and I decided to walk home to take advantage of an unseasonably-warm evening and what I think of as the romantic atmosphere imparted by the newly-restored standard time. Darkness at night: what a concept. As I crossed Broadway I noticed a new piece of public art in the park which resembles the Statue of Liberty’s torch, entitled Light of Freedom. New York native Abigail Deville is the artist. I snapped a few photos and then continued on my way.

light of freedom at day photo by gail worley

This past Saturday, I had the chance to check out Light of Freedom in the daylight, where it’s easier to see that the torch’s flame is comprised of disembodied mannequin arms; something which I find very appealing.

light of freedom flame detail photo by gail worley

Let’s zoom-in for a closer look.

Here’s is an excerpt from Madison Square Park Conservancy’s statement on the piece:

Light of Freedom carries many cogent symbols. DeVille has filled a torch — referring to the Statue of Liberty’s hand holding a torch, which was on view in Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882 — with a timeworn bell, a herald of freedom, and with the arms of mannequins, beseeching viewers. The scaffold, which prevents access physically and metaphorically, recalls a work site, an insistent image on the urban landscape. But the scaffold is golden, summoning the glory of labor and the luminosity in the struggle that can lead to change.  Formative to Light of Freedom are the words of the abolitionist, author, and statesman Frederick Douglass, who proclaimed in an 1857 speech delivered in Canandaigua, New York: “If there is no struggle there is no progress.” The torch refers to the light of democracy and its foundation in ancient systems of government by citizens.

DeVille has described working on this piece: “In my research, I have found that the first Blacks to be brought to New York City were eleven Angolans in 1626. That makes people of African descent the second-oldest group of settlers in New Amsterdam, after the Dutch. Unfortunately, history has erased the contributions and victories of this group. I want to make something that could honor their lives and question what it means to be a New Yorker, past, present, and future.”

light of freedom at night 2 photo by gail worley

Light of Freedom will be on Exhibit in Madison Square Park Through January 31st, 2021, so see it while you can!

Kobra’s Peace Mural in Midtown

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural by Eduardo Kobra on 44th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues I thought it might be new. As it turns out, this work, which features an image of American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, has been up since August 2018.

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley

Aside from the striking likeness, which is a hallmark of all Kobra murals, I love how he honors Lichtenstein’s style with the inclusion of background dots and a conversation bubble, which are featured in many of the artist’s comic strip-influenced works.

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley

And the message, of course, is utterly timeless.

Faceless Charlie Brown Mural By Jerkface

charlie brown jerkface mural photo by gail worley
All Photos by Gail

As the Covid Life moves into its sixth month, my daily walks occasionally lead to the ‘discovery’ of not-so-new street art that’s two blocks from my apartment. Just being serious. Recently, I became acquainted with this monumental mural that takes up the entire side of a five-story apartment building, and features a sea of innumerable faceless Charlie Browns. The centermost Charlie stands atop a pitcher’s mound, gloved up and waiting for . . . what, exactly? 2020 to end? Aren’t we all.

charlie brown jerkface mural photo by gail worley

The artist is the very famous Jerkface, whose work is recognizable for using well-known cartoon characters, but with a twist, relying on the 1st Amendment to avoid copyright claims.

charlie brown jerkface mural photo by gail worley

The mural was completed in October of 2014 and, despite significant fading of the once vibrant yellow and green paint, it still looks pretty good after six years of exposure to the elements. Charlie and his faceless clones adorn the eastern exposure of Icon Realty-owned 402 E. 12th Street (just east of 1st Avenue) and overlook a street hockey court just adjacent to the Lower East Side Playground.

charlie brown jerkface mural photo by gail worley

When the playground is open, you can snap a pic like this through the chainlink fence.

charlie brown jerkface mural photo by gail worley

charlie brown jerkface mural photo by gail worley

Play Ball!

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Hosts Public Exhibition of Jun Kaneko Sculptures

Space Between FLW Sculpture 2

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House
Provides Perfect Backdrop to Jun Kaneko
Sculptures in Public Art Exhibition

Are you a fan of the late Architect Frank Lloyd Wright? I sure am. When I visited Chicago on my 2019 summer vacation, Geoffrey and I took a day trip Oak Park to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and we had all kinds of crazy fun. If you are also a lover of art and architecture, and you also have the means to travel to Buffalo, New York, here’s an excursion that is worth the effort to get to. The Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative has partnered with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House to present an exciting installation featuring artist Jun Kaneko’s monumental ceramic sculptures, which will be on view through early October 2021. Titled The Space Between: Frank Lloyd Wright | Jun Kaneko, the installation comprises seven of the artist’s enormous, freestanding ceramic works for outdoor display on the newly restored grounds of the Martin House estate.

Space Between FLW Sculpture 3

Born in Japan in 1942, Kaneko is an internationally renowned artist primarily known for his pioneering work in ceramic materials. His large pieces, called dangos, are the result of a complex traditional Japanese raku firing and glazing process that produces unique geometric shapes and vibrant color combinations. “In this era of social distancing, the safe, engaging, stimulating experience that public art provides is more important than ever before,” said Janne Sirén, Albright-Knox Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director. “We are proud to collaboratively present this exhibition with the Martin House as our organizations strive to fulfill our missions of enriching and transforming our community.” Wright and Kaneko were both pioneers in their fields, and Wright had an enduring interest in Japanese arts and culture and a reverence for nature, all of which are beautifully captured in Kaneko’s work.

Space Between FLW Sculpture 4

“This public art installation is a unique opportunity to experience the interaction between Kaneko’s sculptures, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, and the surrounding landscape,” said Mary Roberts, Martin House Executive Director. “The site is now reopened to public tours, and the artwork has provided another reason to visit the estate.” Many of Kaneko’s works represent years of production time due to their immense scale, which takes months to slowly build up to avoid the works being crushed under their own weight. The tallest works in the exhibition are more than 10 feet tall with walls in excess of three inches thick and weigh close to 3,000 pounds. Their fired slip-surfaces create a glass-like coating suitable for outdoor public display in the extreme weather conditions that will occur during the sixteen-month installation.

Space Between FLW Sculpture 1

In addition to the seven large works on the grounds, several smaller works will be on view inside the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, the Martin House public visitor center. The selection of works for the installation has been curated by Albright-Knox Public Art Curator Aaron Ott and organized by Martin House Curator Susana Tejada. Visit This Link for more information, and to plan your visit!

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center Returns in September 2020!

Ghada Amer Happily Ever After
Ghada Amer, Happily Ever After (2005) Image Courtesy of the Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery

A summer without art is no summer at all. If you’re an art fan who misses going to museums, keeping up with local galleries and exploring art fairs as much as I do, then you will be excited to learn that the second edition of Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center will usher out the summer with one-month outdoor exhibit of works by six internationally renowned artists: Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez, Andy Goldsworthy, Lena Henke, Camille Henrot and Thaddeus Mosley. The site-specificworks will be installed in open, public locations throughout Rockefeller Plaza, allowing for ample social distancing space in compliance with all City and State guidelines. Offering free admission to all, Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center will be on display from September 1st through October 2, 2020.

Curated by Brett Littman (Director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York), the second edition is inspired by the site’s and the city’s natural materials of earth, rock, and plants, and by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the original date when the exhibit was scheduled to debut. Participating artists have responded to that inspiration, with five of them creating major new site-specific works.

Works on display in the Rockefeller Center program include:

ghada amer womens qualities
Image Courtesy of the Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery

Ghada Amer (Goodman Gallery, Marianne Boesky): Egypt-born New York-based artist Ghada Amer presents an ambitious garden installation, titled Women’s Qualities. The piece was first conceptualized and installed in Busan, South Korea, in 2000 after the artist undertook a simple study, asking members of the public what qualities they found most important in women. 20 years on, the artist revisits the piece in New York, combining gender stereotypes that she encountered in Busan in 2000 with perspectives from Americans in 2020. The responses are written with flowers to create a living portrait of the impossible “woman ideal.”

RedFlag - Maryland
Image © Andy Goldsworthy, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Andy Goldsworthy (Galerie Lelong & Co.): Red Flags (2020) is a major new installation looking at the contexts of flags – their inherent and potential meanings – in one of New York’s most iconic flag flying sites. Goldsworthy replaces Rockefeller Center’s flags with flags colored with earth gathered from each of the 50 states.

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Jean Shin’s Floating Maize at Brookfield Place

jean shin installation photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

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.

jean shin installation photo by gail worley
jean shin installation photo by gail worley

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.

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Alexander Calder’s Saurien Sculpture on 57th Street

alexander calder saurien sculpture photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

In the absence of any organized celebrations for the holiday, I spent the afternoon of July 4th stretching my legs in midtown and enjoying the sites ‘on exhibit’ in the museum of the streets. At the southwest corner of Madison Avenue and 57th Street, I paused to appreciate a monumental sculpture that I’ve been passing by for years now, which is Alexander Calder’s bright orange, steel installation known as Saurien.

alexander calder saurien sculpture photo by gail worley

Saurien reaches a height of 18 feet at its tallest point, and the piece reminds me of one of Louis Bourgeois‘ monumental spiders, in that it stretches its ‘legs’ across the entrance to the IBM building, inviting visitors to walk under and around it. Although I’ve never read this in a formal description of the sculpture, one critic has claimed that this Calder is clearly meant to represent a dinosaur, with its stegosaurus-like spikes emerging from the top two arches. I can see that.

calder sculpture detail photo by gail worley

The irregular-edged, top forms inspired me to take this shot, with the spikes set in contrast against the skyline. Artsy!

alexander calder saurien sculture photo by gail worley

While Calder is most famous for his kinetic sculptures and delicate, hanging mobiles, Saurien is an example of the artist’s fixed work, which are called stabiles. Saurien was created in Calder’s Connecticut studio in 1975.

alexander calder saurien scuplture photo by gail worley

Alexander Calder’s Saurien is Located in Front of the IBM Building in Midtown, at 590 Madison Avenue, on the Southwest Corner at 57th Street, NYC.

Joy of Life Sculpture in Zuccotti Park

joy of life sculpture photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

Zuccotti Park in the Financial District is perhaps most famous for being ground zero for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it’s also home to several pieces of monumental public art. For example, behold this bright red, 70-foot-high painted steel installation by sculptor Mark di Suvero, entitled Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life), which went up at the corner of Broadway and Cedar Street in June 2006. The sculpture is comprised of “open-ended tetrahedrons” as described by di Suvero, and was formerly located at the Holland Tunnel rotary.

joy of life sculpture photo by gail worley

joy of life sculpture detail photo by gail worley

Update: I was in the area on July 25th and took a couple of new shots (above and below). You can see the city has put barriers around the sculpture to keep people from congregating in the park.

joy of life sculpture photo by gail worley

East Village Life: Photos of Street Art From My Neighborhood Walks

madonna and child neon mural photo by gail worley
Madonna and Child Neon-Look Mural by Straker on East 3nd Street at 1st Avenue (All Photos By Gail)

Hello and welcome to week two of my ass-kicking East Village Life. In this week’s edition, we will walk through a virtual gallery of assorted street art and public art pieces that I’ve passed by on my weather-permitting daily walks in and around my neighborhood. Enjoy!

love mural by hektad at fsgap photo by gail worley

Hektad is a name that you’re going see a few times in this post, as his optimism-infused artworks are all over the East Village, especially in the First Street Green Art Park, located on First Street at First Avenue. Since this photo was taken, I believe the park has temporarily closed due to the Covid as it was attracting crowds. And we can’t have that.

Madina Deli Shop Photo By Gail Worleylove mural with portrait by hektad photo by gail worley

Here are a couple of additional Hektad pieces on 11th Street just East of First Avenue. These are side by side, adjacent to this monumental piece by Kobra.

king kong mural photo by gail worley

It does not get much more NYC than this mural of King Kong by French graffiti artist Moi One (@moi.one). Find it next to David’s Cafe on St. Mark’s Place near Tompkin’s Square Park.

avenue a tile mosaic by jim power photo by gail worley

This colorful tile mosaic by Jim Power, known locally as the Mosaic Man, marks the intersection of Avenue A and St Mark’s Place. Jim composes all of his intricate pieces from up-cycled china, glass, pottery and found objects to create unique, site specific works of art. His mosaics are all over the neighborhood.

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Jill Mulleady’s We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright at The High Line


All Photos By Gail

In We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright, artist Jill Mulleady (b. 1989, Montevideo, Uruguay) portrays a surreal landscape populated by multiple figures. Though the individuals are clustered close to one another by the riverbank, they appear disconnected — even self absorbed.

We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright Photo By Gail Worley

The work suggests that contemporary life is hyperconnected yet ultimately isolating, a sense heightened by the scene’s lush natural surroundings. Without the protection and surveillance of the built environment, Mulleady asks, are her subjects more free, more vulnerable, or both?

We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright By Gail Worley

This mural went up in March 2020 and is on indefinite view. You can see it from the beginning of the High Line on a building located at 95 Horatio Street.

we wither time into a coil of fright photo by gail

Current, Mid-Pandemic Photo Taken July 18th, 2020.