Tag Archive | Public Art

Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, In and Around NYC!

Gilded Cage Central Park
Ai Weiwei’s Gilded Cage in Central Park (All Photos By Gail)

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has a new series of public art sculpture installations up in Manhattan and across the five boroughs, which is called Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Inspired by the international migration crisis and current geopolitical landscape, the ambitious project is installed in over 300 locations, including two monumental sculptures situated within in highly-trafficked Manhattan parks, along with security fences on top of, and in between, buildings (such as The Cooper Union), and several bus shelters. In addition, there are also graphic and photographic works on flags, billboards and lamppost banners. I saw a lot of these banners along Chrystie Street, which is where I also got my first glimpse of one of the fences.

Fence On Chrystie
Rooftop Fence Installation at 189 Chrystie Street

Fence On Chrystie

Ai’s metal fence is designed as a modular form, readily adaptable to the existing architecture, to span and partition the space.

Fence On Chrystie

You can still see the fences at night, because they are illuminated.

Fence On Bowery
Rooftop Fence Installation on Bowery

Don’t forget to look up!

Bus Shelter at Ave C and E 6th Street
Bus Shelter at Ave C and E 6th Street

Gilded Cage Central Park

While it’s fun to spot the fences, it’s the interactive sculptures in the parks that really bring the Instagram Moments. Gilded Cage located at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park (at 5th Avenue and 60th Street) can be entered on one side.

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

Gilded Cage Central Park Top Detal

Gilded Cage Central Park Top Detail

This is the money shot, am I right?

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

This turnstile is trapped between two layers of the cage and cannot be accessed from inside or outside. Think on that for a bit.

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

Gilded Cage Central Park

I haven’t see Gilded Cage at night, but it has to also be illuminated, and you can probably get an entirely different vibe from it (not to mention great photos) after dark.

Gilded Cage Central Park
Facing The Plaza Hotel

On the evening of the same day I saw Gilded Cage, Geoffrey and I were down in Tribeca at an art opening and we walked back uptown through Washington Square Park so I could get a glimpse of Arch, which, appropriately, is installed under the one of the most famous landmarks in the city.

Washington Square Arch Park to Street View With Fountain

Let’s take a closer look!

Washington Square Arch Park to Street View

Arch is also a cage-like structure with a cut-out passageway in the center, which is formed in the shadowy shape of two men holding each other. The passageway was influenced by one of Marcel Duchamp’s early artworks.

Arch Park to Street View

This is the view facing the Arch from inside the park, looking towards the park’s northern boarder on University Place.

Arch Park to Street View

And now we walk through!

Arch Street to Park View

Arch Street to Park View

Washington Square Arch Street to Park View
Looking at the Arch from Outside the Park!

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is a fun thing to see all over the city, and if you have friends or relatives visiting from outside NYC it is a cool, non-touristy thing to expose them to the art of Ai Weiwe! Enjoy!

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is on Exhibit Citywide Through February 11, 2018. Consult the Google for Locations Near You!

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Pink Thing of The Day: Dale Chihuly’s Rose Crystal Tower in Union Square

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Uptown View
All Photos By Gail

I first noticed the Rose Crystal Tower, a new public art installation from globally famous glass artist Dale Chihuly, as I rode past it while I was on the 14th Street bus. The eye-catching pink sculpture was unveiled on October 6th, 2017 and will stay up for one full year, as part of the NYC Parks’ program Art in the Parks (which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year). Art in the Parks is responsible for many notable works of art in public green spaces around the city, including the OY/YO installation in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Park View

While it maintains a semi-translucent quality, the Rose Crystal Tower is not actually made of glass, but rather  is composed of Polyvitro crystals and steel. According to an announcement from the Parks Department, Polyvitro is “the artist’s term for a plastic material which he casts into individual chunks which resemble glass, but are lighter and more resilient.” There is a similar sculpture at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum in Seattle, and you can see a bit of that piece in this photo, which I took when I was there several years ago.

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Park View

I have walked by the Rose Crystal Tower a few times and have taken photos of it from many different angles and in different lighting. It is always gorgeous.

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Park View

Check out the difference in the way the individual crystal groupings look in the daytime, as compared with how it looks at night, in the shots above and below.

Rose Crystal Tower at Night Detail 2
Detail of the Sculpture at Night

Here are more nighttime shots, where you can really apreciate the interior illumination.

Rose Crystal Tower at Night

Rose Crystal Tower at Night

Chihuly’s Rose Crystal Tower is located on the east side of Union Square Park, on the traffic triangle at 15th Street and Park Avenue South. The work will be on display through October 2018, so you have lots of time to see it.

Rose Crystal Tower at Night

Giant Inflatable Trump Rat in Chelsea Gallery District

Dump Rat Front View
All Photos By Gail

I was out in the Chelsea Gallery District for a weekend afternoon Art Safari when I spotted this Giant Inflatable Rat in the likeness of Dump, parked adjacent to the High Line on West 26th Street. As you can see, the resemblance is uncanny!

Dump Rat Side View
Dump Rat with Onlooker Included to Show Scale

Dump Rat (my words, since I do my best to never say or type the name of The Evile One) is a take on the Inflatable Scabby Rat, an enduring sign of resistance, which has been re-purposed by BravinLee gallery to help lead protest against Trump’s policies. Their intent is to fabricate an inflatable Trump Rat and get it out into the world, keep it circulating, and loan it out to protests. What a Genius idea, and one I can very much get behind!

Backside of Dump Rat
Dump Rat’s Fat Ass

According to the gallery’s mission statement: Trump Rat is not about ridicule as in tit for tat or a comeuppance. It is way more than that. It is classic satire, it is art imitating life, holding up a mirror to a president whose modus operandi, MO, every single day, is about governing by ridicule, communicating by ridicule, decision-making by ridicule. Trump Rat is, of course, not literal, but it is in a long tradition of artistic satire and psychological portraiture.

Dump Rat T Shirt

They are also selling  Dump Rat T Shirts! Info on how to get one for yourself is below:

Bravin Lee

Trump Rat is 15’ tall and comes complete with comb-over, unsightly eye bags, a long rat tail, confederate flag cuff-links and Russian Federation lapel pin.

Dump Rat was design by artist Jeffrey Beebe and fabricated by Mac Yates at Inflatable Images. This inflatable was made In America! Find out more about Dump Rat at This Link!

Dump Rat Side View

Os Gemeos Break Dancers Double Mural on West 14th Street

Os Gemeos Mural Western Face Week of Sept 23Os Gemeos Mural Eastern Face Week of Sept 23
All Photos By Gail

Over the course of three weeks in September (though the exact beginning and completion dates are unknown to me), I watched Brazilian street artists (and twin brothers), Os Gemeos, paint the above murals, which cover the exposed facades of two buildings that border a vacant lot, located on the north side of West 14th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. The murals portray two rival break dancing crews from the 80s. I imagine the artwork, which is a great example of Os Gemeos very distinctive style, will stay up until someone decides to put up a building. Which could happen at any time.

Os Gemeos Mural Western Face Week of Sept 9Os Gemeos Mural Eastern Face Week of Sept 9

This is what the murals looked like when I first walked past them, during the weekend of September 9th.

Os Gemeos Mural Western Face Week of Sept 16Os Gemeos Mural Eastern Face Week of Sept 16

And here is the progress one week later, on September 16th. You can see that the Pandolfo Brothers (Os Gemeos true identities) have started to incorporate structural characteristics of the buildings into the mural and its characters!

 

Ghetto Blaster Os Gemeos

The Boom Box located in the lower left corner of the western mural is painted to extend onto the attached storefront.

Os Gemeos Hat Chimney Detail

And a building chimney vent has been transformed into another character’s hat — very fun!

Os Gemeos T Shirt Detail

The painted denim jacket that the girl is holding up also contains a tribute to the late graffiti legend Dondi in a design by Todd James. Very meta! Once again, the globally  famous graffiti  twins have come out with a delightful piece of public art that is over the top!

Os Gemeos Mural Eastern Face Week of Sept 23

Os Gemeos Mural Dual View

Pink Thing of The Day: Les Pommes d’Adam By Franz West

Les Pommes d’Adam
All Photos By Gail

During my semi-annual weekend escape to the Berkshires, I was able to finally make a trip to Mass MoCA, where we accidentally discovered the Franz West group of sculptures known as Les Pommes d’Adam (Adam’s Apple), late in the day while we were trying to find our car. Being surprised by these sculptures definitely allowed us to end our thoroughly enjoyable visit on a very high note!

Les Pommes d’Adam

Les Pommes d’Adam is rough-hewn and made of basic materials: metal, epoxy, paint, and concrete. The four pink biomorphic totems, each standing at approximately 25 feet, are at once crude in shape, yet highly finished.

Les Pommes d’Adam

 Les Pommes d’Adam was, um, erected at Mass MoCA in April of 2014 after previously being installed in Paris, France, in close proximity to the Vendôme Column, on top of which stands a statue of Napoléon Bonaparte in Roman garb.

Les Pommes d’Adam

Les Pommes d’Adam

Eye On Design: Bryan Hunt’s Coenties Ship

Coenties Ship
All Photos By Gail

Just across Water Street from the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a tiny circular plaza, lined with shops and cafes, known as Coentis Slip. In the center of the plaza you will find the similarly-named Coenties Ship by renowned sculptor Bryan Hunt. The 20 foot tall stainless steel strapping form that stands upon vertically on a circular dome of cast glass is impossible to ignore.  With the Spaceship-like form of this sculpture, Hunt has stated that he intended to invoke buoyancy and nautical nuance poised for a future. The sculpture was erected in October of 2006.

Coenties Ship

The sculpture was originally commissioned by the Art Commission of NYC as part of the Percent for Arts program. In order to resolve certain structural logistics issues, Hunt partnered with the firm of Jaroff Design, who specilalize in custom architectural metal and glass design and fabrication services to the architecture, interior design construction and art communities. Hunt wanted to balance his curving metal sculpture with a bell-shaped pedestal made out of custom cast glass, but he was unsure whether that could be done. Drawing on their expertise in combining integrated lighting and custom glass fabrication, Jaroff Design developed, and then fabricated the solution – casting the bell in numerous individual pieces installed around a supportive metal core.

Coenties Ship Base Detal

The pedestal appears to magically support the massive sculpture and its interior lighting system (not seen here, due the sculpture being photographed during daylight hours), devised by lighting designer Dale Knoth, illuminates the surface with a glowing green tone. Additional light comes from below the ground, where a mirrored finishing on the base of the inlaid decorative backpainted glass pavers reflects the light from the pedestal upward. Together, the cast glass and architectural lighting components provide the perfect accentuation for the upward swirl of the cast stainless steel.

Coenties Ship

Coenties Ship was awarded the New York City Design Excellence Award in 2006.

Jonathan Borofsky’s Human Structures at Plaza 33, Penn Station

Human Structures
All Photos By Gail

We were just arriving for a fun press event at The Pennsy Food Hall in Penn Plaza, just out front of Madison Square Garden, when I spotted this fantastic, towering public art work by Jonathan Borofsky. Entitled Human Structures, the sculpture sits where Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke Group sculpture previously stood. Human Structures closely resembles a tower of colorful, interlocking paper dolls. I like it.

Human Structures Detail

Aside from its obvious purpose as  selfie-magnet, Human Structures is part of Plaza33 Inc’s efforts to turn the no-man’s land outside of Penn Station into a welcoming pedestrian plaza hosting seasonal live music and performances.

Human Structures

Jonathan Borofsky’s Human Structures can be found at Plaza 33, on the East side of 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, in NYC.

Human Structures

Human Structures

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