Tag Archive | Public Art

Rose III By Isa Genzken

Rose III By Isa Genzken
All Photos By Gail

It’s so hard to see all of the beautiful things there are to seen NYC; especially when you don’t even know what you’re missing. It can take going just a few blocks out of your way by complete accident to discover a breathtaking work of public art that’s already been in that location for a year or more. And you never would have seen it if you didn’t have to get a new iPhone battery at the Apple Store located in the Oculus mall adjacent to the World Trade Center. These were the circumstances that brought me face-to-face with German artist Isa Genzken’s monumental sculpture, Rose III, which was erected in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park in September of 2018.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

Standing at a height of 26-feet, Rose III is forged from painted steel and is on long-term loan to Brookfield Properties, which owns the park. Genzken, who is known for capturing the fragility and impermanence of roses in her public sculptures, rendered a Yellow Rose that was based on an actual rose she picked and developed for production, in Switzerland.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

Ric Clark, senior managing partner and chairman of Brookfield Properties, has praised Genzken’s sculpture as being a “captivating addition to Zuccotti Park and the landscape of lower Manhattan.” It certainly is a fantastic subject to photograph with the nearly endless perspectives and dramatic backdrops created by the panorama of high-rise buildings surrounding the park.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

It’s completely surreal. Manhattan’s iconic skyline is said to have inspired Genzken’s work, as many of her sculptures stand tall and narrow. Some of her other notable works have been installed throughout Manhattan. One that I am very familiar with, Rose II (2007) is installed at the Museum of Modern Art, where it is part of the museum’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

“The Rose is both an homage to a city that Genzken knows and loves, and a strong statement for unity and equality that every passer-by in this city of millions can enjoy,” said Laura Hoptman, a curator who organized the installation of Rose II at MoMA. “It is a simultaneously a reflection of the empathy of the artist as well as the humanity of its spectators. Like all great art is.”

Rose III By Isa Genzken

John Mosler’s First Large Scale Sculpture Decusatio Now On View Outside The Norwood Club!

Decusation by John Mosler
All Photos By Gail

Brooklyn-based artist John Mosler’s first large-scale outdoor sculpture, Decusatio – meaning Intersection in Latin – is now installed on the terrace at Norwood, the historic townhouse and private members club at 241 West 14th Street. The figurative work was informed by its 14th Street location which, for many, has come to serve as a delineation point between uptown and downtown.

Placed on the balcony, Decusatio is hard to miss; rising over eight feet tall, and painted in a vibrant yellow hue. The work offers a conceptual framework that is intended to respect and enhance the Club and its history, while simultaneously connecting to the location, activity and history in the surrounding area.

Decusation Sculpture

Decusatio’s placement required innovative technical and engineering applications by the artist to ensure it was light enough to be easily placed on a metal balcony, while also durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements.  Mosler offers, “The figurative over tone and the bright yellow color is intended to capture the intersection of humanity and the vibrant human interaction in the surrounding physical environment.”

Decusation Close Up

Martin Kesselman, color influencer and owner of INCOLOUR, worked with Mosler on finding the right hue. “Yellow tends to be perceived in many different ways, more so than other colors,” he explains. “We wanted to stay clear of a frosty cast, one that may veer green. Natural exterior light can play some trickery, so we had to walk that warm and cool fine line.”

Norwood Club Exterior

About Norwood:

The Andrew Norwood House is an elegant urban residence designed in a transitional style which combines Greek revival and italianate features. A remarkably preserved slice of early Victorian architecture and lifestyle – both inside and out; the House is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.In 2007 Alan Linn opened Norwood Club, a bustling five-story club with more than 1,100 members ranging from 21 to 80 years old. Its ranks include architects, artists, fashion designers, musicians, media moguls, and art collectors.

Decusation at Night

Radio Station Call Letters Sculpture, Chicago

95.1 WBEZ FM
Photos By Gail

At first (or even second) glance, this colorful, towering sculpture comprised of jumbled letters and numbers may appear very random and indecipherable. Take a look at it from the correct angle, however, and it clearly spells out the frequency and call letters of radio station 95.1 WBEZ FM, in Chicago, which is an NPR station. Created by artist John Adduci, who is Chicago native, the sculpture has been around since 1996 and it changes location in and around Navy Pier at random intervals.

WBEZ BY John Adduci

Hippo Ballerina in the Flatiron District

Hippo Ballerina
Photos By Gail

If you’ve seen the classic Disney film Fantasia, one of the Flatiron district’s new residents  may look familiar to you. Hippo Ballerina, created by artist Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, is a bronze statue of a Hippo wearing a Tutu, standing over fifteen feet high, and weighing two and one-half tons.  Installed on the east side of the Flatiron Building during the first week of September, the monumental artwork was formerly installed at Lincoln Center, but has been without a home since it was removed from that location in  October, 2017. Kids especially seem to love it. If you’re looking for locations to snap unique souvenir photos from your trip to NYC, add this one to your list. The new installation of the statue was made possible through NYC DOT Art & Event Programming, Cavalier Galleries and the Flatiron Partnership.

Hippo Ballerina can be found on the Flatiron South Public Plaza, Between 22nd and 23rd Streets along Broadway, in Manhattan. The Statue is Scheduled to Be Up Through Thanksgiving, 2019.

Hippo Ballerina

Queen Andrea’s Believe Mural On The Houston Bowery Wall

Queen Andrea Believe Mural
All Photos By Gail

Even though it’s been up since June 4th, it was just last week that I finally had the chance to check out the latest amazingly colorful mural on display at the famous Houston Bowery Wall, which is entitled Believe,  and is the work of Andrea von Bujdoss, aka Queen Andrea. Queen Andrea is a New York City-based artist who specializes in fine art, murals, typography, and graphic design.  Believe serves as a celebration of the city’s cultural diversity and “vibrancy of urban life.”

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

For Believe, in which Queen Andrea used paints in super bright colors, the eponymous typography messaging is a focal point, along with the words Love More on the lower right corner at street level. The artist uses these encouraging messages about staying positive and believing in what inspires you the most and makes you love more!

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

Queen Andrea’s focus on typography as an artist is an evolution of her history as a female graffiti artist. She grew up near the Houston Bowery Wall in Soho, where she began painting graffiti and studying graphic design as a young teen. The mural is  part of an ongoing partnership between Goldman Global Arts and Citi.

The Houston Bowery Mural Wall is located at the intersections of East Houston Street and Bowery on the Northwest Corner.

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

Five Conversations By Lubaina Himid On The High Line

Five Conversations
All Photos By Gail

The High Line always seems to have new public art installed along its mile-plus length of green space, and Five Conversations by Tanzanian-born artist Lubaina Himid, although it has been up since April, was new to me as I walked south along the path on my way to the Whitney Museum one sweltering Sunday afternoon.

Five Conversations

For Five Conversations, Himid introduces five wooden doors reclaimed from traditional Georgian townhouses, painted with life-size portraits, cut into silhouettes, that stand freely as flat sculptures. The portraits depict everyday, stylish women who love talking to each other!

Five Conversations Detail

These works have a theatrical quality, referencing stage sets and the simplified histories that dominate our world. In her signature way, Himid brings the two-dimensional medium of painting into our three-dimensional world.

Five Conversations Detail

Part of the En Plein Air, a Group Exhibit that Examines and Expands the Tradition of Outdoor Painting, On View Through March 2020.

 

Simone Leigh’s Brick House On The High Line

Brick House By Simone Leigh
All Photos By Gail

The first time I laid eyes on Simone Leigh’s monumental Brick House sculpture I was on the bus heading uptown on 10th Avenue.

Simone Leigh Brick House from Distance

I looked up and there she was, gazing out over the oncoming traffic from her perch on the 30th Street overpass, which I am told is now known as The Plinth. A month or so passed before I was able to pay her a proper visit and find out what she is all about.

Brick House Taken From Street Level

Brick House By Simone Leigh

Brick House is a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a Black woman with a torso that combines the forms of a skirt and a clay house. The sculpture’s head is crowned with an afro framed by cornrow braids, each ending in a cowrie shell. Brick House is the inaugural commission for the High Line Plinth, a new landmark destination for major public artworks in New York City.

Brick House By Simone Leigh
View of Brick House Looking East to 30th Street

This is the first monumental sculpture in Leigh’s Anatomy of Architecture series, an ongoing body of work in which the artist combines architectural forms, from regions as varied as West Africa and the Southern United States, with the human body. The sculpture’s title (which is familiar to most as the title to popular 1977-era song by The Commodores) comes from the term for a strong Black woman who stands with the strength, endurance, and integrity of a house made of bricks.

View of 10th Ave Looking South
View From The Plinth Looking South Down 10th Ave

Brick House references numerous architectural styles: Batammaliba architecture from Benin and Togo, the teleuk dwellings of the Mousgoum people of Cameroon and Chad, and the restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi. The sculpture contrasts sharply against the landscape it inhabits, where glass-and-steel towers shoot up from among older industrial-era brick buildings, and where architectural and human scales are in constant negotiation. Resolutely facing down 10th Avenue, Leigh’s powerful Black female figure challenges us to consider the architecture around us, and how it reflects customs, values, priorities, and society as a whole.

Brick House By Simone Leigh

Leigh works across sculpture, video, installation, and social practice, stitching together references from different historical periods and distant geographical locations. As a sculptor, Leigh works predominantly in ceramics—a medium that she mastered early in her career—continually pushing the boundaries of her chosen material by working in new methods and larger scales. In her intersectional practice, Leigh focuses on how the body, society, and architecture inform and reveal one another. She examines the construction of Black female subjectivity, both through specific historical figures such as Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham, and more generally through overlapping historical lineages across Europe, Africa, the US, and the Caribbean.

The High Line Plinth presents a series of art installations that rotate every eighteen months. Designed as the focal point of the Spur, the newest section of the park that opened in spring 2019, the Plinth is the first space on the High Line dedicated solely to new commissions of contemporary art.

Simone Leigh’s Brick House will be on View on The High Line Plinth (at the Spur), 30th St. and 10th Ave., NYC, Through September 2020.

Simoe Leigh Brick House from Distance

David Fried’s Stemmer Gets a Permanent Home on East 34th Street

David Fried Stemmer
All Photos By Gail

There is so much beauty in NYC, and you don’t have to look very far to find it. I was getting my steps in one Sunday afternoon when I noticed this beautiful, mirror-polished stainless steel abstract sculpture for first time. I took a handful of photos and then did some Googling to get the lowdown on this artwork, and this is what I found out. Artist David Fried’s Stemmer (part of an eponymous sculpture series ) is a public artwork that was permanently installed on the northeast corner of 34th Street and First Avenue in April of 2019, while the site (which is the courtyard of a high-rise apartment building) was still under construction, and before the plaza officially opened to the public in May.

David Fried Stemmer

David Fried Stemmer
David Fried’s Stemmer, Installation View

Please enjoy this in-depth analysis on the Stemmer sculpture series, found on Fried’s Website:

The networked spheres and interdependent multifaceted structures found in each Stemmer sculpture suggest a multitude of processes and phenomena in the natural and built environment. While their forms clearly follow basic laws of economy and self-organization found in adaptive bubble structures, there is also an intended association to organic cell clusters.

David Fried Stemmer

With an emphasis on the most fundamental form of autonomy — the Membrane: both a barrier and communicator between the self and the environment — Fried suggests an abstract embodiment of the origin of life-forms – natural or engineered.

David Fried Stemmer

Their forms appear in an undifferentiated yet fertile state — like a Venus von Willendorf at conception —full of potential, ready for chance, influence and self-determination. Anti-fragile balancing acts operating far from equilibrium – individualities in an interdependent process of becoming.

David Fried Stemmer

In Fried’s mirror polished stainless steel versions, we see the environment and ourselves reflected in the faceted surfaces, absorbed 360° by the sculpture. Its appearance is integrated with — and largely defined by — its environment, hinting that one‘s sense of identity is a complex development of ‘nature and nurture.’

The sharp networked angles formed by intersecting spheres of varying size result in dynamic shapes that, in spite of their clean mathematical origin, appear biological, and seem to possess an abstract yet curiously personal character.

David Fried Stemmer

Fried coined the term ‘Stemmer’ as a personifying name for stem-cell creations. Currently, the stem-cell is the most promising yet controversial, programmable, self-reproducing building-block on a cellular level, which in the hands of the genetic engineer, has become the absolute malleable ‘bio-porcelain’ of choice at the turn of this century.

David Fried Stemmer

As in many of Fried’s other works, the artist presents us with minimalist symbolic imagery that suggests a fusion of mythological and scientific beliefs, while calling attention to the manipulative processes that are now deeply rooted in our cultures. By resurrecting and modernizing humankind’s oldest fertility icons—in an era whereby applied technologies are trumping the oldest form of reproduction and evolution—with fertility icons of a synthetic nature, Fried confronts us with our desire and ability to alter nature’s course, and perhaps the future of our own evolutionary process.

David Fried Stemmer

Carmen Herrera Estructuras Monumentales in City Hall Park

Angula Rojo
All Photos By Gail

Cuban American Geometrical Abstract painter Carmen Herrera (b. 1915, Havana) waited a very long time to get her hard-earned props from the art world. The artist’s first career retrospective, 20162017 Lines Of Sight at New York City’s Whitney Museum finally provided a showcase for her minimalist, color field paintings, alongside a selection of her geometric, monochromatic sculptures — which she simply calls Estructuras (Structures). While it’s disappointing to realize that, at 104 years of age, Carmen Herrera isn’t quite a household name, the NYC-based Public Art Fund is doing its part to expose her works to a wider audience by sponsoring Estructuras Monumentales, Herrera’s first major exhibition of outdoor sculptures, which are currently on view in City Hall Park. This park is a short walk from my office, to so I walked over on my lunch hour to check it out.

Angula Rojo

Herrera’s Estructuras series of sculptures, informed by her architectural training, date back to the 1960s with a group of diagrammatic sketches. She envisioned large-scale monochromatic sculptures that would extend the experience of her luminous paintings into three dimensions. Until recently, these historic proposals have remained unrealized. With Estructuras Monumentales, this remarkable artist is now able to share her powerful structures with public audiences for the first time. Here are the five structures located in City Hall Park.

Angula Rojo

Herrera still paints and creates every day, but Angul Rojo (2017) is the first Estructura that she has designed in more than three decades. Its red chevron composition conveys movement and rhythm with a bold dynamism reminiscent of many of her most iconic paintings.

Pavanne

Herrera originally conceived Pavanne, (1967/2017) as a monument to her younger brother, Mariano, who was then dying of cancer. The three tightly fit, interlocking elements of this solemn work encourage quiet contemplation, while the title references the musical term for a slow processional dance with funereal overtones.

Pavanne

Amarilla Tres

Amarillo Tres, 1971/2018. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Herrera began to work with a carpenter to translate her drawings into wooden sculptural Estructuras. That resulted in the important smaller Azul ‘Tres’ (1971), on which this monumental Estructura is based. Herrera was forced to temporarily halt this endeavor when the carpenter she worked with passed away and the grant stipend that had supported the work began to dwindle.

Amarilla Tres

Estructura Verde

Estructura Verde (1966/2018) most clearly expresses the evolution from Herrera’s paintings to her Estructuras. Her breakthrough Blanco y Verde (196667) series of paintings on canvas created long, acute wedges of dark paint among white expanses. This sculpture translates and inverts that arrangement, with two bold green interlocked L-shaped forms, which encompass slivers of negative space, incorporating the sculpture’s surroundings into its dynamic composition.

Estructura Verde

Estructura Verde

Untitled Estructura (Red)

Untitled Estructura (Red), (1962/2018). Carmen Herrera’s Estructuras can be appreciated for their formal poetry, yet they can also be seen in the context of her life. In October of 1962, the confrontation between the United States and Cuba escalated to the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which Herrera and her husband Jesse Lowenthal were deeply involved in helping friends, family, and refugees escape the conflict. The overhanging cantilevered arrangement of this Estructura might abstractly allude to the tensions between Herrera’s adopted and native countries at the moment she conceived this work.

Untitled Estructura (Red)

Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales, Curated by Public Art Fund Curator Daniel S. Palmer, Will Be On View in City Hall Park (Located in Lower Manhattan) Through November 8th, 2019.

Angula Rojo

Cats Mural: Broken English Taco Pub, Chicago

Broken English Taco Pub Mural
Photos By Gail

“Paying Attention All the Time is an Interesting Way to Go Through the Day.” That is my favorite quote from photographer Stephen Shore, and while it applies to most days of my life, it was especially true during the week I spent vacationing in Chicago. Man, excluding decent weather, that city has just about everything, including lots of fun public art. This site-specific mural of cartoonish fat cats is painted on the exterior of Broken English Taco Pub, which according to its website serves “A unique take on Mexican street style tacos.”  Sound yummy!

Broken English Taco Pub Mural Detail

We were running around so much that we didn’t have an opportunity to eat there (next time!) and I only got one good snap of the entire mural, but here is a cropped view of the cats, which look like ‘cat balloons,’ almost. The Luchador Mask-wearing Cat below is on the back side of the building on Wells Street as you walk toward the entrance.

Broken English Taco Pub Mural Detail

There are three Broken English Taco Pub locations in Chicago, but this one is located at 1440 N. Wells (at the corner Schiller Street) in the Old Town neighborhood.