If you’re going to be visiting the Whitney Museum, walking on the High Line, or otherwise spending time in the Meatpacking District, make sure to find your way to Gansevoort Plaza, (located between Ninth Avenue and Gansevoort Street) to check out a new Public art installation, Bombora House, by Brooklyn-based artist Tom Fruin. An internationally known sculptor whose work has been featured across NYC, and written about here on The ‘Gig, Fruin’s work can be seen as a celebration of human behavior and everyday life.
“If you really want to understand what makes up the fabric of people and places, you often learn all you need to by looking at the floor,” says Fruin of his approach. Reusing collected fragments of street and retail signage, disposed theater props, plastics and metals, Fruin creates something beautiful from nothing. Fruin refers to this process as “quilting,” whereby discarded items are brought together to create a map of life. With Bombora House, Fruin conveys messages of hope, stability and joy in the sculptural interpretation of a home and a suggestion to look at our surroundings with a fresh perspective.
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.
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.
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 will be on Exhibit in Madison Square Park Through January 31st, 2021, so see it while you can!
I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural
All Photos By Gail
I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When the playground is open, you can snap a pic like this through the chainlink fence.
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.
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.
“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.
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!
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:
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.”
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.
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.