Tag Archive | Public Art

Sunbathers II On The High Line

Sunbathers Ice Cream Cone
All Photos By Gail

Kathryn Andrews appropriates images from popular culture, often American movies, television, and stock photography archives. She then alters and re-contextualizes these images into three-dimensional configurations to create new narratives where viewers are invited to rethink the photographs in relation to their own bodies.

Sunbathers

For her High Line Commission, Sunbathers I (not shown, located at 18th Street) and Sunbathers II (shown here), Andrews responds to two contrasting aspects of the elevated park: its relationship to nearby billboards and to the natural landscape. Andrews describes the High Line’s environment as a “hyper-surreal image world,” composed of large-scale advertisements and commercial signs that surround park visitors as they stroll high above the bustling cityscape.

Sunbathers II is a large, horizontal aluminum box containing a giant fan and featuring a photograph of an ice cream cone. The fan’s movement is juxtaposed with the adjacent static image, mirroring the park itself.

Kathryn Andrews’ Sunbathers I and II Will Be On Display Through March, 2017.

Sunbathers Distant View

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Sleepwalker on The High Line

Sleepwalker
All Photos By Gail

On my way to a Press Preview at the Whitney Museum last week, I decided to take the scenic route; walking along the High Line from 14th Street to Gansevoort Street. Because why not. As I hit the top of the stairs, I was met with this somewhat disquieting vision.

Sleepwalker From The Rear

Yes, creepy! Of course, after a split second, I realized that I was looking at a statue, and not some random bald guy clad only in tight whities, stalking unsuspecting nature lovers in sub-40 degree weather. As it turns out, I had come upon Tony Matelli’s Sleepwalker (2014), part of the Wanderlust series of public art installations along the west side’s elevated High Line Park. Very fun!

Sleepwalker Close Up

For Sleepwalker, Matelli presents a hyper-realistic painted bronze sculpture of a somnambulant man lost and adrift in the world, meandering about in a deep sleep. An amusing take on the theme of walking, Matelli’s sculpture challenges preconceived ideas about traditional monumental portraiture, and questions the extent to which any one of us is ever fully aware of our surrounding.

Sleepwalker Selfie
“Wait, Let Me Put My Hat On Him…”

And based on what I observed in the five or so minutes I was hanging out, the number of degrading selfies that this poor sculpture is likely subject to on a daily basis is certainly limitless. Oy.

Sleepwalker

Sleepwalker will be on display on the High Line at 14th Street until March 31, 2017.

Sleepwalker
Brains…”

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David Shrigley, Memorial

David Shrigley Memorial
All Photos By Gail

Across the centuries, memorials have acted as public sites of collective remembrance and markers of our shared cultural heritage. Some monuments continue to hold a contemporary significance, while others have become obsolete in an ever-changing urban and social landscape; their meanings often lost from civic consciousness.

Memorial, Rear View
Memorial, Rear View (Plaza Hotel in Background)

Memorial, by British artist David Shrigley honors one of the most common of all acts: the writing for a grocery list. By engrave this ephemeral, throwaway list on a solid slab of granite — a material ubiquitous with the language of monuments — the artist humorously subverts both a daily routine and the role of the classic memorial.

While Shrigley’s shopping list might appear to posture as a counter-monument, through its celebration of common activity, its anonymity and absurdity, the sculpture becomes a memorial both to no one and to everyone — perhaps standing as a simple but poignant ode to humanity.

David Shrigley: Memorial will be on view through February 26, 2017 in Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, Fifth Avenue at 59th Street. 

Buff Monster Mural on Appliance Store Gate

Buff Monster Mural on Orchard
Photo By Gail

Street art legend Buff Monster created this surreal mural, depicting a variation on his signature theme of Hot Pink Anthropomorphic Ice Cream treats on the security gate for Bondy Export Corp, located a 40 Canal Street. The mural is part of the 100 Gates Public Art project.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Isamu Noguchi’s Red Cube Sculpture

Red Cube
All Photos By Gail

The Financial District in Lower Manhattan is a playground for monumental public art installations, including Isamu Noguchi’s Red Cube, which was installed on the plaza at 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets in 1968.

Red Cube 2

The diagonal lines of red painted steel stand in contrast to the stark horizontal and vertical lines of the adjacent front of the HSBC Building (formerly the Marine Midland Bank) by architect Gordon Bunshaft. Despite its title, the sculpture is not actually a cube, but instead seems as though it has been stretched along its vertical axis.

Red Cube 3

Aside from it’s striking color, Red Cube also stands out from the surrounding architecture in that all of its lines are diagonals, whereas the buildings are made up of horizontal and vertical lines. Additionally, the sculpture is balanced somewhat precariously on one corner, while the buildings, by contrast, and solidly placed.
Red Cube 4

Through the center of the cube there is a cylindrical hole, revealing an inner surface of gray with evenly-spaced lines moving from one opening of the hole to the other. Looking through this hole, the viewer’s gaze is directed skyward, towards the building behind, tying the sculpture and the architecture together.

Red Cube Hole

Red Cube is Located at 140 Broadway (at Liberty Street) New York, N.Y.10005. By Subway, Take the 4 or 5  to Wall Street Station.

Big Bling in Madison Square Park

Big Bling
All Photos By Gail

Wednesday night was a beautiful night in the city; so warm and clear. It was not surprising to see so many people out in Madison Square Park, many of whom were not even in line for Shake Shack. Geoffrey and I had some time to kill before heading to an event in the neighborhood, so we ventured into the park to find the new resident public art project, which they have in the park every summer. Barely into the park’s east side at 24th Street we saw what looked like a giant elephant sculpture with big gold nose ring, just ahead to the west. “There it is,” we said in unison.

Big Bling 1
Big Bling

Big Bling is a public sculpture by American artist Martin Puryear (b. 1941). This forty-foot-tall work – the largest temporary piece he has created – is built of wood, the artist’s signature material, and a chain link fence. A shackle covered in gold leaf is anchored near the top of the structure.

Puryear has described Big Bling as “an event”; it is a short-term phenomenon. Through abstract means, he has crafted an on-going dialogue with history, art history, identity, and politics. Here, “Bling” – a slang term for flashy jewelry and accessories – is rooted in the urban youth, hip-hop and rap culture of the ‘90s.  It is exceptional for Puryear to summon contemporary vernacular in titling his work. The name of the artwork and its placement in the heart of Manhattan demonstrates his recognition that Big Bling is a reflection of the character and the inhabitants of dense urban environments.

Big Bling Detail
Big Bling Detail: It Reminds Me of an Ear

Big Bling Front Shot

Big Bling is part animal form, part abstract sculpture, and part intellectual meditation.

Do Not Climb Sign
Do Not Climb Big Bling

Big Bling 2

See Big Bling in Madison Square Park Through January of 2017!

Barbara Kruger Mural at the High Line

Blind Idealism Mural
All Photos By Gail

Barbara Kruger is an American artist who works with pictures and words. Kruger uses the fluency she developed as a graphic designer to inform her work as an artist, insistently addressing the issues of power, property, money, race, and sexuality. Over the past three decades her work has ranged from the photographic merging of image and text, to immersive video installations, to room-wrapping textual exhibitions, to large-scale outdoor displays of words and images. Two of her best-known works – Your body is a battleground and I shop therefore I am – also showcase the feminist overtones of her artworks, and her concentration on women as a lucrative site for advertising and consumerism.

Signage

For the High Line, Kruger presents Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…), a new work realized as a hand-painted mural. Continuing her unabashed criticism of culture and power, the mural features the slogan “BLIND IDEALISM IS REACTIONARY SCARY DEADLY,” an adaptation of a quote from Afro-Caribbean philosopher and revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon, which has appeared in multiple works by the artist. The original statement by Fanon, “Blind idealism is reactionary,” suggests that political and religious convictions stem from the situations from which they grow, not from the inherent nature of individual human beings. According to Kruger, the work reflects “how we are to one another” within “the days and nights that construct us.” These texts, along with Kruger’s own writings, resonate with particular potency in today’s political climate.

Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…) Will be on View Until March 2017, Adjacent to the High Line at West 22nd Street., in the Chelsea Gallery District.