If you’re looking for a fun way to get in your daily steps, while enjoying nature and discovering a bit of contemporary art, then head on over to Riverside Park and check out RE:GROWTH, A Celebration of Art, Riverside Park, and the New York Spirit, a summer-long public art exhibit which includes site-specific works by 24 artists and covers 100 blocks of the westside park and waterfront.
Among my favorites of these works is an entirely charming fantasy garden installation by New York-based Korean artist Sui Park entitled Summer Vibe. While not entirely accessible — it’s located behind a locked gate — Summer Vibe is easily spotted along Riverside Drive at 78th Street as long as you know what you’re looking for.
In 1947, while a student at Back Mountain College, Ruth Asawa (1926 – 2013) made a visit to Toluca, Mexico. There, she was introduced to a local method of crocheting wire to create baskets for carrying eggs. The discovery led Asawa to experiment with weaving wire into continuous, organic forms like the above Untitled sculpture (1955), which is described as a hanging six-lobed, complex interlocking continuous form-within-a-form, with two interior spheres. These works challenged conventional ideas of sculpture by embracing utilitarian craft methods and relying on the ceiling instead of the floor for support.
Photographed September 2020
In the early 1950s, Asawa later explained, the art establishment passed over her work because “it wasn’t traditional sculpture. They thought it was craft, or something else, but not art.” For Asawa, woven wire offered many possibilities of form and resulted in a work that was both transparent and airy, qualities that make the surrounding space part of the experience of the work and emphasize the connection between the interior and the exterior of the object.