From ‘dOGUMENTA’ to ‘Seated Ballerina’: 34 Amazing Public Art Shows to See in New York This Summer
Jeff Koons, Alex Prager, Marilyn Minter, and more.
To celebrate the first day of summer, artnet News has sought out the best in public art in view across the city this year, with works in all five boroughs to get out and enjoy. From some of the art world’s biggest names to emerging artists, and sculpture to interactive performance, there’s something to appeal to the taste of every art lover, so start planning your art staycation now.
1. “Sheila Hicks – Hop, Skip, Jump, and Fly: Escape From Gravity” at the High Line
Uncoiling amid the native flora on the northern-most end of the High Line is more than 650 feet of aluminum tubing, wrapped in 75 different vibrant colors of weather-resistant fabric by fiber artist Sheila Hicks.
The High Line at the Western Rail Yards; through March 2018.
2. Jonathan Borofsky, Human Structures at Plaza33
As part of its efforts to turn the no-man’s land outside of Penn Station into a welcoming pedestrian plaza hosting seasonal live music and performances, Plaza33 has installed Jonathan Borofsky’s colorful Human Structures outside Madison Square Garden, courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch Inc.
East side of 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues; ongoing.
3. “dOGUMENTA” at the Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place
Billing itself as “America’s first art show for dogs,” “dOGUMENTA,” is curated to appeal to canine tastes—low to the ground, and accommodating their limited color perception—and will touch down at Brookfield Place in August. Named after documenta, Kassel, Germany’s, once-every-five-years contemporary art survey, “dOGUMENTA” is the brainchild of art critic Jessica Dawson, who was inspired by her dog Rocky’s apparent enthusiasm for art in New York galleries.
Brookfield Place, 230 Vesey Street; August 11–13, 2017.
4. “Katja Novitskova: EARTH POTENTIAL” at City Hall Park
For her first public art commission and institutional US show, with the Public Art Fund, Katja Novitskova will turn City Hall Park into a sci-fi landscape with seven large, otherworldly aluminum sculptures. The pieces are flat, and feature digitally printed images sourced from the internet, juxtaposing greatly magnified organisms, like the tiny Hydra, with satellite photography of the earth and other planets.
City Hall Park, Lower Manhattan; June 22–November 9, 2017.
5. NYC Wave Walk by La Mer and Project 0
Timed to United Nations World Oceans Day on June 8, beauty brand La Mer and oceanic conservation organization Project 0 teamed up to place 54 versions of a circular, wave-inspired sculpture around the five boroughs. The works are designed by artists, including Julian Schnabel, Dustin Yellin, and Bruce Weber, and celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Vivienne Westwood, Cara Delevingne, and Rufus Wainwright.
Various locations in New York City; through June 21.
6. “Jeff Koons: Seated Ballerina” at Rockefeller Center
Jeff Koon’s third outing at Rockefeller Center is presented by the Art Production Fund and Kiehl’s Since 1851, and is an inflatable balloon version of his stainless steel Seated Ballerina sculpture. The piece is 45 feet tall on a seven-and-a-half-foot base.
Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza; through July 5.
7. “Darren Bader – chess: relatives” at the High Line
Darren Bader has build a life-size chess board on the High Line, where viewers can take the place of the pawns, knights, bishops, and other chess pieces—based on their roles in their families. The King, for instance, is supposed to be played by a step-sibling, an aunt or uncle, or a great grandfather. Each team needs 17 players, including one in charge of making each move—without asking for reminders of who is who. The interactive art work, which debuted at Sadie Coles HQ, London, in 2016, is here making its US debut.
The High Line under the Standard Hotel; through April 2018.
8. “Pledges of Allegiance” at Creative Time
In response to the current political climate, Creative Time has commissioned 16 artists, including Yoko Ono, Trevor Paglen, and Marilyn Minter, to create a flag that represents their personal beliefs. The resulting works, which will be flown one at a time from a flagpole atop the organization’s headquarters, tackle issues such as immigration, Black Lives Matter, and government surveillance.
Creative Time Rooftop, at the corner of East 4th Street and the Bowery; through July 3 for the first flag, with additional flags going on display on a monthly basis.
9. “Josiah McElheny: Prismatic Park” at Madison Square Park
The Madison Square Park Conservancy’s 34th art exhibition comes courtesy of artist and MacArthur Foundation Fellow recipient Josiah McElheny, who has created three large wooden and prismatic glass painted sculptures for the occasion. These works will serve as a stage for dance, music, and poetry, as performed by artists in residence working in the park throughout the summer.
Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street; through October 8.
10. Sam Jablon, OUTDEMONSOUT at Ideal Glass
Painter and poet Sam Jablon’s first public artwork takes its title from “Exorcising the White House,” a newly timely song by 1960s-era East Village band the Fugs. Jablon was inspired by seeing the song performed at the House Divided PEN World Voices Festival at Cooper Union this spring, and hopes his piece will be a call to action for the average citizen.
22 East 2nd Street; through July 15.
11. “Alejandro Cesarco: Words Like Love – Alphaville, First Scenes” at Queens Plaza
For the second temporary public art in their Public Process art education program, the SculptureCenter has commissioned Alejandro Cesarco to fill a 14-by-48-foot billboard overlooking busy Jackson Avenue at Queens Plaza. The text-based piece, which reads as a screenplay of the opening scenes of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film Alphaville, becomes a meta-commentary for viewers sitting in traffic.
44-19 Purves Street at Jackson Avenue, Long Island City; through July 2.
12. Team Aesop, Cast and Place City of Dreams Pavilion on Governor’s Island
The Figment participatory art festival lasts just one weekend each year, but brings with it a series of summer-long sculptures, including this pavilion made from 300,000 aluminum cans melted down and cast into a framework formed from cracked clay. Figment’s artist-designed mini golf, which this year took “New York City Has the Beat” as its theme, is also an annual crowd-pleaser.
Governor’s Island Parade Ground; through August 24.
13. Various Artists, Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant in 10 New York City parks
The fruits of UNIQLO’s Park Expressions Grant, announced last September, can now be seen in 10 parks across all five boroughs. The winning public art projects are Patricia Cazorla and Nancy Saleme, Flying High for Equality in the Bronx’s Joyce Kilmer Park; Lovie Pignata, Daylighting in the Bronx’s Virginia Park; Blythe Cain, Circadia in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park; Musa Hixson, The Conversation Sculpture in Brooklyn’s Herbert Von King park; Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, Constellation in Manhattan’s Seward Park; Capucine Bourcart, LINOUQ in Manhattan’s Thomas Jefferson Park; Sam Holleran, Patrick Rowe, and Mobile Print Power, Conocer y Compartir—We Find Each Other in Queens’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park; Risa Puno, Common Ground in Queens’s Rufus King Park; Lina Montoya, Mariposas Lamps in Staten Island’s Faber Park; and Fitzhugh Karol, Eyes in Staten Island’s Tappen Park.
Various locations; through 2018.
14. “Katarina Jerinic: Cloud Drift” in Gowanus
Believe it or not, Gowanus is getting its first public art project, thanks to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Arterventions Program and the Hatch Fund. Katarina Jerinic‘s cyanotype images of the Gowanus Canal, produced during her residency at the Baxter Street Camera Club, are displayed over the tiny body of water, printed on large flags flying from lamp posts on the canal’s four bridges.
Gowanus Canal bridges at Union, Carroll, Third, and Ninth Streets; June 21–September 21.
15. Various artists, “Sing for Hope” in public space around the city
No less than 60 colorful pianos dot the streets of New York, bringing art and music to the city’s parks and public spaces. Anyone is invited to play these instruments, which have been painted by the likes of French street art performance artist Juliette Delorme, or Lady JDay, the Foundation for Art & Healing, and the casts of several Broadway plays.
Various locations; through June 25.
16. Aman Mojadidi, Once Upon a Place at Times Square
Aman Mojadidi has transformed phone booths into art, placing three of the outdated structures in the heart of Times Square. Picking up the phone you will hear the stories of 70 different immigrants to the city, oral histories collected by the artist.
Duffy Square, 7th Ave and West 47th Street; June 27–September 5.
17. “Antonia A. Perez: Light Spectrum” at Lewis H. Latimer House
The secret to Antonia A. Perez’s luminous Light Spectrum totem pole is that it’s crocheted from colorful plastic bags, wrapped around a stack of discarded metal lampshade frames.
Lewis H Latimer House, 34-41 137th Street, Flushing, Queens; through August 6.
18. Various Artists, Coney Island Walls, Coney Island Boardwalk
For the third consecutive summer, Jeffrey Deitch has curated a series of new street art murals for Coney Island Walls. The new batch of eight are by Lee Quinones, Crash, Alexis Diaz, Jim Drain, Ganzeer, Shantell Martin, Marie Roberts, and Chris Stain.
Coney Island Boardwalk, 1320 Bowery Street; ongoing.
19. 14 Sculptors, “On the Rock 2017: An Exhibition of Sculpture”
Art collective 14 Sculptors teams up again with the Parks Department for an exhibition of 16 sculptures by 15 artists in 14 sites across the Rockaway boardwalk. The works, both intimate and monumental, celebrate the spirit and beauty of the beachfront community.
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, Shore Front Parkway, Beach 73rd Street to Beach 108th Street, Queens; through October 9.
20. Rose DeSiano, FLOW.17, Randall’s Island
This year’s FLOW public art installation on Randall’s Island features Rose DeSiano’s Island of Empirical Data and Other Fabrications, two large-scale interactive photo sculptures made of reflecting panels that encourage viewers to consider the city’s culturally constructed histories.
Randall’s Island, base of the 103rd Street Bridge; through November 30.
21. Tom Monsees, Tripod, at Dyckman House Museum
Inspired by the death mask, which immortalizes famous individuals, Tom Moses created a sculpture from three casts of a rotting piece of wood, transforming the found object into a ghostly white figure in white cement.
4881 Broadway at 204th Street; Though June 30.
22. Sun Xun, Time Spy on Times Square’s Electronic Billboards
For three minutes before midnight each night in July, Sun Xun will show the 3-D animated film Time Spy, painstakingly created using hand-carved wood cuts. This Midnight Moment project is presented by Times Square Arts in conjunction with the Audemars Piguet Art Commission, and will offer viewers free 3-D glasses on select nights.
Duffy Square, 7th Ave and West 47th Street; through July 1–31.
23. Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, Reflections at Morningside Park
Harlem’s Art in FLUX has brought three interactive sculptures by Aya Rodriguez-Izumi to Morningside Park. The work is inspired by the confluence of art and yoga, and aims to increase diversity and inclusivity in both practices.
Morningside Park, Manhattan; through August 31.
24. Mary Temple, Double Sun at the McCarren Park Pool Play Center
The original 1935 plans for the bathhouse at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Pool called for art, but the stuccoed spans above the entryway arches have remained bare all these decades. Now, thanks to the city’s Percent for Art project, Mary Temple has decorated the space with her painting Double Sun. Carefully mixing latex paint to create a shade roughly a quarter lighter than the rest of the walls, the artist has created the illusion of the shadow of tree branches being cast onto the structure.
776 Lorimer St, Brooklyn; ongoing.
25. William Logan, Flame at Tramway Plaza
A lightweight carbon structure crafted by hand, William Logan’s Flame showcases his expertise in engineering and model-making.
Second Avenue and East 59th Street; through November 15.
26. “Joy Brown on Broadway” on the Broadway Malls
The Broadway Mall Association celebrates its 30th anniversary with nine cheerful site-specific bronze sculptures by Joy Brown, its 10th annual art exhibition. The childlike works are inspired by the artist’s apprenticeship in traditional Japanese ceramics.
Broadway Malls from West 72nd to West 166th Streets; through February 2018.
27. Jane Manus, Danielle at Dr. Ronald McNair Park
Jane Manus hand-welded this bright yellow geometric aluminum sculpture, which offers a dramatic contrast to the verdant setting of Dr. Ronald McNair Park.
Washington Ave, Brooklyn; through June 12, 2018.
28. “Folly/Function: Circle Shade – 2πR4” at Socrates Sculpture Park
The winner of this year’s “Folly/Function” architecture and design competition is Long Island City design firm Eva Jensen Design, which worked with Laufs Engineering Design to create Circle Shade – 2πR4, a set of four portable canopies that can serve multiple functions.
Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City; June 21–October 28, 2017.
29. “Lluis Lleó: Morpho’s Nest in the Cadmium House” on Park Avenue
As part of the NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program, the Sculpture Committee of the Fund for Park Avenue presents Morpho’s Nest in the Cadmium House, a site-specific installation by Lluis Lleó. The five 13-foot, 7,000-pound sandstone slabs have paintings inspired by the Catalan Romanic fresco tradition on both sides.
Park Avenue between East 52nd and 56th Streets; through July 31.
30. Various Artists, Welling Court Mural Project, Astoria
Ad Hoc Art is back with its eighth year of street art covering buildings both commercial and residential around Astoria’s Welling Court. This year, the project enlisted over 100 artists, including CRASH, DAZE, and Lady Pink, to paint over 150 sites.
136 different locations in the neighborhood of Welling Court, Astoria; ongoing.
31. “SaveArtSpace: The Future Is Female”
Brooklyn-based nonprofit SaveArtSpace turns advertising into a venue for public art. Its next project, which takes its name from phrase coined by 1970s lesbian separatists and re-popularized during this year’s women’s marches, will be an all-woman gallery accompanied by a series of public art installations. Work by artists including Allie Kelley, Beth Brown, Elise Peterson, Fanny Allié, Jess Whittam, Julie Orlick, Lissa Rivera, Mónica Félix, Nina Summer, and Sara Meadows will appear on 18 phone booths and two billboards, exploring the concept of 21st century womanhood and exploding traditional ideas of femininity.
Various sites with accompanying gallery show (July 7–16) at the Storefront Project, 70 Orchard Street North; public art installations opening June 26.
32. “inHarlem: Simon Leigh” in Marcus Garvey Park
Based on the rural Zimbabwean imbas, or kitchen house, Simone Leigh‘s trio of huts, which have no doors and cannot be entered, serve as a reminder of the African Diaspora. The exhibition is organized by the Studio Museum Harlem.
Marcus Garvey Park, 18 Mount Morris Park West; through July 25.
33. Alex Prager, Applause on Times Square’s Electronic Billboards
The viewers are the ones being watched in June’s Midnight Moment, which takes over Times Square for three minutes at the end of each day. Alex Prager has filmed an audience at the Opéra Bastille, clapping and cheering in an unsettling endless loop, reversing the roles of the watcher and the watched.
Duffy Square, 7th Ave and West 47th Street; through June 30.
34. Fanny Allié, Exquisite Corpse at Putnam Triangle Plaza
Brooklyn’s A.I.R. Gallery has teamed up with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to bring Fanny Allié‘s interactive sculpture Exquisite Corpse to Clinton Hill. The artwork is inspired by the local community, featuring black-and-white photographs of native or longtime residents, printed in segments on rotating blocks. Four new portraits will be added to the work every three months.
Fulton Street and Grand Avenue, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; through March 2018.
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