From New Banksys to the World’s Most Colorful Basketball Court: 29 Public Artworks to See in New York This Spring
You may want to wait for the snow to melt, but there is plenty of art to see on the streets of New York this spring.
Despite Wednesday’s blizzard—a nor’easter dubbed Toby that dumped about eight inches of snow on New York City—spring officially arrived this week. While we await the warmer weather that typically comes with the changing of the seasons, artnet News has put together a handy guide to all the public art on view in New York over the next couple of months. Enjoy!
1. Banksy, Free Zehra Dogan at the Houston Bowery Wall
The infamous British street artist Banksy, back in New York after a five-year absence, has thrilled local art lovers with a slew of new works in the last week. Some unsanctioned works seem destined to be snatched up and sold at auction by enterprising landlords, but the graffiti artist has also created a commissioned work for the Houston Bowery Wall. The piece protests the imprisonment of Zehra Doğan, who has been jailed for painting an image of the destruction of Kurdish towns by government forces.
Houston Bowery Wall, 76 East Houston Street; March 15–fall 2018
2. Yinka Shonibare, Wind Sculpture (SG) I at Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park
Following last fall’s Ai Weiwei extravaganza, the Public Art Fund once again takes a pro-immigration stance with Yinka Shonibare’s 23-foot-tall fluttering sail sculpture. The work references a history of colonialism and migration, with a colorful print based on the artist’s signature batik-inspired Dutch wax prints, popular in West Africa, where they are imported from the Netherlands.
Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Fifth Avenue at 60th Street; March 7–October 14, 2018
3. Gillie and Marc Schattner, The Last Three at Astor Place
The beloved Astor Place Cube has some competition in the form of the ruthlessly maligned sculpture The Last Three, a well-meaning tribute to the critically endangered white rhino meant to support rhino conservation and condemn poaching. The 17-foot-tall bronze piece, which stacks the three remaining animals atop one another, was unveiled, however, just days before the tragic death of Sudan, the only remaining male white rhino—all but ensuring the species’ extinction, kitschy art notwithstanding. A sign memorializing Sudan has since been placed next to the statue.
Astor Place and Lafayette Street; March 15–May 15, 2018
4. Phyllida Barlow, prop at the High Line
Phillida Barlow is reimagining her 2017 Venice Biennale sculpture for the High Line, creating a pair of concrete panels propped up on stilts, with cutouts in the center. The work is intended to reference the park’s industrial past, placed on a spur of the former rail line that would have run directly into a refrigerated warehouse serving the old Nabisco cookie factory. It’s the first time that the High Line will show art on its Northern Spur Preserve.
The High Line, West 16th Street; April 19, 2018–March 2019
5. “Diana Al-Hadid: Delirious Matter” at Madison Square Park
For her first major public art project, Diana Al-Hadid will present six newly commissioned sculptures made by pouring colored polymer gypsum on objects to make drippy, ethereal casts that are reinforced with fiberglass. Some of the figures will emerge from leafy row hedges planted in the ground, while the Madison Square Park reflecting pool will become home to a female bust seated on a mountainous fragment. (The artist also has an upcoming show of the same name at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, on view May 23–October 14, 2018.)
Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street; May 14–September 3, 2018
6. Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Atlas of the Third Millennium at Marcus Garvey Park
Jorge Luis Rodriguez pays tribute to the vibrant culture of Harlem with a spherical sculpture made up of individual stars representing the cultural and civic leaders of the community.
Marcus Garvey Park, 18 Mount Morris Park West, Manhattan; November 10, 2017–October 1, 2018
7. Anselm Kiefer, Uraeus at Rockefeller Center
After eight years of talks with the Public Art Fund, Anselm Kiefer’s first site-specific outdoor public sculpture in the US will touch down at Rockefeller Center this spring. The piece depicts a colossal winged book, spread open and perched atop a 20-foot-tall pole encircled by a snake—the title, Uraeus, refers to the sacred cobra symbol embraced by the ancient Egyptians. Cast in lead, the main work will be joined by other large-scale lead books scattered across the plaza.
Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza; May 2–July 22, 2018
8. Julia Sinelnikova, Triquerta for Healing at Brower Park
Made from acrylic and steel, Triquerta for Healing is inspired both by the geographical borders of Crown Heights and traditional Buddhist mandalas and features a beautiful stained glass effect that the artist describes as “a sun-activated light bath to visitors.”
Brower Park, Brooklyn Avenue and Prospect Place, Brooklyn; September 30, 2017–September 29, 2018
9. Jamie Scott, Spring on Times Square’s Electronic Billboards
Times Square Arts ushers in spring with a seasonal Midnight Moment, Jamie Scott’s follow-up to his viral hit Fall, shot over two years in Central Park and showing the changing colors of the foliage in the autumn. For Spring, he captured close-ups of blooming flowers in his studio, incorporating the footage into shots of the park.
Duffy Square, Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street; through April 1–30, 2018
10. “Phil Collins: Bring Down the Walls” at Firehouse, Engine Company 31
Phil Collins will team up with over 100 collaborators for this project critiquing the criminal justice system, presented by Creative Time. Held at a historic downtown firehouse, the three-part public art project is inspired by the history of house music, and will offer classes and workshops by day while transforming into a dance club and performance venue by night.
Firehouse, Engine Company 31, 87 Lafayette Street between Walker and White Streets; weekends in May
11. LAMKAT in collaboration with Laura Alvarez, Untitled at Mullaly Park
The Mullaly Park bike park has become a colorful canvas for LAMKAT, whose patterned design features precise layers and geometry.
Mullaly Park, 1055 Jerome Avenue, Bronx; November 5, 2017–November 4, 2018
12. Dorothy Iannone, I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door at the High Line
One of the highlight’s of this year’s Independent Art Fair New York was a selection of works by 84-year-old self-taught artist Dorothy Iannone shown by Air de Paris, Paris. Now, she’s unveiled her first public artwork, with a mural featuring three of her boldly colorful, unabashedly sexual female figures, of the Statue of Liberty, overlooking the High Line. Iannone was first commissioned to do the piece back in 2014, making its pro-immigrant message—the title, printed on the wall, comes from the closing lines of Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus”—especially prescient in the age of Donald Trump.
The High Line, West 16th Street; March 2018–March 2019
13. “Virginia Overton” at Socrates Sculpture Park
Virginia Overton will take over Socrates Sculpture Park with sculptures made from repurposed materials, including a pickup truck. The large-scale works will include a massive pine joist suspended from a homemade gantry, a water feature, and a 40-foot sculpture made from industrial architectural trusses stacked to form a massive crystal-shaped structure.
Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City; May 6–September 4, 2018
14. “Kathy Ruttenberg on Broadway: in dreams awake,” on Broadway
The Broadway Mall Association has tapped Kathy Ruttenberg to present her sculptures along the famed avenue between Columbus Circle and 157th Street. The artist’s vision seems like something out of a fairy tale, with whimsical works like a mermaid trapped in a fishbowl, a mammoth snail, and anthropomorphized deer, mice, and trees.
Broadway malls from Columbus Circle to 157th Street; April 27–winter 2018
15. Ruth Hofheimer, Birds of Paradise at Bayswater Park
Ruth Hofheimer enlisted members of the neighborhood to help complete her 500-foot-long mural, setting it up paint-by-numbers style. The piece is inspired by the ecosystem of nearby Jamaica Bay, particularly its wealth of birds such as ospreys.
Bayswater Park, Dwight Avenue and Seagirt Boulevard between Beach 38 Street and Bay 32 Street, Queens; September 1, 2017–August 30, 2018
16. Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Silent at the High Line
Airing daily starting at dusk in the High Line’s 14th Street passageway, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz’s Rise stars the musician Aérea Negrot, performing in silence—her rendition of John Cage’s 4’33” (1952). The piece was staged at the Oranienplatz in Berlin, home to a refugee protest camp in 2012–14, beginning at a podium and continuing as Negrot walks through the park, before ending with a song. The piece considers silence can be both an oppressive and empowering.
The High Line, at West 16th Street; March 22–May 23, 2018
17. Matthew Westerby and Harold Simmons, Faces of Railroad Park at Railroad Park
Members of the local community met with artists Matthew Westerby and Harold Simmons to discuss healthy habits and how they make use of their parks. They also posed for photographs, printed on vinyl and displayed on the exterior of a park facility building. (The duo is working with DreamYard, an organization dedicated to working with young people in the Bronx.)
Railroad Park, Intersection of Courtland Avenue And East 161st Street, Bronx; October 11, 2017–October 10, 2018
18. “Word on the Street” in Times Square
Times Square Arts and all-female artist collective House of Trees are back for the second round of banners and signs bearing political messages from female artists and writers Laurie Anderson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Tania Bruguera, and A.M. Homes. (Related felt works, fabricated by refugees for the 2017 Women’s March, will be on view by appointment at the Watermill Center in the Hamptons, March 23–April 17.)
At Times Square through February 2018; at Socrates Sculpture Park through March 11, 2018.
19. MADSTEEZ, BTN x MADSTEEZ Basketball Court at Triborough Bridge Playground B
Some 14 schools play ball at a court now brightly painted by MADSTEEZ.
Triborough Bridge Playground B, Hoyt Street South, Queens; February 28, 2018–February 27, 2019
20. Symmetry Labs, Sea of Light at the Seaport District
All winter, South Street Seaport has been home to an immersive public light installation from Symmetry Labs, a San Francisco light art collective that has shown at the likes of Burning Man and Refinery 29’s 29 Rooms. A series of interactive spheres some a big as nine feet tall are lit from within by a collective 150,000 individually programmable LEDs that respond to the sound and motion of viewers.
The Seaport District, 19 Fulton Street; December 5, 2017–March 31, 2018
21. Hugh Hayden, The Jones Part II at Inwood Hill Park
Hugh Hayden’s rough-hewn sculpture resembles a picnic table, but with protruding branches that preclude its functionality. It’s part of a public art series called “New Bench” that aims to reinvent the park bench, a communal space for communities.
Inwood Hill Park, Dyckman Street, Manhattan; November 4, 2017–April 30, 2018
22. Loop at Garment District Plazas
The latest art installation from the Garment District Alliance is a series of six nine-foot-tall retro-futuristic cylinders created by the team of Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve, Ottoblix, Generique Design, Thomas Ouellet Fredericks, Adsum Lab, Jérôme D. Roy, and Dominic Thibault. Climb in and start to pump—almost as if you’re on a giant hamster wheel—and you’ll activate a selection of spinning musical films, inspired by the zoetrope and telling 13 fairy tale stories.
Garment District Plazas, Broadway between West 37th and 38th Streets; February 18–March 31, 2018.
23. Suprina, In Someone Else’s Shoes at Inwood Hill Park
Park-goers are invited to climb on and pose in this massive shoe, covered in a mosaic of discarded objects. Suprina’s aim is to encourage viewers to think about walking in someone else’s shoes, rather than their own.
Inwood Hill Park, Dyckman Street, Manhattan; October 19, 2017–April 30, 2018
24. Ann Gillen, RECLINING FIGURE (Buddhaâ??s Classic Pose) at Seward Park
This abstract sculpture, painted in white and yellow, uses basic shapes to suggest a human form lying in repose and hopes to suggest peace and relaxation to park-goers.
Seward Park, Essex Street, Manhattan; February 9, 2018–May 25, 2018
25. Water Ripples by Stella Artois at Grand Central Station
Stella Artois is teaming up with Water.org to help end the global water crisis with a kinetic art installation at New York’s Grand Central Station. Viewers can trigger a wave-like performance of water droplets—and the whole thing is captured on video, the better to be shared on social media. To participate, though, you have to buy a limited edition Stella Artois chalice—the sale of each one provides five years of clean water for one person in the developing world.
Grand Central Station, Vanderbilt Hall, 89 East 42nd Street; March 23–26, 2018, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
26. Fitzhugh Karol, Searches and Reaches at Prospect Park
Fitzhugh Karol has created a pair of playful, colorful intersecting steel sculptures, his largest works to date, for Prospect Park.
Prospect Park, Grass triangle at the West Side Drive, Brooklyn; November 15, 2017–May 31, 2018
27. William Ellis, The People of the Sun at Lincoln Terrace/Arthur S. Somers Park
A set of four metal sculptures by William Ellis doubles as a showcase for other local artists and members of the community, serving as rotating artistic billboards. Ellis will also use them to display tips for healthy living to encourage park goers to take better care of themselves.
Lincoln Terrace/Arthur S. Somers Park, E. New York Avenue, Brooklyn; December 12, 2017–November 29, 2018
28. Gillie and Marc Schattner, Table of Love, part of “Travel Everywhere With Love,” at 237 Park Avenue
Not content with one oddly saccharin animal sculpture, the duo behind the misguided white rhino memorial has also installed a new bronze of their signature human-animal hybrid characters, Rabbitgirl and Dogman. It’s one of 100 similar works installed at sites around the world as part of what they’re claiming is the world’s largest gender equality art project—apparently, the love between the two species “stands for keeping minds open and love flowing” in the face of growing nationalism and border control.
237 Park Avenue at East 46th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues; January 14, 2018–ongoing
29. “ON LOVE: The Art of Lines, Shapes & Symbols at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place
For two weeks, artists Mehdi Saeedi, Masako Inkyo, Rupy C. Tut, and Rostarr (Romon K. Yang), will take over the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, covering the windows with large-scale, love-themed calligraphic paintings. The multi-lingual project will draw on the artists’ varied heritages—they hail from Iran, Japan, India, Korea and the United States—using words, letters, shapes, and symbols from their respective languages and alphabets. Each artist will work for two days during the exhibition’s run/creation, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, 230 Vesey Street, April 17–29, 2018
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