New York’s 10 Most Beautiful Public Art Shows for Spring

Teresita Fernández, Rashid Johnson, and the Myth Makers usher in the spring season.

Jeppe Hein, Semicircular Mirror Labyrinth II (2013), installed at Ordrupgaard, Charlottenlund, Denmark. Photo: Anders Sune Berg, courtesy König Galerie, Berlin; 303 Gallery, New York; and Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.
Jeppe Hein, Semicircular Mirror Labyrinth II (2013), installed at Ordrupgaard, Charlottenlund, Denmark. Photo: Anders Sune Berg, courtesy König Galerie, Berlin; 303 Gallery, New York; and Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.

Spring kicked off March 20, which in New York means the official start of the public art season. Once again, we’ve rounded up the city’s most exciting art installations, from a star-studded presentation by 11 artists on the High Line and luminous gazing globes in Madison Square Park, to biblical statuary in Tribeca. Get ready for some prime Instagramming opportunities, because art is in bloom citywide. (See last year’s roundup here: New York’s 11 Most Beautiful Public Art Shows for Spring.)

The Myth Makers (Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein), "Avian Avatars" (2015), Garment District Plaza. Photo: courtesy the Garment District.

The Myth Makers (Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein), “Avian Avatars” (2015), Garment District Plaza.
Photo: courtesy the Garment District.

1. The Myth Makers (Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein), “Avian Avatars,” Garment District Plaza
A holdover from the winter, “Avian Avatars” is a series of five massive sculptures of mythical birds from the Myth Makers, a collaboration between artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein. Between 18 and 26 feet tall, the artworks are crafted from young maple trees, wire tires, and found objects.
Garment District Plaza, Broadway between 36th and 41st Street, through April 30.

Agnes Denes, rendering of The Living Pyramid (2015).

Agnes Denes, rendering of The Living Pyramid (2015).

 2. Agnes Denes, The Living Pyramid, Socrates Sculpture Park

Over 30 years since Agnes Denes transformed the former landfill of Battery Park City into a wheat field, she is back with a new public art intervention that will erect a massive flower-covered pyramid on the East River waterfront (see Agnes Denes to Build Living Pyramid at Socrates Sculpture Park). Tens of thousands of seeds will germinate over the project’s run.
Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens, May 17–August 30.

Tatiana Trouvé, Desire Lines (2015). Photo: Courtesy of Public Art Fund, New York.

Tatiana Trouvé, Desire Lines (2015).
Photo: Courtesy of Public Art Fund, New York.

3. Tatiana Trouvé, Desire Lines, Public Art FundCentral Park
It’s easy to get lost on Central Park’s many pathways, but Tatiana Trouvé has made a careful survey of all 212 of them, creating giant colorful spools of thread that match the length of each one (see Tatiana Trouvé and Public Art Fund Bring Homage to Selma and Other Historic Walks to Central Park). The artist has studied historically, artistically, and musically significant walks, pairing each path with an event like the Selma voting rights march.
Central Park, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Fifth Avenue at 60th Street, through August 30.

Paula Hayes, <em>Gazing Globes</em> (2015), Madison Square Park. Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Paula Hayes, Gazing Globes (2015), Madison Square Park.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

4. Paula Hayes, Gazing GlobesMadison Square Park
These post-modern terrariums by landscape artist Paula Hayes are filled with cast off technological items that have been coated in a shimmery dust created from powdered CDs. The globes sparkle in the sunlight by day, and are almost magically illuminated by night (see Paula Hayes’ Luminous Globes of Predigital Castoffs Lure the Instagram Set).
Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street, through April 19

Teresita Fernández, <em>Fata Morgana </em> (rendering). Photo: courtesy Teresita Fernández, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts.

Teresita Fernández, Fata Morgana (rendering).
Photo: courtesy Teresita Fernández, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts.

5. Teresita Fernández, Fata Morgana, Madison Square Park
At 500 feet long, Teresita Fernández‘s canopy sculpture is being billed by the Conservancy as its largest and most ambitious outdoor project ever. The installation is made of mirror-polished golden metal, and will appear to hover above the park’s walkways, mimicking the phenomena known as Fata Morgana, a mirage that materializes across the horizon line.
Madison Square Park, Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street, April 30, 2015–January 10, 2016.

Nicolas Holiber, Head of Goliath (2015), rendering. Photo: Nicolas Holiber.

Nicolas Holiber, Head of Goliath (2015), rendering.
Photo: Nicolas Holiber.

6. Nicolas Holiber, Head of Goliath, Tribeca Park
The Parks Department is bringing Nicolas Holiber’s Head of Goliath, a massive, colorful tribute to the fallen Biblical giant slayed by King David, to Tribeca Park (see Nicolas Holiber’s Head of Goliath Kicks Off New York’s Spring Public Art Season). The six-foot-long sculpture is crafted from wood, fiberglass, and found and recycled materials.
Tribeca Park, Avenue of the Americas at Walker Street, May–July.

Rashid Johnson, Plateaus (2014). Photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

Rashid Johnson, Plateaus (2014).
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

7. Rashid Johnson, Blocks, the High Line
Rashid Johnson‘s first commission in New York City will be a sort of living greenhouse, a black steel armature filled with sculptural objects, some created to resemble work made from shea butter, one of the artist’s signature materials. As the seasons change, different plant life with grow up around the Minimalist structure, located just south of the Standard Hotel.
On the High Line at Little West 12th Street, May 2015–March 2016.

Kris Martin, <em>Altar</em> 2014. Photo: Benny Proot.

Kris Martin, Altar 2014.
Photo: Benny Proot.

8. Various Artists, Panorama, the High Line
Designed to taking advantage of the elevated park’s unique blend of natural and urban vantage points, this series of sculptures and installations along the High Line will feature works from 11 artists. Olafur Eliasson will present The Collectivity Project, a city panorama built of white Lego pieces; Ryan Gander will exhibit three pieces including a marble drinking fountain shaped like his wife; and a giant bronze telescope sculpture by Elmgreen & Dragset will simultaneously highlight and obscure the park’s only view of the Statue of Liberty.
Various locations on the High Line, Gansevoort to West 34th Street between 10th and 12th Avenue, April 23–March 2016.

Jeppe Hein, <em>Appearing Rooms</em> (2004), at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London (2009). Photo: Jon Spence, courtesy König Galerie, Berlin, and 303 Gallery, New York.

Jeppe Hein, Appearing Rooms (2004), at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London (2009).
Photo: Jon Spence, courtesy König Galerie, Berlin, and 303 Gallery, New York.

9. Jeppe Hein, “Please Touch the Art,” Brooklyn Bridge Park
Presented by the Public Art Fund, Danish artist Jeppe Hein will populate 1.3-mile-long Brooklyn Bridge Park with installations including Appearing Rooms, which features fountains of water for walls; fun house–like mirrored pathways; and Modified Social Benches, unconventionally shaped and situated seats which are meant to encourage interactions among park-goers.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, May 17, 2015–April 16, 2016.

Jorge Palacios, <em>Sketch in the Air</em> (2015) at Trump Soho, New York.

Jorge Palacios, Sketch in the Air (2015) at Trump Soho, New York.
Photo: Jorge Palcaios Studio.

10. Jorge Palacios, Sketch in the AirTrump Soho
Spain’s Jorge Palacios has erected a totemic abstract sculpture of richly polished teak wood mounted on corten steel. The architecturally-inspired public art installation accompanies the artist’s solo show, “Convergences,” on view at the offices of Steven Harris Architects and Rees Roberts + Partners on Chambers Street.
Trump Soho, 246 Spring Street, through May 1.

Heather Nicol, <em>Soft Spin</em> (2015) at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. Photo: Ruiqi Liu.

Heather Nicol, Soft Spin (2015) at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place.
Photo: Ruiqi Liu.

10. Heather Nicol, Soft SpinWinter Garden
Six flirtatious fabric forms float above a grove of palm trees and a grand marble staircase in the glass-ceilinged Winter Garden atrium, courtesy of Canadian-based artist Heather Nicol (see Heather Nicol’s Whimsical Skirt-Sculptures Bring Color, and Song, to Winter Garden Atrium). Paired with a spectacular view of the Hudson River and a cheerful audio track inspired by Broadway show tunes and singing in the shower, the colorful skirts are the perfect way to usher in New York’s late-blooming spring.
Winter Garden, Brookfield Place, 200 Vesey Street, through April 26.


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