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Public Art Springs Up All Over Manhattan Parks

May 9, 2013 - by City Guide News Desk
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New York City embraces the spring weather and New Yorkers and tourists alike can catch some culture while enjoying the City’s parks this season. The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Art in the Parks program features an eclectic array of artwork in green spaces throughout the five boroughs. Over the next two weeks seven artists, both established and emerging, will open exhibitions throughout downtown and midtown Manhattan.

Carole Eisner, Hosea, Tramway Plaza
Through December 1, 2013

Carole Eisner, Hosea, Tramway Plaza

Carol Eisner, Hosea, Tramway Plaza, Courtesy of Jennifer Lantzas/NYC Parks

Visible to Roosevelt Island Tram riders, Queensborough Bridge commuters, and pedestrians, Hosea, a 15-foot-tall steel and iron sculpture, features an enormous railroad gear that is supported by a tripod of wavy steel legs. This gear refers beautifully to the working yellow gear in the mechanical section of the tram, clearly visible from the park. Eisner found the gear in a scrap yard and placed it at the apex of the sculpture to “celebrate its form and strength,” rather than its industrial past. The three legs straddle the decorative paved element in the center of the park and allow ample space for viewers to perambulate under and around the sculpture. This exhibition is presented by Susan Eley Fine Art.

Cheryl Farber Smith, Mellow Yellow, Tribeca Park
Through October 27, 2013

Cheryl Farber Smith, Mellow Yellow, Tribeca Park

Cheryl Farber Smith, Mellow Yellow, Tribeca Park, Courtesy Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Cheryl Farber Smith’s Mellow Yellow is as fun as its name. The nine-foot tall aluminum sculpture is a playful piece that juxtaposes the most basic of all visual elements, geometric shapes. Painted a brilliant yellow, the sculpture is comprised of suspended circles, cylinders and cubes that take part in an animated dance. Centrally located in Tribeca Park (also known as Beach Street Park), this sculpture will brighten the heavily canopied plaza.  Smith, who exhibited her sculpture Leaning Firm in Brooklyn’s Columbus Park in 2007, also explores similar themes in her photographic prints.
Kent Henricksen, We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars, Allen Street Malls at Allen and Grand Street
Through October 23, 2013

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars

Kent Henricksen, We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars, photo courtesy of the artist.

The piece titled We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars is part of a series known as the Ghost Trees. The installation consists of a large white marble tree trunk with text carved into the surface placed among the other trees planted on the pedestrian mall. The piece stands 91 inches tall with a diameter of 14 inches at the base. The title references the arborglyph which is carved into the trunk. This message, handwritten as if scribbled in a moment of inspiration or passion, comes from a character in Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. The character, Lord Darlington, speaks about an unfulfilled desire, and his inabilitiy to give up on his pursuit of a married woman. Carved on the tree trunk, its meaning is more ambiguous and left up to the viewer to interpret.

Jaehyo Lee, LOTUS, Union Square Park
Through October 2013
Jaehyo Lee’s continues his signature use of crosscuts of Korean big-cone pine. For this work, the artist meticulously carved, shaped, and burned the circular wood slabs that are attached to a steel armature reminiscent of an 18-foot tall champagne flute.  Lee is particularly interested in highlighting the “beauty in what is seen but not noticed.” LOTUS is a minimalistic approach to a monumental sculpture that exposes the nature of his materials, including the natural texture and character of the wood grain. Lee’s is the eighteenth public artwork to be exhibited in Union Square Park, seven of which including LOTUS at the southeast triangle. This project is presented with Cynthia Reeves PROJECTS and the Union Square Partnership.

Andrew Rogers, Individuals, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
May 7 – November 2013

Andrew Rogers, Individuals, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

Andrew Rogers, Individuals, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Courtesy of the artist

Individuals is composed of 15 bronze sculptures that are all unique, but similar in form. Made specifically for the park, “these individual figurative forms come together as a close community, yet it is always to be remembered that it is the individual that makes our world a place of justice and compassion,” says Andrew Rogers. It is a particularly apt theme that resonates with this location, the gateway for the United Nations. Rogers uses bronze for these twelve-foot individuals, a material weighted in the history of art, but used in a light, contemporary manner for this exhibition. The organic, ribbed outer surfaces act as counterpoints to the delicate, highly polished sculpture interiors. Each piece is balanced on a tightly curled base that unfurls as it extends upwards and outward in a continuously undulating spiral movement—similar to that of a tornado or a blooming flower.

Tracey Emin, Roman Standard, Petrosino Square
May 10 – September 8, 2013
Roman Standard features a single bronze bird perched on top of a thirteen-foot pole that rises over the park. Often mistaken as a real bird, Tracey Emin describes the sculpture is a symbol of “hope, faith and spirituality” that serves as a point of contemplation. The sculpture serves as a reinterpretation of the militaristic symbols of traditional Roman Standards by demonstrating a seemingly insignificant creature’s strengths in its embodiment of height, air and light. “Most public sculptures are a symbol of power which I find oppressive and dark,” said Emin. “I wanted something that had a magic and an alchemy, something which would appear and disappear and not dominate.” This exhibition is presented by Art Production Fund, Lehmann Maupin and White Cube.

Can Altay, Inner Space Station, Seward Park
May 10 – June 30, 2013
Can Altay's Inner Space Station, 2013, is a territorial marker in the form of a circular bench. Altay's work draws on the limits of public space by creating a temporary inner space that is a simple gesture towards introspection. Inner Space Station is a circle, approximately six feet in diameter, made of concrete, just high and deep enough to make a quiet park bench. Regardless of the direction one is facing while sitting on the sculpture, there is the unavoidable aspect of positioning oneself either on the inside or on the outside. This simple gesture of proposing a boundary as a resting place expands to wider philosophical concerns of what is permitted, where and when. This exhibition is presented by Protocinema.

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