Skip to main content

A Fine Season for Public Art: Temporary Works in New York City

(top) Urs Fischer, UNTITLED BEAR/LAMP;
Rob Pruitt, THE ANDY MONUMENT;
(bottom) Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, BORDERS;
Will Ryman, THE ROSES


For a list of spring and summer 2012 temporary public art projects, click here.

A giant yellow teddy bear with a desk lamp sits on the hallowed plaza of the Seagram Building, parked there temporarily by Christie's auction house. An equally large marble-dusted head of a child dominates the oval lawn of Madison Square Park. Having lasted through a long winter, the Roses on Park Avenue are coming near their end, just as the flowers around them are in full bloom.

At the northeast corner of Union Square, a chrome statue of Andy Warhol, mercifully not four stories tall, stands on a pedestal. Over at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza near the UN, more than a dozen figures, half in aluminum and half in cast iron, engage in a stand off. Meanwhile, as artist Ai Weiwei is detained in China, his first major sculpture project is unveiled in Grand Army Plaza. A fine season for temporary public art is underway in New York, with a few more works yet to be installed. Here's a list and a map to help locate them.

Several works make for a good self-guided art stroll. For example, the Festival of Ideas for the New City (May 4-8, 2011) rolled out - or should we say rolled down? - artwork by seventeen established artists on roll-down security shutters along the Bowery. “After Hours: Murals on the Bowery” from the Art Production Fund includes work by Judith Bernstein, Matthew Brannon, Ingrid Calame, Chris Dorland, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ellen Gallagher, Amy Granat, Mary Heilmann, Jacqueline Humphries, Deborah Kass, pulp, ink, Glenn Ligon, Adam McEwen, Barry McGee, Sterling Ruby, Gary Simmons, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Lawrence Weiner. These works, on display on the roller shutters when the respective businesses are closed, are located on the Bowery between Houston and Grand Streets. Most works will stay for two months; other may stay much longer.


View A Fine Season for Public Art: Temporary Works in New York City in a larger map

Many of these artworks listed below are sponsored by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation's Art in the Parks program in collaboration with other institutions. See the Parks website page for more information, including descriptions of these projects. Several of the artworks are more fully described on this website, with links to posts noted below. In addition, look for new permanent works by artists commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit program and works on sidewalks and streetscapes by artists working with NYC DOT's Urban Art Program.

Sponsors of other works, such as the Public Art Fund and the Art Production Fund, are noted below with their respective projects.

This map and list includes only temporary, as opposed to permanent, artwork placed in public places in New York. Several good resources, including maps and apps, list and describe the significant permanent artworks in the city. A particularly extensive map and list, and available apps, may be found at CultureNOW: Museum Without Walls (website). For a self-guided walk to permanent artwork in Lower Manhattan, check out Walking Off the Big Apple's post here. Search the tag "public art" for additional posts on this website.

This map and list will be continuously updated as new projects are added to the list and older ones close.

Temporary Public Art Projects in New York City

In Manhattan

Scene from The High Line
KAWS, Companion (Passing Through) 

KAWS, Companion (Passing Through) 
Plaza, The Standard Hotel (W. 13th and Washington St.)
Through October 2011

Kim Beck, SPACE AVAILABLE, three sculptures on buildings near The High Line. Rooftops along Washington Street, between West 13th and Gansevoort Streets.
The High Line, Manhattan
Through January 2012
Empty sculptural billboards hold no ads, a gesture toward the lingering recession.

Stephen Vitiello, A BELL FOR EVERY MINUTE
(sound installation)
14th Street Passage between West 13th and West 14th streets
The High Line, Manhattan
Through June 23, 2011
The diversity of the city as represented in recording of the sounds of bells from various locations in the city.

Jaume Plensa, ECHO.
Madison Square Park
Rob Pruitt, THE ANDY MONUMENT
Public Art Fund
Extended through May 13, 2012
Union Square Park, Manhattan
The artist's homage to the international art star who inspired him to move to New York.
Read Walking Off the Big Apple's review here.

Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, BORDERS
Through September 30, 2011
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Manhattan
Two different groups mirror one another to contest an imagined border in this important space near the United Nations.
Read about the installation at the post Negotiating a Walk Through Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir’s BORDERS at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza.

Ai Weiwei, CIRCLE OF ANIMALS/ZODIAC HEADS
Through July 15, 2011
Pulitzer Fountain
Grand Army Plaza, Manhattan
Inspired by an 18th fountain clock near Beijing, 12 animal heads represent the Chinese zodiac.

Bill Barrett, 911 (from the Lexeme Series)
Through October 29, 2011
Finn Square, Manhattan, Manhattan
Memorial abstract sculpture of two 11-foot towers.

Will Ryman, THE ROSES
Though May 31, 2011
Park Avenue, between 57th and 67th Streets, Manhattan
Park Avenue Malls, Manhattan
Colorful and towering stems, playful bugs, and petals strewn up and down Park Avenue.
Read about The Roses and see many pictures here on Walking Off the Big Apple.

Eva Rothschild, EMPIRE
Through August 28, 2011
Public Art Fund
Doris C. Freedman Plaza, 60th St and 5th Ave
Central Park, Manhattan
Referencing the shapes of trees, echoing this natural gateway to Central Park.

Hester Street Collaborative, MALL-TERATIONS
Through Summer 2011
Allen Street Malls, Manhattan
The non-profit enlivens the streetscape with unconventional benches, maps, and directions, referencing immigration history and the history of the street.

Jaume Plensa, ECHO
Mad. Sq. Art
Madison Square Park Conservancy
Madison Square Park
Extended through September 11, 2011
Barcelona-based artist's 44-ft sculpture of the head of a young girl, lost in dreams.
In Madison Square Park: Jaume Plensa's ECHO.

Urs Fischer, UNTITLED BEAR/LAMP, 2005-2006
Seagram Plaza, Park Avenue between 53rd and 52nd Streets
Christie's
on view through September 30, 2011
23-foot tall yellow bear sits under an ordinary table lamp. The lamp works.
Read the post Ludwig Mies van der Bear: Urs Fischer's Giant Teddy Bear Meets the Seagram Building.

AFTER HOURS: MURALS ON THE BOWERY
Art Production Fund
Through June 2011
Bowery between Houston and Grand St. on roller shutters
artists listed above
International artists paint the roll-down security gates along the Bowery. Go after business hours.

SOL LEWITT: THE STRUCTURES, 1965-2006
Public Art Fund
City Hall Park
First outdoor career survey of LeWitt's sculptures, which he called "structures."

In Brooklyn

Patrick Dougherty, NATURAL HISTORY
Through August 31, 2011
The Plant Family Collection near Magnolia Plaza
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn
Woven-wood sculptures in celebration of the garden's centennial.

TOTAL RECALL
works by Martin Basher, Zipora Fried, Sam Moyer, Matt Sheridan Smith, and Kevin Zucker.
Public Art Fund
MetroTech Center, Brooklyn
Through September 16, 2011
Artists uncover their artistic pasts with found objects and memories.


On Governors Island

Mark di Suvero at Governors Island: Presented by Storm King Art Center
Governors Island
Through September 25, 2011

Andrei Monastyrski's Slogan (1977), in conjunction with the New Museum, an extension of the museum's "Ostalgia" exhibit. Through September 25, 2011.


Images by Walking Off the Big Apple.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Museums in New York Open on Mondays

Please see this post for current announcements of reopenings . Please consult the museum websites for changes in days and hours. UPDATED September 23, 2020 Advance tickets required for many museum reopenings. Please check museum websites for details. • The  Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)  reopened to the public on  August 27 , with new hours for the first month, through September 27: from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to the public; and from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.  on Mondays for MoMA members on ly. Admission will be free to all visitors Tuesday through Sunday, through September 27, made possible by UNIQLO. See this  new post on WOTBA for a sense of the experience attending the museum . •  New-York Historical Society  reopened on  August 14  with an outdoor exhibition, "Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine,” in the rear courtyard. The exhibit by activist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman will highlight how New Yorkers weathered the quarantine

25 Things To Do Near the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

(updated 2016) The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at 11 W. 53rd Street is near many other New York City attractions, so before or after a trip to the museum, a short walk in any direction could easily take in additional experiences. Drawing a square on a map with the museum at the center, a shape bounded by 58th Street to the north and 48th Street to the south, with 7th Avenue to the west and Park Avenue to the east, proves the point of the area's cultural richness. (A map follows the list below.) While well-known sightseeing stops fall with these boundaries, most notably Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the great swath of famous Fifth Avenue stores, cultural visitors may also want to check out places such as the Austrian Cultural Forum, the 57th Street galleries, the Onassis Cultural Center, and the Municipal Art Society. The image above shows an intriguing glimpse of the tops of two Beaux-Arts buildings through an opening of the wall inside MoMA's scu

Taking a Constitutional Walk

A long time ago individuals going out for a walk, especially to get fresh air and exercise, often referred to the activity as "taking a constitutional walk." The word "constitutional" refers to one's constitution or physical makeup, so a constitutional walk was considered beneficial to one's overall wellbeing. (Or, as some would prefer to call it, "wellness.") The phrase is more common in British literature than in American letters. As early as the mid-nineteenth century, many American commentators expressed concern that their countrymen were falling into lazy and unhealthy habits. Newspaper columnists and editorial writers urged their readers to take up the practice of the "constitutional" walk. One such essay, " Walking as an Exercise," originally printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and reprinted in New England Farmer , Volume 11, 1859, urges the people of farm areas to take up walking. City dwellers seemed to have the

25 Things to Do Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

(updated) Sitting on the steps in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of those iconic things to do in New York City. On a sunny day, the wide steps can become crowded with the young and old, the tourist and the resident. It's tempting to stay awhile and soak in the sun and the sights. Everyone has reasons for lingering there, with one being the shared pleasure of people watching along this expansive stretch of Fifth Avenue, a painting come to life. Certainly, just getting off one's feet for a moment is welcome, especially if the previous hours involved walking through the entirety of art history from prehistoric to the contemporary. The entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue The Metropolitan Museum of Art should be a singular pilgrimage, uninterrupted by feeble attempts to take in more exhibitions along Museum Mile. Pity the poor visitor who tries "to do" multiple museum exhibitions in one day, albeit ambitious, noble, and uplift

25 Things to Do Near the American Museum of Natural History

After visiting the American Museum of Natural History, explore attractions on the Upper West Side or in Central Park. Visitors to New York often run around from one major tourist site to the next, sometimes from one side of the city to the other, and in the process, exhaust themselves thoroughly. Ambitious itineraries often include something like coffee in the Village in the morning, lunch near MoMA, a couple of hours in the museum, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry in the afternoon, cocktails at the midtown hotel, a quick dinner, and then a Broadway show. It's a wonder people don't pass out at the theater. While sitting on the steps of the American Museum of History, consider exploring the Upper West Side and nearby sites of interest in Central Park. There's a better way to plan a New York trip. Consider grouping attractions together geographically. Several posts on this site address this recommended approach. The Wild West of the Tecumseh Playground Groupin

A New York Spring Calendar: Blooming Times and Seasonal Events

See the UPDATED 2018 CALENDAR HERE . Updated for 2017 . At this time of year, thoughts turn to spring. Let's spring forward to blooming times, the best locations for witnessing spring's beginnings, and springtime events in the big city. While the occasional snow could blow through the city, we're just weeks now from callery pears in bloom and opening day at the ballpark. In The Ramble, Central Park. mid-April Blooming Times •  Central Park Conservancy's website  lists blooming times within the park. During the month of March we begin to see crocus, daffodils, forsythia, snowdrops, witch-hazel, and hellebores. Species tulips will emerge in several places, but the Shakespeare Garden and Conservatory Garden are particularly good places to catch the beginning of Spring blooms. Central Park near E. 72nd St., saucer magnolia, typically end of March. •  Citywide Blooming Calendar from New York City Department of Parks & Recreation April is u

25 Radical Things to Do in Greenwich Village

A list of 25 things to Do in Greenwich Village with history of protest, old cafes, and signs of change. Hipstamatic iPhone images of contemporary Greenwich Village by Walking Off the Big Apple (Revised and updated.) Flipping through  Greenwich Village: A Photographic Guide by Edmund T. Delaney and Charles Lockwood with photographs by George Roos, a second, revised edition published in 1976, it’s easy to compare the black and white images with the look of today’s neighborhood and see how much the Village has changed. A long shot photograph of Washington Square taken up high from an apartment north of the park, and with the looming two towers of the World Trade Center off to the distant south in the background, reveals a different landscape than what we would encounter today.    On the north side of the park, an empty lot and two small buildings have since given way to NYU’s Kimmel Center and a new NYU Center for Academic and Spiritual Center Life. The Judson Memorial Church

At the New Moynihan Train Hall, and the Zen of Going Nowhere

After slowly wandering around the Moynihan Train Hall , opened earlier this year in the James A. Farley Post Office Building across from Penn Station, an Amtrak worker approached me and asked if he could help with directions. “No,” I replied, “I’m just here to look at the station.”  Moynihan Train Hall, between Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue, 31st Street, and 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan I wasn’t taking a train anywhere, not an Amtrak train to Philadelphia or to Boston. I was here to look at this impressive, even enlightening building. The architectural design is somewhat restrained and serious. Bright signage at the Moynihan Train Hall At a time when the idea of actual travel is just picking up, for some New Yorkers like myself, just the novelty of seeing a new transportation project in the city seems to suffice. It’s like mental preparation for taking an actual trip.  Looking up I remember catching Amtrak trains at the old Penn Station, not the beautiful and monumental edifice that

A Walk in NoLita, Sometimes Speaking French

To get to the New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery from where I live in the Village I walk through the precious neighborhood of NoLita. I say "precious," because this neighborhood No rth of L ittle Ita ly is home to many attractive small boutiques and stylish bistros, and it feels like it could be bottled and sold for a large price. In fact, that's happening. The prices for several new condos in the neighborhood's attractive renovated Victorian-era buildings start in the six- and seven-million dollar range. And the proximity of the New Museum solidifies NoLita's stature as a hot neighborhood, with galleries, shoe boutiques and other art-friendly places popping up here and there. Walking along Prince or Spring toward the museum, I have several old and new, ecclesiastical and secular, places to note along the way: Buildings: The St. Patrick's Old Cathedral at Mott and Prince, served as the Roman Catholic Cathedral until the big St. Patrick's was

Traversing Manhattan: An Afternoon Trip to the Battery and Back Again

  Wherein the vaccinated sightseer from Northern Manhattan travels to the southern end of the island by means of the express bus, the MTA subway, and the NYC ferry, with a little sauntering on foot In Battery Park, during the first blushes of spring in New York. View of One World Trade Center Residents of the far north and far south of Manhattan are the ones most keenly aware that they live on an island. The north end of the borough tapers to a relatively small area of land, bounded by the confluence of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers and the waters of Spuyten Duyvil. The land is hilly and green, with an old growth forest. The Battery sits on the southern end, a land where the geography is defined by the meeting of the East River, the Hudson River, and the vast New York Harbor. Manhattan stretches a little over 13 miles on the long side and just 2.3, more or less, at its width. On 42nd Street, approaching Grand Central Terminal. A resident of the hilly northern terrain may sometimes long