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Temporary Public Art in New York, Spring-Summer 2012

If it's spring and summer in New York, then public art will start appearing all over the city. Follow this list for updates of temporary public art projects in New York City.

• Instead of hurrying across Park Avenue, trying to beat the crosswalk countdown, stay awhile on the median to check out the sculptures by Venezuelan artist Rafael Barrios. Lining the Park Avenue Malls between 51st and 67th Streets, these abstract works, although fixed objects, seem to change shapes when the viewer assumes different vantage points. From the side they render nearly flat, but from the front they take on various dimensions. They play with your perception.

When photographed, the sculptures look Photoshopped. It's the darndest thing, as illustrated in this post.

Rafael Barrios, Rafael Barrios on Park Avenue
51st Street - 67th Street
Park Avenue Malls, Manhattan

The temporary installation of Barrios sculptures continues through June 30, 2012. For more listings and information on the Art in the Park program, consult the website for City of New York Parks & Recreation.

Temporary Public Art

David Shrigley on the High Line
David Shrigley, How Are You Feeling? 
Through Monday, May 7, 2012
Artist Shrigley is a fun artist with a deadpan humor (see the artist's website), so his 25-by-75 foot billboard going up next to the High Line at West 18th Street should amuse. To answer his own question, Shrigley doesn't feel so good.



• In other High Line art news, artist Jeff Koons, as a gesture of homage to the park's past as a rail line, wants to suspend a locomotive, specifically a full-size replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive, over the High Line. It would be suspended by a crane. Also, the train would blow whistles and emit steam puffs. Reports indicate that the founders of the park have a "crush" on it. (More here on The New York Times, "High Line May Mix Past With Koons’s Vision," March 26, 2012.) One challenge, however, is that Train will cost $25 million.

Additional potential challenges exist for Train. Some people, like me for example, may not fall in love with it. A locomotive suspended from a crane over the High Line may frighten people or at least cause anxiety for those out seeking a peaceful walk. The work may also prove too sensational and overwhelming for the park. The park design possesses subtle beauty. This does not. 

I have a few other ideas that would extend this concept throughout the city. Many sites in New York with a colorful history have been repurposed for other uses, so let's think about placing art in these other sites, too. Off the top of my head, how about - a giant sheep hovering above Sheep Meadow in Central Park or a giant ocean liner suspended over Chelsea Piers, once home to the Cunard Line's Pier 54?

• Magdalena Abakanowicz "Walking Figures"
Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
Through September 30, 2012



Madison Square Art
Through September 9, 2012
Mad. Sq. Art: Pet Sounds, Charles Long
See the post After the Rain: Sights and Sounds from Madison Square Park for more.


Mad. Sq. Art sponsors Pet Sounds, which according to their site, "will introduce a snaking network of vibrantly colored pipe railings creating new paths as they wind across the urban oasis." Artist Charles Long has devised the railings to assume fanciful forms as they converge on a common seating area. Touching them will produce sounds or vibrations.

MTA's Arts for Transit App 
One of the biggest public art sponsors in New York is the MTA. Now there's an app to follow the art in the transit system. Download the app for Meridian and then select MTA. See more at the MTA site.

Rafael Barrios, Rafael Barrios on Park Avenue
51st Street - 67th Street
Park Avenue Malls, Manhattan

For more on permanent public art in New York, here are a couple of posts from Walking Off the Big Apple:
• Connect the Dots: A Self-Guided Walk to Public Art in Lower Manhattan
Downtown Beauty: Louise Nevelson and Jean Dubuffet 

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from March 29, 2012. Not Photoshopped.





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