New York City has been supporting art in public places since at least 1967. While some of this art is permanent, there are a number of temporary art installations that inject a newness to our experiences of much loved parks. Madison Square Park, for instance, currently has an installation entitled Red, Yellow and Blue by Orly Genger. There is a delightful interview of the artist over at Artsy, where Genger talks about the experience of designing and installing a public work:
But I think some of the more interesting things happened while we were installing, because it wasn’t clear what it was, and people were asking questions, and in the beginning, a lot of people didn’t like the change, and we’re in a public space where people feel really…I think more invested in everything, feel like they have ownership over things in the park, public spaces. So people kind of had no issues about telling me exactly what they thought even when it was bad. It’s interesting, very different to working inside a gallery or museum.
Recently I went to Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, which has lovely views of Manhattan and the East River and enjoyed seeing picnickers under Toshihiro Oki’s FOLLY: tree wood. There are lots of installations to see throughout the city, and for those interested in designing their own free public art tour, a full listing of the current Parks Department exhibits is here.
There are also projects in public spaces that are sponsored by the Public Art Fund. This non-profit has been around since the mid-1970’s and and you may know them for presenting Olafur Eliasson’s The New York City Waterfalls (2008) (which was a fantastic excuse to get on a boat that summer). Currently they have exhibitions in Brooklyn Bridge Park, MetroTech, Rockefeller Center and Doris C. Freedman Plaza.
Of course this is just some of the art to be enjoyed in New York, so hopefully this will give you a starting point to explore this weekend!