Public Art in New York, Summer 2016 (1/2)
10New York is a vibrant city in terms of outdoor activities, particularly when the first nice days of spring arrive. We are taking you on a stroll to let you discover a selection of the many installations and temporary outdoor sculptures displayed throughout the city.
Martin Creed, Work No. 2630 UNDERSTANDING
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6
On view through October 23rd 2016
On Pier 6 of the Brooklyn Bridge Park stands a gigantic red neon sign. Fifty feet wide and 26 feet high, it rotates on itself at varying speeds and spells out the word “understanding”. This is British artist Martin Creed’s latest monumental work, which was installed on May 4th as one of the artistic projects of the Public Art Fund.
Martin Creed is a poet of the everyday — Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator.
Known for his light installations as much as for his paintings or music, Martin Creed’s artistic practice often relates to everyday life, to “little things”, to the visible and invisible structures that shape our life. In an interview from The Guardian with Nadja Sayev, Martin Creed explains that Understanding was inspired by a game he and his stepdaughter used to communicate. Three gestures, respectively “peace”, “love” and “understanding”, formed a kind of secret code which helped him alleviate the awkwardness of the first stages of their relationship and ease the communication with her. From the intimacy of this bond to the public exhibit at Brooklyn Bridge Park, this installation is open to all interpretations. With Understanding, the artist deals with a topic that goes beyond the private sphere: understanding yourself and understanding the other.
To explore deeper, you can also visit The Back Door, the first American restrospective on Martin Creed’s work, at the Park Avenue Armory, from June 8th to August 7th, 2016.
Deborah Kass, OY/YO
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Main Street lawn
On view through August 31st, 2016
From red neon to yellow aluminum, Brooklyn Bridge Park never ceases to surprise with bold and vibrant colors. On the heights of Main Street lawn, you will stumble upon two eight-foot tall aluminum letters: OY or YO, depending on where you stand. OY/YO is American artist Deborah Kass’s first monumental sculpture.
Just in time for the holidays, three of New York City’s greatest communities come together in peace, love, and OY. — November 2015, Deborah Kass.
Visible from Manhattan, OY/YO is an allusion to Brooklyn’s different communities and to several linguistic expressions. “Yo” belongs to Brooklyn’s urban slang and is also Spanish for “I am”. Reversed, it becomes “Oy”, a short version of the Yiddish expression “Oy Vaï “, which is often used in English. According to the artist, the sculpture belongs in Brooklyn as well as in any other neighborhood in New York or elsewhere, because it speaks to the different communities coexisting in an urban setting.
Isa Genzken,Two Orchids
Doris C. Freedman Plaza
Central Park, Manhattan
On view through August 21st, 2016
Two aluminum orchids, respectively 34 and 27 feet high, have sprouted at the South-East entrance of Central Park at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza. The keenest contemporary art lovers will remember them from the 56th Venice Biennale. They are the work of German artist Isa Genzken. Flowers are one of her recurring themes. Her first monumental sculpture dates back to the 1990’s with Rose II, originally created in 1993, reprised in 2007, and displayed in 2010 on the terrace of the New Museum as part of the Façade Sculpture Program.
To me, New York has a direct link with sculpture… (it) is a city of incredible stability and solidity — Isa Genzken
Despite their monumental sizes, the two orchids interact with New York’s urban landscape in an extremely elegant and delicate way. Scale, the sensorial perception of objects and images, and their integration in architecture, nature and mass culture, have always remained at the center of the artist’s work.
For Genzken the decorative neutrality of the orchid makes it the quintessential flower of our period – ubiquitous, porous to meaning, and global. — Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator (press release)
Today, one can easily find artificial roses in retail stores. Similarly, fake plastic orchids, often manufactured in Asia, have become a common decorative object. What was once only available in nature has been reproduced for mass consumption and has become, according to the artist, a global and omnipresent symbol of our era.
Bernar Venet, Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles
East 17th Street and Broadway, Manhattan
On view through June 22nd, 2016
At the corner of East 17th Street and Broadway, a busy intersection for pedestrians and cars, you will find a spiky, minimalist and monumental structure by French artist Bernar Vernet titled Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles. Composed of nine rusted Cor-ten steel beams of varying sizes and placed at different angles, the sculpture was created in the artist’s Hungarian factory, in Nagykörös, and brought to New York by boat. It is fascinating to observe how the sculpture interacts with the architecture of the surrounding buildings and how it influences our gaze. Often times, Venet’s sculptures guide and draw the visitor’s gaze with soft yet captivating curves. Here, angles suggest a more aggressive, chaotic but nonetheless harmonious movement.
Simultaneously, the Paul Kasmin Gallery is presenting Bernar Venet’s sculptures in the exhibition Angles, on view until June 18th, 2016.