by Sara Weintraub
We at Public Art Dialogue would like to welcome CAA members to New York for the 2019 Annual Conference. There are many public art projects to explore while traveling to the New York Hilton and worth an excursion during a break from the conference.
There is a plethora of newly installed Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) subway art, including Rico Gatson’s vibrant glass mosaic Beacons for the 167th Street B/D station. This work of portraits celebrates icons of Bronx history, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, James Baldwin, Tito Puente, and Maya Angelou. On the walls of the 23rd Street F/M stop, William Wegman’s 11 playful pictures of Weimaraners, Flo and Topper, appear larger than life. Along the B/C line, at 86th Street, Joyce Kozloff’s colorful mosaics combine aerial views of Central Park with details of Beaux-Arts and Art Deco building elements while the renovated 72nd Street station features Yoko Ono’s Sky, ceramic murals of a cloud-filled, blue sky. Of course, you can also catch MTA Arts & Design sponsored works on the east side Second-Avenue Subway, which opened in 2017 with various installations by Jean Shin, Vik Muniz, Chuck Close, and Sarah Sze.
Floating on the Hudson River at Pier 66 is the Public Art Fund’s hypnotizing red-and-white dazzle boat Flow Separation, a work by Tauba Auerbach. The piece commemorates the anniversary of the end of World War I, and converts the historic Fireboat John J. Harvey into a contemporary dazzle ship, a concept dating to the World War I technique of painting war vessels with optical illusions in order to confuse enemy ship tracking.
Six large fantastical sculptures by Kathy Ruttenberg are on display along the Broadway promenade from Lincoln Center to Hamilton Heights on the Upper West Side. Made from a variety of materials that include silicon bronze, glass, mosaic, and even LED lighting, the anthropomorphized creatures make references to local surroundings. For example, All the World’s a Stage on W. 64th Street depicts a singing figure alluding to neighboring Lincoln Center.
Kathy Ruttenberg. All the World’s A Stage. 64th Street, Dante Park, 2018. Photo: Kathy Ruttenberg, 2018
Kathy Ruttenberg. Fish Bowl. 157th St, 2018. Photo: Kathy Ruttenberg, 2018.
If you find yourself gallery hopping in Chelsea or at the Whitney Museum’s blockbuster Andy Warhol exhibition, take a stroll along the High Line to view Dorothy Iannone’s mural, I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door, near W. 22nd Street. Evoking the current debates surrounding immigration with the patriotic symbolism of Lady Liberty, Iannone’s mural depicts three colorful variations of the Statue of Liberty shedding a single tear each.
Arlene Shechet has transformed Madison Square Park (at Fifth Avenue and E. 23rd Street) into a lively sculptural amphitheater in order to challenge the traditional notion of the staid museum sculpture court. The series of abstract works in porcelain, wood, steel, and cast-iron encourages human interaction within the park’s urban setting. The title, Full Steam Ahead, evokes Admiral David Farragut’s famous order given during the Civil War, and references the bronze Farragut statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Stanford White (1876-1881) located on the eastern side of the park.
Finally, you can see art collective fierce pussy’s site-specific window installation at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (26 Wooster Street). fierce pussy is this year’s recipient of the Public Art Dialogue Award for achievement in the field of public art.