Summer can be a slow time in the New York art scene, but that is certainly not true for the public artwork. In New York we are lucky enough to have tons of fantastic works of public art right on our doorstep, and the best part? They’re free! Here are our suggestions for the best public art exhibits you can’t miss this summer:
Martin Puryear, Big Bling
Madison Square Park is currently featuring a 40ft high golden earring/roller-coaster/elephant, created by renowned sculptor Martin Purer. The piece is the largest that Puryear has made to date and is a mix of architectural experimentation and contemporary sculpture.
Madison Square Park, 23rd to 26th St between Fifth and Madison Aves. Through January 8 2017.
- Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…)
The High Line, home to many public art exhibitions, is featuring the work of Barbara Kruger, known for her text-based pieces that critique culture and society. Kruger’s hand painted mural features the words “BLIND IDEALISM IS REACTIONARY SCARY DEADLY,” a quote from philosopher and revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon. The quote with Kruger’s edits evokes the importance of our current political climate, and encourages one to think about the consequences of their individual actions.
High Line, West 22rd and Tenth Avenue. Through March 2017.
Further down the Highline, one can find the work of Nari Ward, a Jamaican sculptor known for constructing his works from materials he finds in his own neighborhood. Inspired by a childhood memory of seeing a broken-down, abandoned car with a tree growing out of it, Ward created Smart Tree, which features a “green” car cemented to ground, covered in treads from old tires, with a tree growing out of it. The piece is a commentary on recycling and the overpowering ability that nature has to reclaim the environment.
High Line, West 23rd and Tenth Avenue. Through March 2017.
Isa Genzken, Two Orchids
Central Park is currently home to two 30ft high white orchids, courtesy of Isa Genzken and the Public Art Fund. The piece speaks to the mass production of the white orchid. Once a rare and exotic flower, now in every home in America, and available for purchase at the nearest Target or Walmart.
New York Public Art Fund, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park. Through August 2016
Martin Creed, Understanding
Martin Creed has created one of his famous neon signs for the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Understanding rotates 360 degrees in front of the Manhattan skyline, to remind us all that understanding is the key to communication in society.
Public Art Fund, Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Through October 23.
Mika Tajima, Meridian (Gold)
Mika Tajima has created a beautiful, multi-colored, water vaporous installation. Using the global gold economy in real-time, the color of the vapor changes in response to the commodity fluctuation. Meridian (Gold) is a living commentary on the way we perceive gold, examining how ones emotional relationship with something can be very different than its true worth.
Sculpture Center, Hunter’s Point South Park, Queens. Through September 25.