Public Art, Midsummer

August 18th, 2011 § 0 comments

As summer draws toward fall, relatively speaking, I am gearing up for the start of the new art season next month. The enticing prospect of new shows opening throughout the city, many of them dedicated to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, means that all the shows which opened in the latter half of the summer will be, or already have, closed. Though Ai Weiwei himself was thankfully released at the end of June, his photographs of New York City, on view at the Asia Society, closed today, and his Zodiac Heads, at the Pulitzer Fountain in Central Park, have been shipped to L.A. where they will open at LACMA at the end of the month. The Alexander McQueen exhibition at the MET, Savage Beauty, was undoubtedly the blockbuster of the summer (like Tim Burton at MoMA last summer), but Ai Weiwei’s disappearance, detention, and release was the story of the summer—it was a story that brought the whole world to the doorstep of the art world.

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Public Artworks Unveiled

May 20th, 2011 § 0 comments

With summer on the horizon public art has been popping up around the city, from the annual and much anticipated opening of the MET rooftop to individual sculptures placed throughout the city. Summer, or at least spring as our moody weather dictates, seems to begin when PS1 opens its courtyard once again for Saturday Sessions full of art, music, and general museum lounging. Most of the city’s public art is so scattered that to see it all would require a days worth of zigzagging through the city. One of the many nice things about public art, however, is that it isn’t in a gallery with restrictive hours and locations. Stumbling upon pieces as you head elsewhere reminds us of how pleasant our cities are when filled with beautiful, odd, historical, or experimental pieces of art. They reach everyone because they are surrounded by everything: retail, restaurants, nature, sidewalks, cars, and pedestrians. While public art is the most obvious kind of art we know, it’s also the kind we engage with the most. Unlike gallery shows that seem to open and close too quickly to accommodate our busy schedules, public art usually lasts through the summer, giving viewers enough time to actually see it. Covering the fashionable preview of Alexander McQueen’s posthumous exhibition at the MET, I wandered past Will Ryman’s Park Avenue flowers, and Urs Fischer’s giant yellow Untitled bear/lamp, conspicuously sagging in front of the Seagram building. While buying Heirloom vegetables in Union Square, I crossed paths with Rob Pruitt’s shiny Andy Warhol monument. In Madison Square Park lunching with Chicagoans, I walked by Jaume Plensa’s forty-four foot sculpture titled Echo.

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