Public art in NYC catches LA Times’ attention

"Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" (2010) by Ai Weiwei. Bronze. Pulizer Fountain, Central Park, New York City. On view through July 15, 2011. (Image via Flickr user Laughingsquid)

New York City is known for its public art: From the recent, highly-publicized installation of Ai Weiwei‘s “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” at the Pulitzer Fountain–which is itself, of course, public art by the Austrian sculptor Karl Bitter–to our most famous and poignant public sculpture, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, even people who aren’t art experts are familiar with our cultural treasures.

In this image, via Flickr user 16 Miles of String, the concrete blocks of "Tower (Columbus)" (1990) by Sol LeWitt, play off the undulating stainless steel panels of Frank Gehry's 8 Spruce Street tower. (Sol LeWitt: Structures is on view at City Hall Park through December 3, 2011.)

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times covers the robust public art scene in New York, noting “In most cities, including Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, it can be challenging for cultural producers to install a major work of art, let alone a dozen, in the public sphere.” The article highlights the work of two MFTA recipients, Public Art Fund, which is presenting a retrospective of Sol LeWitt’s work in City Hall Park and Creative Time, which is presenting Creative Time Tweets, a project that brings public art into the sphere of social media.

“Whirls and Twirls (MTA)” (2009) by Sol Lewitt. Porcelain tiles. 59th Street-Columbus Circle station, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Arts for Transit, New York City. (Image via NY Times, credit Rob Wilson/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

New Yorkers and visitors are greeted at almost every turn by art installed in public. Aside from the examples noted above, we have a stunning skyline, a trove of first-rate work  installed in our subways (more LeWitt above) and our extraordinary parks system–crowned by Central Park, Prospect Park, Riverside Park and other achievements of Olmsted and Vaux.

At MFTA we aim to bolster public art programming in the city by providing materials that non-profit cultural groups need to operate and by offering training to the educators and artists that use these materials. We are proud to support Public Art Fund and Creative Time as Materials for the Arts recipients.

In the coming days, look for more posts on public art and how New Yorkers and visitors interact with our the extraordinary art we see everyday.

Images via Flickr users Laughingsquid and 16 Miles of String (Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0)

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2 Responses to Public art in NYC catches LA Times’ attention

  1. Pingback: Jacob Lawrence in Times Square: New York City’s heavily trafficked public art | Materials for the Arts

  2. Pingback: MFTA visits Mark Di Suvero at Governors Island | Materials for the Arts

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