About the Exhibitions
In 2017, Public Art Fund will celebrate 40 years of presenting bold, impactful, ambitious works of contemporary art throughout New York City with a series of exhibitions that are emblematic of the organization’s mission and innovative history. Since our founding by Doris C. Freedman in 1977, we’ve worked to break down the inherent boundaries between audiences and brick and mortar institutions by presenting work outside the confines of the traditional white cube. 40 years later, we continue to demonstrate the power and potential of public art to transform the urban environment, while encompassing experiences as diverse and wide-ranging as the artists who have imagined them.
The first half of 2017 includes a citywide digital group show featuring 20+ artists, followed by solo shows with Liz Glynn, Anish Kapoor, and Katja Novitskova.
February 6 - March 5, 2017 | Citywide
Launching Public Art Fund’s 40th anniversary season, the citywide exhibition Commercial Break celebrates and expands upon Public Art Fund’s commitment to media-based artwork. The show is inspired by Public Art Fund’s seminal exhibition Messages to the Public, which ran on the 800-square-foot animated Spectacolor light board in Times Square from 1982 to 1990 and displayed artworks by 70 figures including Guerrilla Girls, David Hammons, David Wojnarowicz, Lorna Simpson, Alfredo Jaar, Keith Haring, and Jenny Holzer (her first large-scale LED work). Similarly disrupting the daily flow of advertising that regularly saturates the urban landscape, Commercial Break invites a new generation of artists to create interventions utilizing the latest digital advertising across New York City. These brief interruptions on some of the city’s most highly visible and technically advanced screens will explore issues relevant to the current moment, such as the intersection between technology, culture, and communication; the proliferation of images in our daily lives; and contemporary notions of public vs. private.
Sites for the exhibition include a large billboard in Times Square near the site of the original Spectacolor board; Barclays Center’s “Oculus,” a one-of-a-kind 3,000 square foot, 360-degree LED marquee, which hangs above the main entrance to the arena in Prospect Height; 19 digital screens at Westfield World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan; hundreds of LinkNYC’s Link kiosks in all five boroughs; and PublicArtFund.org, where the work will be embedded as a pop-up “ad”.
Commercial Break artists include:
• Times Square: Cory Arcangel, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Brian Bress, Sue de Beer, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, Heather Phillipson, and Martine Syms
• Barclays Center: Meriem Bennani, Kate Cooper, Cecile B. Evans, GCC, Agnieszka Polska, Tabor Robak, and Jacolby Satterwhite
• Westfield World Trade Center: Hayal Pozanti
• LinkNYC: Lucas Blalock, Antoine Catala and Gabriel Kahan, Awol Erizku, Ed Fornieles, David Horvitz, Britta Thie, and Hannah Whitaker
• PublicArtFund.org: Casey Jane Ellison
Liz Glynn: Open House
March 1 – September 24, 2017 | Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park
This new commission by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn (b. 1981, Boston) draws inspiration from one of the grandest Fifth Avenue ballrooms designed by famed Gilded Age architect Stanford White: the now-demolished William C. Whitney Ballroom. Located at the southeast entrance to Central Park, one of the nation’s first public parks, the work stands just eight blocks from the original mansion in a plaza named for the founder of Public Art Fund. Glynn’s work, which she describes as a “ruin”, transforms Doris C. Freedman Plaza into a “ballroom” featuring opulent Louis XIV replica furniture from the original space but with a twist—her furniture is recast in concrete, a populist material more commonly seen in modern architecture. These 26 painstakingly-created sofas, chairs, footstools, and arches adorn the 3,500-square-foot plaza, where the public will be invited to enjoy the artist’s contemporary re-imagination of a historically exclusive space as one that is accessible to all. In this strange facsimile of a once opulent past, Glynn addresses the evolving face of a city: who has access to space in a society that is increasingly divided along socio-economic lines?
Anish Kapoor: Descension
Opening May 2017 | Brooklyn Bridge Park
Considered one the most influential artists working today, Anish Kapoor (b. 1954, Mumbai, India) works in a wide variety of scales and formats, and in a range of media including pigment, stone, stainless steel, resin, wax, earth, and most recently, silicone. Over the last four decades, he has created a remarkably inventive and resonant body of work layered with artistic, cultural, and personal associations. Anish Kapoor: Descension brings one of Kapoor’s most viscerally arresting installations yet to New York for the first time. Creating a dynamic negative space that descends into the ground, Descension is a massive spiraling funnel that harnesses the evanescent material of water. Disturbing the familiar boundaries of our world whilst pushing the limits of materials, the work invites visitors to experience the sheer wonder of intense perception, in a quintessential New York park.
Katja Novitskova: EARTH POTENTIAL
Opening June 2017 | City Hall Park, Lower Manhattan
For her first major public art commission in the United States, emerging artist Katja Novitskova (b. 1984, Tallin, Estonia) expands her ongoing investigation of today’s image-laden culture. Advances in technology have enabled us to render images based on data, and translate them into composite photographs that could never be reproduced using a single lens or shot. In this monographic exhibition, Novitskova appropriates images of planets and celestial bodies created using this technique. These large, flat, cut aluminum sculptures feature digitally-printed imagery to which she adds a second layer of printed aluminum covered with alien-like, but terrestrial, animals and organisms. The flatness replicates the experience of viewing images online, while the form and subject of her sculptures—from science fiction and otherworldly encounters, to data sets, and advancements in image making—will encourage visitors to consider how our conception of the universe is shaped and mediated by digital imagery. Siting these works in Lower Manhattan, Novitskova recasts City Hall Park as an extraterrestrial environment, akin to those often featured in Hollywood movies and mass media sources.