Take a Cross-Country Public Art Road Trip

With Rob Pruitt’s sleek monument to Andy Warhol recently unveiled in Union Square and Sol Lewitt’s modular structures being installed in City Hall Park (both installations are presented by New York’s Public Art Fund), we’ve been contemplating innovative art that’s accessible outside the traditional context of museums and galleries. In the coming weeks as you take to city streets, benches, park lawns, (and garages!) keep an eye out for what’s going up around you. That skeletal advertising billboard may not be an actual advertising billboard but one of three works by artist Kim Beck. In celebration of Beck, Lewitt, Pruitt and other artists whose work is on public display this spring, take a virtual road trip with us from New York to Seattle to explore some of the most exciting works, both recently unveiled or well-renowned, in some Flavorpill cities.

New York, NY

Kim Beck, Space Available, The High Line Park. Photo by Tim Schreier

Take a stroll on the High Line Park, that little strip of elevated public space in Chelsea, and you may spot some oddly familiar structures, what look like frameworks for billboards stripped of their facades propped loftily on the rooftops of buildings. But they’re not billboards. These three sculptures are part of Space Available, Kim Beck’s rooftop public art installation presented by Friends of the High Line within the High Line Art program. What’s neat is the structures, which were lifted by cranes onto the buildings, turn nearly flat as you walk and your perspective shifts, revealing the perceived depth to be mostly illusion. The exhibit takes its name from the signs that announce spaces for rent, whether retail, advertising, or other, that have become a harbinger of recession economics. But they also, according to Beck, reflect our “constructed vision of a neighborhood.” You can hear Beck talk about her work at the upcoming artist talk on May 6. Hopefully, our vision will be less affected by recession when these come down next January.

Also notable is Kota Ezawa’s City of Nature, an original video-collage commission for Mad. Sq. Art that weaves together excerpts from popular films, ranging from Fitzcarraldo to Twin Peaks in which nature is the only character that gets screen time. Check it out in Madison Square Park through May 15.