Public Art

National Museum of Women Panders with Public Art


Three giant ladies in bathing suits, coming to a town near you (as long as you live in Washington, DC). The National Museum of Women in the Arts is installing new public art by the late Niki de Saint Phalle in front of its headquarters on New York Avenue NW; the sculptures are meant to be “showstoppers, as contemporary as the last splash of pop art, as exaggerated as Las Vegas showgirls.” Just what our nation’s capital needs in the form of cultural institution-approved public art: go-go dancers as seen through a distorted Pop Art… Read More

The Great Pasties Debate


One would think something titled the Erotic Heritage Museum and located in the T&A capital of the American West would be allowed to embrace the art of the birthday suit. And one would be wrong, at least in the public sense. The Las Vegas museum’s Ho-Down Mural Project has violated the county’s sign code that bans visible areola of female breasts. Thus: pasties! If that’s not indigenous local culture, we don’t know what is. And… Read More

Video of the Day: Robot Art


Speaking of public art, did you know that New York’s first robot built public art installation went up earlier this fall in Chinatown? As in built by a real robot! We knew they could roller skate on desks and mix a mean cocktail, but make art? Pike Loop, the work of Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler and a robot named R-O-B, consists of more than 7,000 bricks glued into a looping wall. It took R-O-B about four weeks, working day and night. The installation, which was realized thanks to Storefront for Art and Architecture and the New York City Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program, will remain in place at the intersection of Pike Street and Division Street through January.

View more images of the end result and a time-lapse video of the construction after the jump.
… Read More

American Gothic, 3D and 25-Feet Tall


American Gothic, Grant Wood’s portrait of a farmer and his unwed daughter in the agrarian Midwest, is one of America’s most famous paintings. The dour visages and stark, Northern Renaissance-influenced style ushered in the Regionalist period later parodied through the ages of pop culture. And now, it’s back, this time not just spoofed, but completely ripped off in a three-dimensional version called “God Bless America” in Chicago’s Pioneer Plaza. Whether you see Wood’s original painting as a satire of repressed Midwestern society or a glorification of its moral virtue, we doubt any of the visitors posing for pictures aside the sculpture are analyzing it much at all. And perhaps, in the grand scheme of public art, that’s not such a bad… Read More

Pic of the Day: LentSpace Is Vandalized, Criticized


Last week LentSpace, a temporary public art and sculpture park, opened in downtown Manhattan. According to the New York Times, “The seven sculptural pieces in the inaugural lineup all, in one form or another, incorporate visual puns playing on the conventions of city-park design or on the idea of what deserves to be classified as public art.”Yesterday, Curbed reported that someone vandalized several pieces in the area, tagging them with the phrase “This is not art.” Sadly, we don’t think this is akin to Poster Boy’s MoMA remix last winter.… Read More

Street Report: ReMapping Art in Athens


Athens isn’t just crumbly old buildings and emptied Olympic stadiums. A new contemporary arts program called ReMap is taking to the streets with guerrilla-style artwork that blurs the lines between public property, commercial art practice, and vandalism.… Read More

Pic of the Day: San Francisco Plays Candyland


America’s most notorious crooked street got a makeover yesterday thanks to Hasbro toy company, in what one onlooker described as “capitalism meets childhood.” The occasion? It’s Candyland’s 60th birthday, so show some respect. Respect in the form of life-size playing board winding down Lombard Street and one hyperrealistic… Read More

Exclusive: Q&A With the Re:Construction Initiative’s Karin Bravin


Lower Manhattan is full of construction projects, and as development slows due to the economic crisis, once temporary eyesores have become permanent fixtures. This is why the the Alliance for Downtown New York came up with The Re:Construction Initiative, a project which recasts construction sites as canvases for public art. They’ve commissioned several projects over the next few years to beautify lower Manhattan, including four new art installations at construction sites which they hope will “bring color, movement and scenic beauty to downtown streetscapes.” Brought in to curate this exciting new project is BravinLee Programs, the brainchild of partners Karin Bravin and John Lee, who run their namesake gallery in Chelsea full time. We spoke with Bravin about this new project, and why she wants to make downtown a little bit prettier to walk… Read More

Exclusive: NYC Sculptor Joan Benefiel’s Hudson River Pilings Project


You’re walking along the Hudson River near the old Pier 42. It’s sunset, and as you look over the water you marvel at a cluster of 8-foot-tall orange figurines, balancing in precarious positions on top of pilings. Some look joyous, others pensive. Some seem like they’re about to fall head first into the water.

New York sculptor Joan Benefiel has been working with permission from the Hudson River Park Trust for the past two years to make this dream into a reality. On June 11th she previewed her Hudson River Pilings Project, displaying the first full-sized sculpture, a series of 24″ scale models mounted on poles to replicate the pilings, and digital mock-ups. We interviewed Benefiel about the unique characteristics of surf board resin, the inspiration behind the project, her take on public art, and how we can all play a part in making the dream a… Read More