Photo of Harriet Tubman Memorial, “Swing Low,” in Harlem via denisbin on Flickr
Harriet Tubman, the fearless abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad who led scores of slaves to freedom in some 13 expeditions, fought for the Union Army during the Civil War, and dedicated herself to Women’s Suffrage later in life, was known as “Moses” in her own time, and is revered in our time as an extraordinary trailblazer. Her status as a groundbreaking African American woman also extends to the now-contentious realm of public statuary and historical commemoration, since Tubman was the first African American woman to be depicted in public sculpture in New York City.
Tubman’s statue, also known as “Swing Low,” was commissioned by the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art program, and designed by the African-American artist Alison Saar. It was dedicated in 2008 at Harlem’s Harriet Tubman Triangle on 122nd Street. In her memorial sculpture, Saar chose to depict Tubman “not so much as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, but as a train itself, an unstoppable locomotive that worked towards improving the lives of slaves for most of her long life.” She told the Parks Department, “I wanted not merely to speak of her courage or illustrate her commitment, but to honor her compassion.”
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Ten bronze statues of inspiring women will be installed in New York City this summer as part of a project that hopes to address the lack of monuments of women in the city. Artists Gillie and Marc, the couple behind Astor Place’s 17-foot-tall rhino sculpture, on Thursday launched “Statues for Equality,” which aims to increase the number of statues of women in NYC by 200 percent. Currently, only five of the city’s 150 statues depict nonfictional women.
Exterior view of The Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of MoMA.
The Museum of Modern Art will be closed throughout the summer as it prepares to open its expanded campus on October 21st. The $400 million expansion, developed by MoMA with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, will add more than 40,000 square feet of gallery spaces and allow the Museum to exhibit more art in new, interdisciplinary ways. The final phase of construction will expand into Jean Nouvel’s new residential tower 53W53 and into the site of the demolished American Folk Art Museum. It will add innovative performance and education spaces, expand the MoMA Design and Bookstore, and add free street-level galleries on the ground floor that will make art more accessible for all.
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Rendering of “Lost and Found” via Snark Park
When Hudson Yards opens on March 15th, one of the many places New Yorkers will get to check out for the first time will be Snark Park, a permanent exhibition space for immersive installations. The space will reimagine “everyday objects and familiar settings,” according to a press release from designers Snarkitecture, “creating unexpected and memorable moments that challenge the mind to reassess visual cues and investigate the commonplace with a fresh curiosity.” If this sounds a little out-there to you, tickets to the first exhibit have just gone on sale, along with some more info. The inaugural showcase titled “Lost and Found” will be a modern interpretation of an enchanted forest, providing “audible, visual, and tactile experiences” within a series of “massive, inhabitable cylinders.”
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6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and businesses of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re going inside the landmarked building of the Art Students League of New York in Midtown. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!
In 1875, a group of young students broke away from the National Academy of Design and founded the Art Students League of New York to pursue a new and more modern method of art education. What started as a small group of rebellious artists in a 20-foot by 30-foot space, turned into an internationally-recognized, landmarked institution, which continues to set the standard for art training today. In its 144th year, the Art Students League’s mission has remained unchanged since its founding: to spread the language of art to anyone interested in learning.
The nonprofit has been located in the American Fine Arts Society Building at 215 West 57th Street since 1892. A designated New York City landmark, the French Renaissance-style building was designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, the architect behind the Plaza Hotel and the Dakota. Ken Park, the director of marketing and communication for the League, recently gave 6sqft a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic building and shared some insight into this storied establishment.
Unnamed by Frank Stella at 50 Hudson Yards; Rendering courtesy of Related-Oxford
Just yesterday Hudson Yards announced that it would officially open on March 15th, and when visitors first visit the mega-development, they’ll now have even more art to peruse. According to a press release from developer Related, the complex has unveiled large-scale contemporary art installations by three renowned artists–Jaume Plensa, Frank Stella, and Joel Shapiro. “I have always been passionate about the impact art, sculpture and design can have on our lives – the memorable experiences they create and the warmth they bring to the places we live and visit,” said Related chairman Stephen Ross.
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Beacons (2018) © Rico Gaston, NYCT 167th Street Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Audre Lorde portrait derived from a photo by Jack Mitchell
A series of bright mosaic murals created by artist Rico Gatson was revealed last week at the 167th Street B, D station in the Bronx, which recently reopened after months of repair work. The artwork, “Beacons,” features eight portraits of figures who have contributed to culture and society and who also have a special connection to the broader New York City community. Figures honored include Gil Scott-Heron, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Reggie Jackson, and Sonia Sotomayor.
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Photo by Tia Richards for 6sqft
The official design of the first statue of non-fictional women in Central Park was unveiled last summer. The statue, a sculpture of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, is set to be dedicated on August 18, 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote nationwide. Terrific, right? Not completely. Because, as the New York Times informs us, some women’s rights advocates feel the statue doesn’t show the whole story. One complaint: Stanton and Anthony were white. Included in the statue’s design, a list of women who aided in the cause contains a significant number of African-American women. Why weren’t any of them chosen to be the face of women’s contributions to social equality?
Gloria Steinem weighs in, this way
Photos courtesy of Alex Ayer/Diversity Pics
Earlier this week The Garment District Alliance unveiled “Iceberg,” an immersive art installation on the Broadway pedestrian plazas along Broadway from West 37th to 38th Streets. Created by ATOMIC3 & Appareil Architecture, in collaboration with Jean-Sébastien Côté and Philippe Jean, the installation allows the public to generate a light and sound show as they pass through the metal arches of the installation, which react to the pace of each participant by turning different colors. But there’s more to it than pretty lights—the installation also carries an environmental message.
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Photo: Brett Beyer
The Shed, New York City’s first arts center dedicated to presenting new performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture works, has set an opening date of April 5, 2019, the organization’s Artistic Director and CEO Alex Poots announced today. The city’s newest arts center on Manhattan’s west side has also announced four additional opening season commissions and the honorary naming of its building and two major spaces in recognition of visionary supporters of the project in addition to information about operating hours and tickets.
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