New York City’s parks department will bring art installations to 10 designated parks across the five boroughs this June. As part of “Art in the Parks: UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Exhibit,” public art will be displayed in parks that currently lack cultural programming. Japanese clothing company UNIQLO, as the initiative’s sponsor, will give grants worth $10,000 to 10 emerging artists for the installations. The city’s Art in the Parks program began in 1967 and is responsible for bringing over 2,000 public pieces of art to the city’s parks.
1. Sitting Together by Dionisio Cortes Ortega
Joyce Kilmer Park, 955 Walton Avenue, Bronx
The Sitting Together installation will feature sculptures set up like the Bronx Supreme Courthouse, which sits next to Joyce Kilmer Park. The artist Dionisio Cortes Ortega plans to place plaintiff and defendant sculptures within modified witness stands to “encourage empathy and understanding, and redefine how we think of conflict resolution,” according to the Parks website. Different colors and directions of the sculptures will reflect the severity of the conflicts.
2. I’m So Happy You’re Here by Cara Lynch
Virginia Park, 1878 Cross Bronx Expressway, the Bronx
Cara Lynch’s installation planned for Virginia Park looks at the tension between private and public space. The design’s unique patterns emulate parquet, a geometric type of flooring usually recognized as a symbol of affluence. The artist’s work challenges notions of value, accessibility, destination and origin.
3. Adorn Me by Tanda Francis
Fort Greene Park, Washington Park Street, Brooklyn
Coming to Fort Greene Park this June, Tanda Francis’ Adorn Me looks at African presence in public space as a “powerful force of beauty and cultural relevance.” The installation will include both African sculptural tradition, as well as Victorian and colonial details. Francis’ work aims to bring attention to the underrepresentation of African art in public artwork. She focuses on African female heads and masks as well as ancient customs.
4. (x)ofmanychildren by Roberto Visani
Herbert Von King Park, 670 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
Inspired by the forced migration and relocation of African people and culture in the Americas, Roberto Visani’s piece features two figures leaning against one another. The installation symbolizes togetherness and support.
5. I am [email protected] Jefferson Park by Harumi Ori
Thomas Jefferson Park, 113 Street and 1st Avenue, Manhattan
Harumi Ori will use photographs taken of people at the park as inspiration for her artwork. She will fold and sew orange industrial mesh to create 3D snapshots of the park. The layered folds of the figures aim to make the installation more convincing. The public artwork will help celebrate the diversity of the community.
6. Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S. by Karla & James Murray
Seward Park, Essex Street, Manhattan
Thanks to husband-and-wife team Karla and James Murray, Seward Park will get a wood-frame structure with nearly life-size images of Lower East Side businesses that have shuttered. These include four mom-and-pop stores, including a coffee shop, a vintage store, a newsstand and a bodega. The photographers first published a book about the disappearance of small businesses in NYC called “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” nearly a decade ago, and have since published two follow-ups.
The duo told 6sqft: “Our goal in creating this sculptural storefront installation is to help raise awareness of the plight of ‘mom-and-pop’ businesses in our community and the positive impact they have on the fabric and texture of their surrounding neighborhood.”
7. Islands of the Unisphere by Zaq Landsberg
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
As an ode to Queens’ nickname as the “World’s Borough,” Zaq Landsberg will recreate several of the iconic Unisphere’s islands from various continents and place them together to form a “global archipelago.” Visitors of Flushing Meadows Corona Park will be able to sit, play and use the installation as a stage. While they’ll be recognizable by shape, none of the continents will have labels or borders.
8. Absent Monuments by Rose DeSiano
Rufus King Park, 150-29 Jamaica Avenue, Queens
Rose DeSiano will bring a reflective installation to Jamaica this summer, with several mirrored obelisks made of stone plinths with blue and white Dutch Delft photographic tiles. The tiles will display the history of King Park as well as designs inspired by Native American pattern work. DeSiano’s work examines Native American history as well as the history of cultural displacement in Queens.
9. The Pencil Museum by Jackie Mock
Faber Park, Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
Jackie Mock’s Pencil Museum quite literally pays homage to NYC’s former pencil factory, the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, the first of its kind to open in the United States. The installation includes several display cases with antique pencils and writing instruments. Faber Park is the former site of the home of Johann Eberhard Faber aka the “Pencil King of Staten Island” and the exhibit examines this piece of lesser-known NYC history.
10. Stick Stump & The Lawn Lumps by Adam Frezza & Terri Chiao
Tappen Park, Bay Street, Staten Island
Collaborative artists, Adam Freza and Terri Chiao, will bring five unique sculptures to Tappen Park. The interactive installation provides a fun place to play, read, and interact with one another. According to the parks department, the artists “aim for the works to invite viewers to engage with the art as they might engage with nature.”
Find further information about Art in the Parks 2018 and learn more about the artists and their work here.
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