Ugo Rondinone, Human Nature, Rockefeller Center, 2013. Presented by Nespresso, Organized by Tishman Speyer and Public Art Fund. Photograph by James Ewing. Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY
The first pieces of public art began came along in 1967, at a time when the city — as many other cities at the time — was struggling with crime and budget deficits.
“Mayor John Lindsay was keen on the idea of supporting the arts, supporting creative programming as a way of maintaining New York’s sense of excitement and livability and attractiveness at a time when cities are teetering on the brink,” explains Lilly Tuttle, the curator of Art in the Open, a sprawling retrospective of 50 years of public art now open at the Museum of the City of New York.