public art new york city


Crack is Wack X 1986

This mural on a handball court at 128th Street and 2nd Avenue in East Harlem was inspired by the crack epidemic and its effect on New York City. It was created as a warning and was initially executed independently without permission. Facing possible jail time the mural caught the attention of the NY Post which ran an article on it and Haring gained the public’s support. He ended up being fined only $100. The mural was soon vandalized so a worker in the Parks Department painted over it without permission. Haring was then asked to paint the mural again. The mural was immediately put under the protection and jurisdiction of the City Department of Parks and still exists.


In New York City, art is just around the corner. Public art is a part of the cultural landscape in New York. During your morning commute, find works from Pace artists Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Elizabeth Murray, Louise Nevelson, and Sol LeWitt.

Images: Alexander Calder, Saurien, 1975; Jean Dubuffet, Group de Quartrus Arbres, 1969; Louise Nevelson, Shadows and Flags,1977; Sol LeWitt, Whirls and Twirls, 2004; Elizabeth Murray, Blooming, 1996. 


For $10, New York City Students See ‘Hamilton’ and Rap for Lin-Manuel Miranda (NYT)

The 1,300 students who saw “Hamilton” on Wednesday, most of them 11th graders enrolled in classes about American history, are the first of 20,000 who are to see the musical under a program sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. The program, which focuses on students in schools with high percentages of low-income families, is intended to make it possible for younger and more diverse audiences to see a show for which tickets have become hugely expensive and difficult to obtain.

“I hope I can be inspired and motivated,” Yeliz Sezgin, a 15-year-old junior at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, said as the daylong events, which included a question-and-answer session with the cast, began. Ms. Sezgin designed a T-shirt for the 159 Fort Hamilton students, with her school’s mascot, a tiger, posed with the upstretched arm of the musical’s logo.Photo 

In preparing to attend the show, Ms. Sezgin and her classmates had read love letters between Alexander and his wife, Eliza, and she compared them to text messages; she said she was also impressed by the realization that Mr. Miranda spent years developing the musical: “He didn’t know what this would be, and yet he kept at it.”

After seeing the show, some students said they were especially struck by the cast, which features Hispanic and black actors playing the founding fathers. “I was thinking about the diversity while I was watching it, with all this controversy in the entertainment industry,” said Amber Montalvo, a 17-year-old student at the High School for Media and Communications in Manhattan. “It’s inspiring.”

Kaye Houlihan, the principal of Fort Hamilton, said her school had an annual unit on Hamilton, because of its name, but had intensified its study in anticipation of seeing the show. She said the exercise of asking students to produce skits — of two minutes or less related to the history — had prompted various takes on the material, including girls exploring neglected women of the era.

Some students said reading the history had made them more curious to understand how the musical was conceived. “I want to know why Burr killed Hamilton,” said Raekwon Edwards, a 17-year-old junior at Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy. His schoolmate Valentin Dinaj, 16, said, “I want to see how they bring history alive.

The students were, not surprisingly, an extraordinarily enthusiastic audience. They shouted “I love you” at Mr. Miranda. They cheered for belted notes, laughed at sexual innuendo, cheered trash talk (“Daddy’s calling!,” a dig at Hamilton’s dependence on President Washington, and “We know who’s really doing the planting,” a jab at the South’s dependence on slavery, drew particularly loud reactions) and gasped at the shooting death of Hamilton’s son Philip.

Two of the cast members who addressed the students, Mr. Miranda and Anthony Ramos, are alumni of the New York public schools. Mr. Ramos said that by participating in school musicals, as well as sports, he was able to “find that part of me that I didn’t even know I had.” And he urged the school officials present to do more for arts education. “The public school system has neglected the arts a little bit,” Mr. Ramos said. “Y’all think you don’t have the money — you better find it.” 

How to Work Better - SMILE! Good advice from Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s iconic mural created in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, now on view on Houston Street in New York City.

Thanks Anon!

Happy Birthday to Creative Time collaborator Jenny Holzer!

In 2004, internationally acclaimed artist Jenny Holzer returned to New York City to launch For New York City: Planes and Projections, her first public art project in the city in over a decade. The two-part project—in the sky and on public landmarks—partially consisted of a squadron of airplanes that flew in succession along the Hudson River pulling banners emblazoned with texts, including Holzer’s Truisms and a quote from Abraham Lincoln.

The nighttime projections featured xenon poetry, in which the words of such acclaimed poets as Wislawa Szymborska, Yehuda Amichai, and Henri Cole were scrolled over New York sites—for instance, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain, The Cooper Union, and New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania—illuminating them with ideas of poignant beauty.

Jenny Holzer’s For the City continued the series of light projections Holzer present with Creative Time in fall 2004. The moving projections, akin to credits scrolling at the end of a film, were installed at the Rockefeller Center and The New York Public Library, where poems by Wisława Szymborska, Yehuda Amichai, Henri Cole, Mahmoud Darwish, and other celebrated writers moved across the nighttime facades of landmark buildings, encompassing the reader with the power of language to educate and console.Additionally, at New York University’s Bobst Library, Holzer projected declassified government documents, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act. Holzer’s presentation of these documents suggested America’s struggle to achieve an equitable balance between transparency and secrecy, public and private.