“A work of art doesn’t have to be explained. If you do not have any feeling about this, I cannot explain it to you. If this doesn’t touch you, I have failed.” —Louise Bourgeois

Looking back at Louise Bourgeois’s Helping Hands (1993–96), relocated from Chicago’s Jane Addams Memorial Park to Chicago Women’s Park in 2011, and featured in Art21’s 2001 Identity episode.

WATCH: Louise Bourgeois in Identity [available in the U.S. only] | Additional videos

IMAGES: Production stills from the Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 1 episode, Identity, 2001. © Art21, Inc. 2001.

Meet Claire Falkenstein: a sculptor whose monumental works in metal and glass grace public spaces all over Southern California. She once described one of her works (a piece for the phys ed building at Cal State Fullerton) as “metallic joy.”

Claire Falkenstein with one of her sculptures, ca. 1946 / unidentified photographer. Claire Falkenstein papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


Historypin of the Week
Casey Riordan Millard’s Shark Girl, 2013
Location: Canalside Buffalo

Today is Shark Girl’s Buffalo birthday! Visit her at Canalside and share your photos with #SharkGirlBuffaloBday. Shark Girl is the absurd, hilarious, and bittersweet creation of the artist Casey Riordan Millard. While Shark Girl might appear sorrowful or lonely, there is also a comic element to this “fish out of water.” Here, in Millard’s first public sculpture, Shark Girl patiently waits, legs daintily crossed, hands folded, for a companion to join her. 

Appearing in nearly all of Millard’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures, Shark Girl was originally conceived as the artist reflected upon the existential conundrums of life, love, family, and loss. Shark Girl can be seen as Millard’s diversionary tactic or as her mechanism for confronting the challenges of contemporary life. Shark Girl’s yearnings and desires for normalcy and acceptance trigger equal parts laughter and empathy. The boulder upon which she sits provides viewers with the opportunity to bring the work to life by taking a seat and initiating a friendship with this bizarre half-shark, half-girl.  

This work is part of the Public Art Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and a product of the Public Art Initiative, an innovative partnership between the Albright-Knox and Erie County established in 2013 to enhance our shared sense of place and cultural identity in the urban and suburban landscapes of Western New York. The city of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The Initiative promotes education about the arts through its Collection, related programming, and creative partnerships.  

About the artist: Casey Riordan Millard earned her BFA from Ohio University in 1994. Her work can be found in numerous public and private collections, including those of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the University of Cincinnati, and Ohio University. 

Casey Riordan Millard (American, born 1973). Shark Girl, 2013. Painted fiberglass; 60 x 60 x 36 inches (152.4 x 152.4 x 91.4 cm). Public Art Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and Product of the Public Art Initiative partnership with Erie County and the City of Buffalo, 2014. © 2013 Casey Riordan Millard. Photographs by Tom Loonan. 


Brooklyn-based artist Tom Otterness creates whimsical bronze sculptures that double as awesome colossal playgrounds. Giant figures have ladders and slides built into their bodies. Many of them are surrounded by smaller sculptures of animals that are happily waiting to be climbed on. Otterness has been commissioned to create sculptures for parks, plazas, airports, libraries, museums, and a variety of other locations around the US and the world.

“I try to make work that speaks a common language that people understand, a visual language that doesn’t intimidate them,” says the artist. By casting each sculpture in the same cartoonish, jolly style, Otterness allows them to communicate universal ideas of fun and play that anyone can understand.

Visit Tom Otterness’ website to check out more of his wonderful interactive artwork.

[via Faith is Torment and My Modern Metropolis]

Happy birthday to Robert Indiana, the artist behind the iconic “LOVE” sculpture that stands near Philadelphia’s City Hall. Thanks to Indiana’s work, the location is famously (and affectionately) known as “Love Park.” How many of you have had your picture taken next to this beloved artwork?

Click here to explore another work from the artist, a screenprint called “Love Cross.”

Happy birthday Beethoven!

Much as no one actually knows on what day Shakespeare was born, the exact date of Beethoven’s birth has also been lost to the sands of time. But we do know on what day he was baptized, December 17, 1770. At this time, a child was generally baptized the day after his birth, and so it is assumed that the great composer was born in Bonn on this date 244 years ago. 

Beethoven is celebrated in Central Park with this lovely bust on the Mall at the Concert Grounds. The bust was donated to the Park by the German-American Choir Society–a group that frequently performed here–in 1884. The sculpture, which also includes a personification of the Genius of Music, stands on the location of the old cast iron bandstand that was demolished in the 1920s. The bandstand was replaced by the present Naumburg Bandshell in 1923, which is located where Beethoven once stood. There is a nearly identical sculpture of the much beloved composer in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The sculpture is cared for by Central Park Conservancy’s conservation team and was repatinated in 1992 to safeguard it from the elements.


Things To See and Do: The Arts

Central Park is a work of art that contains many additional works of art, as well as performance spaces, both official and unofficial. Monuments celebrate poets, composers, writers, singers, and the one and only Bard. 

Concerts, plays, recitals, they all take place within the Park’s 843-acres. Our events calendar, in addition to our new web feature, Things to See and Do, can help you find whatever you’re looking for ahead of time. Once you’re in the Park our app will tell you everything you need to know!

Click on the images to learn more!