Must-See Public Art Installations in NYC, July 2014 (2024)

Published July 2024

This month, public art in New York City appears in the subway, in unused rooms that have been closed to the public for decades, and at famous landmarks like Rockefeller Center. Check out the mosaic murals, giant sculptures, and interactive works on display in July!

1. Jackie Chang and Chloë Bass Mosaics at Metropolitan Av/Lorimer St Station

MTA Arts & Design revealed the latest subway mosaics at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Av/Lorimer St Station (G,L). Artist Jacke Chang expanded on her existing work inside the station from 2000,“Signs of Life,” by adding two new compositions. Her work draws inspiration from traditional Chinese writing and is composed of text and images. The two new pieces make use of both glass mosaic tiles and marble. Along with these new additions, two existing panels were refabricated and relocated within the station to create a complete experience as commuters travel through.

In Personal Choice #5 at Lorimer Street, Chloë Bass also blends images with text. These mosaics depict cropped images found in the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection. The images capture three diverse groups of Brooklynites from the surrounding area in three different decades, the 1960s, 1990s, and 2000s. By showing different forms of touch and space, they exemplify the inherent intimacy and anonymity of public life in New York City. Poetic phrases written by Bass are rendered in cut metal and placed atop the images.

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2. Pool Party at Rockefeller Center

New Yorkers are invited to relive their summer childhood memories at Joel Mesler’slatest installation at The Rink at Rockefeller Center, Pool Party. A large vinyl covering printed with Mesler’s signature water motif will transform the iconic rink into a “pool” filled with sculptural floaties and beach balls. The pool party runs through July 21st and is on view in conjunction with Rockefeller Center’sSummer at The Rinkprogramming. All summer long visitors can take part in outdoor dining, movie nights, an arcade, live music, and more. On July 2nd, Mesler will also lead an Art Sundae children’s workshop where kids can help the artist with a new public art project. This workshop is free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome.

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3. Sean Scully: Broadway Shuffle Along Broadway

Seven large-scale outdoor sculptures are coming to the Broadway malls of Upper Manhattan this summer! Artist Sean Scully will install various colorful creations in the malls from Lincoln Center to Washington Heights. Broadway Shuffle is the first exhibition in the United States to focus exclusively on Scully’s sculpture work. Two of the sculptures will be made specifically for the Broadway exhibit. Each piece will be placed in a meaningful way. For example, one sculpture, titled “Stack Blues (In honor of Arthur Danto),” will sit next to Columbia University where the late art critic and philosophy professor taught. Presented by the Broadway Mall Association, in partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program and Lisson Gallery, with assistance from the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District, the exhibition will be on view until March 2025.

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4. Ex-Femina at Westbeth Artists Housing

Three previously unused spaces within Westbeth Artists Housing—a former Synagogue space, a former sculpture studio, and a former child care center—have been reactivated by The Art Takeover. Each space is now open to the public for the first time in decades. When visiting the new galleries, visitors will notice unique architectural features like undulating ceilings, a feature leftover from the complex’s days as Bell Laboratories. Guests can explore three different exhibitions in these new-old spaces: Ex-Femina inside the former childcare center, There is a crack in everything within the former Synagogue space, andThere she lay in the former studio. Learn more about each exhibition here!

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5. ArtBridge Murals at the South Street Seaport

Students at the Peck Slip School and other community volunteers helped artist Blanka Amezkua hand paint a 220-foot mural in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Titled My Joy/Your Joy, the mural brings color to a construction shed on Peck Slip. Its design was created in collaboration with fifth graders at Peck Slip School (PS 343) who learned about traditional Mexican paper-cutting techniques from Amezkua. Designs cut out by the fifth graders were incorporated into the finished mural. Produced by ArtBridge in partnership with the Seaport, Amezkua’s mural is part of a 3-artist exhibition that surrounds a construction site at the intersection of Pearl St., Peck Slip, and Beekman St. You can see art by Ebony Bolt on Pearl Street and Steve Ellis on Beekman Street.

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6. Hermes Bronze Monumental, 2023 at the Lotte New York Palace

Self-taught artist Roman Feral blends nature and luxury fashion in his monumental bronze sculptures. A group of butterflies in flight (which is called a kaleidoscope!) is a signature feature of his work. In Hermes Bronze Monumental, 2023, now on display in the Lotte New York Palace Hotel courtyard, a kaleidoscope of butterflies burst from the top of a Birkin bag. The iconic bag is recreated with meticulous detail. The entire work is crafted with nearly 70 pounds of bronze and took over 90 hours to hand polish. It will be on view until September.

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7. Boundary Layer at Materials For the Arts, Queens

In Boundary Layer, a solo exhibition by MFTA Artist-in-ResidenceKate Rusek, trash becomes art. Rusek takes materials that are typically discarded, likealuminum blinds, mascara wands, and microplastic dust, and transforms those materials into maximalist organic structures. These pieces make the viewer contemplate what we consider natural and unnatural. Though constructed with manmade materials, the structures take on the forms of living arthropod-like creatures. Rusek’s passion for science is evident in her artistic work. “Boundary layer,” is an ecological term for “the fluid space that interacts with a surface such as water or moving air which bears optimal conditions for life to thrive.” The exhibit will be on view at Materials for the Arts through August 2, 2024. The MFTA Gallery welcomes visitors Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Admission to this exhibition is free and open to the public.

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8. The Wild Couch Party in the Financial District

There’s an unusual party happening in Manhattan’sFinancial Districtat Fosun Plaza! Just outside 28 Liberty Tower, you can grab a seat next to an elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, and more endangered animals as they enjoy cake, coffee, and donuts on the world’s largest bronze couch. This celebratory menagerie, titledThe Wild Couch Party,was created by British and Australian artists, Gillie and Marc, and will be on view through May 2025.

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9. Ouranos, Above Us Only Sky and Anyplace, Anytime, Anywhere at Grand Central Madison

The giant screens at Grand Central Madison will be filled with colorful new digital works by Monika Bravo and Yehwan Song this month. In Ouranos, Above Us Only Sky, Bravo creates a vibrant futuristic cityscape out of hand-colored, collaged artwork. In Song’s Anyplace, Anytime, Anywhere digital icons are captured in motion as they bounce towards the viewer. At the center of the image, these icons form a word. You can catch these works displayed at two-minute intervals across five monumental LED screens near the 47th Street entrance to Grand Central Madison.

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10. Memory and Inheritance at the Museum at Eldridge Street

Award-winning artist Tobi Kahn’s art returns to New York in his first solo New York City show in ten years! In Memory and Inheritance, Kahn contemplates ritual, tradition, and memory, both personal and collective. The exhibit features 48 objects, including paintings and ceremonial objects thoughtfully arranged throughout the historic synagogue home of the Museum at Eldridge Street. On July 16th, join Kahn for an artist-led tour of his exhibit with Untapped New York Insiders! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today with promo code JOINUS and get your first month free! The Eldridge Street exhibit is on view through November 10, 2024.

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Must-See Public Art Installations in NYC, July 2014 (2024)

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