Art In The Park: New Digitally-Created Sculptures Fill City Hall Park
Artistic explorations around and over the boundaries between the virtual, digital universe and the actual, physical world are nothing new in museum and gallery exhibitions these days–the entire 2015 Triennial at the New Museum was devoted to the theme–but as the subject of a public art exhibition in a heavily-trafficked park outside of City Hall? Definitely, and refreshingly, unusual. We have the great (and increasingly busy!) Public Art Fund to thank for this latest show, titled Image Objects and featuring specially commissioned sculptural works from seven international artists, all scattered throughout City Hall Park. On display from now into November, Image Objects is certainly worth a look if your regular rounds take you anywhere near this Financial District oasis.
Introducing Public Art Fund's Exhibit, Image Objects
And really, although City Hall Park is not exactly a hot spot for most New Yorkers, surrounded as it is by municipal buildings, the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, and a stretch of Broadway thick with impatient drivers and commercial trucks, once you get inside the space it's surprisingly peaceful and comfortable, with lots of benches, tree shade, and a pretty, historic (forged in 1872) fountain providing white noise to tune out the traffic. Anyway, the Public Art Fund's exhibition, Image Objects, utilizes the space well, with a couple of show-stoppers in the central area by the fountain and several pieces that feel more tucked-away, and almost serendipitous. The best of this latter group is Lothar Hempel's well-executed Frozen, a life-sized photograph, cropped as a silhouette, of a young woman on a pair of skateboards perched up in the trees (well above your normal sight line as you walk down the path), with one of those "loading beach balls" literally spinning in front of her, forever frozen mid-trick.
What You'll See At City Hall Park
When you enter the park from the south the first thing you see is The Character and Shape of Illuminated Things by Amanda Ross-Ho, the centerpiece of which is a classically-styled bust boxed in by a glowing green frame, a real-world manifestation of those facial-recognition "do you want to tag this person?" squares we see all the time in our cameras, social media sites, and smart phones. On the other side of the fountain is Hank Willis Thomas's Liberty, which swaps out the "Lady's" held-high torch with a black man's arm spinning a basketball. I also liked Rockfall by Alice Channer, for which the artist scanned pieces of concrete rubble from London construction sites, then digitally tugged and stretched each image and cast it in concrete, chrome, and steel. So these are rocks, but also not-rocks.
For More Information on City Hall Park's Image Objects
Image Objects will be on display in City Hall Park until November 20. The park is wedged between City Hall itself to the north, Centre Street and Park Row to the east, and Broadway to the west.