Artist: Leslie Thornton
Artwork: Binocular Menagerie
Location: Times Square
Date: Through May 31
Leslie Thornton’s spectacular, kaleidoscopic images of wild animals will fill 15 of Times Square’s massive video screens between 11:57 PM and midnight throughout May. Part of Times Square Arts’s “Midnight Moment” series, the film simulates the act of spotting an exotic creature—a salmon-pink flamingo, a pensive white owl, or a goofy gray baboon—through a pair of tricked-out binoculars. In each scene, she presents two spherical, side-by-side pictures—on the left, a sharply focused nature shot, and on the right, a psychedelic manipulation of the left image.
During his many trips to Tibet, Zhang Huan collected disembodied pieces of Buddhist figures—fingers, faces, legs, feet—that were destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In an effort to reclaim these once-whole artifacts, the Chinese artist contorted and reassembled Buddha’s parts to create new icons of his own. Storm King’s current exhibition “Zhang Huan: Evoking Tradition” features more than 25 of these fragmented works, including his colossal steel and copper Three Legged Buddha (2007).
Evoking the energy and fun of a Sunday afternoon dance at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, Faith Ringgold’s 1986 story quilt Groovin High has been reconfigured into a grand billboard on 10th Avenue. The piece depicts a crowd of spirited dancers swirling and swaying to the music, echoing the frenetic vibrancy that surrounds the High Line.
Using bows of rigid steel and sleek two-way mirrored glass, American artist Dan Graham created a futuristic labyrinth for the Met’s rooftop. The structure is planted on grassy terrain and surrounded by rows of hedges and walls of ivy—which were engineered by Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt—as if the space were an extension of the neighboring Central Park. Graham’s curved mirrors lengthen and distort the images they reflect—the landscaping, the cityscape, and, of course, the visitors—providing a fun-house view of the Met’s panoramic scenery. Did someone say, “art selfie?”
Using X-rayed images of the Statue of Liberty that were taken for security purposes after September 11, Conceptual artist Danh Vo constructed 250 scale replicas of parts of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s original landmark. Though these works are typically presented in indoor spaces, a selection of the models—which include Lady Liberty’s ear, pieces of her dress, a ray from her crown, and a wisp of her hair—will be on view in Brooklyn Bridge Park and City Hall Park beginning May 17. Sneakily planted amidst greenery, the shiny copper fragments pop out like colored Easter eggs. We the People is presented by the Public Art Fund.
Artist: Žilvinas Kempinas
Location: Socrates Sculpture Park
Date: May 11 Through August 3
The largest work to ever be installed in Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park, Žilvinas Kempinas’s Scarecrow will encapsulate viewers and alter their perception of the surrounding landscape. The site-specific installation will consist of mirrored, stainless-steel poles that raise a kinetic web of silver Mylar ribbons overhead. Each element of the sculpture will change throughout the day as the light diminishes and the wind intensifies.
Four cheeky works by Miami-based sculptor Mark Handforth will be on view on Governors Island this summer. Among them will be his towering construction Painted Phone, which will be situated at the entrance to the island’s 30 newly landscaped acres of park. Consisting of a slender bronze tree whose truncated branches cradle a giant, sky-blue telephone receiver, Handforth’s jocular structure is like a totem pole for the digital age.
Inspired by Roman ruins and Rococo faux-ruin structures called follies, Rachel Feinstein’s three massive, illusionistic constructions will go on view next week in Madison Square Park. Colored white to resemble the elaborate sugar sculptures used to dress tables at royal weddings, these architectural confections include a house precariously perched on a craggy cliff, a grottolike hut, and a flying ship. “The whole thing is like a giant tabletop,” says Feinstein. “Like you’re a king looking down at his table.”
As part of the Queens Museum’s summer exhibition “Bringing the World into the World,” Chris Burden’s miniscule models of the solar system will be placed in various locations throughout the borough. The sun, a 13-inch wooden ball, will be installed in the museum’s massive panorama model of the city, and the planets, which will be represented by petite ball bearings, will be relocated according to their distance from the sun in the actual solar system. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, for example, will stay within the museum because they are the closest planets to the sun. The outer planets will be housed in locales that include the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Zoo. The museum will offer a map featuring the locations of all of Burden’s planets.