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2019 Exhibitions

2019 Exhibitions

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Public Art Fund announces four solo exhibitions that anchor its upcoming 2019 season featuring Iranian-born, Minneapolis-based Siah Armajani; internationally renowned Dutch-born Mark Manders; Cuban-born, New York-based Carmen Herrera; and the seminal Chicago-based Pope.L. The season begins on February 20 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with the unveiling of Siah Armajani’s Bridge Over Tree (1970), the first and only presentation of this iconic, interactive sculpture since its original installation more than fifty years ago. A pivotal work in the artist’s six-decade career, the bridge rises to a peak to accommodate a lone tree planted beneath it, creating a structure more conceptually-driven than functional. Public Art Fund’s presentation coincides with Armajani’s career-spanning survey Siah Armajani: Follow This Line at The Met Breuer, New York, and is the sole free, outdoor component of the traveling retrospective. Opening on March 6 is Mark Manders’ Tilted Head, a colossal new commission that brings the artist’s highly distinctive style to the southeast entrance to Central Park. Here, park-goers will encounter a monumental androgynous bronze head, seemingly made of drying moldable clay, incomplete and revealing the cracks of time. Creating an intriguing narrative, the universality of the image is enhanced by the tranquility of the classical face, which is accompanied by remnants of objects that appear left behind as if the sculpture was abandoned in the studio, frozen in time. On July 11, 103-year-old artist Carmen Herrera will enliven City Hall Park with a series of brightly colored, monumental geometric sculptures in Estructuras Monumentales. This exhibition is the first major outdoor presentation of her three-dimensional works. A rare break from the two-dimensional plane of the canvas that she is most known for today, the exhibition features five sculptures, three of which have never been seen, based on historic designs from her on-going Estructuras series. In October, Public Art Fund, together with the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art, will present three complementary exhibitions titled Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration. The exhibitions will offer the public an unparalleled opportunity to engage with some of the artist’s most pressing questions about American society. As part of this important multi-institutional show, Public Art Fund will unveil a new performative work inspired by Pope.L’s iconic crawls. Titled Conquest, the commission will be the largest and most ambitious in this ongoing set of works, exploring the potential and power of collective action.

“These four powerful and rigorous voices, each highly distinctive, resonate for our moment in compelling ways,” says Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “Born in four different countries (Cuba, Iran, USA, Netherlands), they also represent four different generations, from the global modernist abstraction of Carmen Herrera’s monochromatic forms to the cryptic personal poetry of Mark Manders’ figural bronze. Combined with the acute cultural sensitivity and social engagement in the work of both Siah Armajani and Pope.L, this season demonstrates the indispensable place of art in our public sphere.”

Image Gallery

SIAH ARMAJANI: BRIDGE OVER TREE

Opening February 20
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn


This February, Public Art Fund will present a re-staging of Siah Armajani’s (b. 1939 Tehran, Iran) seminal public art installation, Bridge Over Tree (1970). First exhibited as a temporary installation at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis nearly fifty years ago, this is the first time this iconic and influential work will be presented since 1970. At the time, the hybrid conjunction of sculpture and architecture was a radical proposition, revealing the expressiveness of architecture and the potential to rethink boundaries between artistic forms. Armajani’s career has focused on sculptural works that blur the lines between art and architecture, often in the form of outdoor works, including bridges, gardens, and structures. Bridge Over Tree consists of a 96-foot-long walkway with open, trussed sides and a shingled roof, with a set of stairs at the midpoint that climb and descend over a small evergreen tree. Sited on the Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn at Brooklyn Bridge Park between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, Bridge Over Tree is one of the preeminent examples of the artist’s ability to redeploy architectural form and function in the context of politically and poetically resonant sculptural installations. Coinciding with his career-spanning survey Siah Armajani: Follow This Line at The Met Breuer, New York, on view February 20 through June 2, 2019, Public Art Fund’s exhibition will be the sole outdoor component featured in Armajani’s museum retrospective, bringing the full scope of the artist’s practice to New York City for the first time.

Siah Armajani: Bridge Over Tree is curated by Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume.


MARK MANDERS: TILTED HEAD

Opening March 6
Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park (60th Street & 5th Avenue)


Debuting this March, Tilted Head is acclaimed Dutch artist Mark Manders’ (b.1968 Volkel, the Netherlands) largest single cast bronze sculpture to date. Conceived specifically for Doris C. Freedman Plaza at the southeast entrance to Central Park, the silent and peaceful new commission is more than thirteen feet tall and consists of a monumental androgynous human head in classical repose. Reminiscent of Constantin Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse sculptures, the archetypally minimalist head is mysteriously incomplete, propped up by cast chairs and a large suitcase, as if improvised and abandoned in the studio. As with many of Manders’ works, he presents us with a trompe l’oeil effect; cracks and fissures imply the process of drying unfired clay, yet the work has been meticulously transformed by the artist and is in fact made of bronze.

Manders’ multidisciplinary practice blurs the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, drawing and installation, often reflecting an ongoing interest in creating a metaphorical self-portrait, using language and objects as a way to explore the potential of narrative and meaning. His subject matter often relates to classical genres: human figures that resemble Ancient (Egyptian) sculpture in their stylized perfection or busts that evoke the idealized form of a renaissance marble. Throughout his practice, Manders has continued to develop a series of tilted head sculptures, creating works in different sizes, exploring the effects of scale shifts on the viewer. With Tilted Head, tensions are evident throughout, creating a balanced poetic reality. Serenity is met with the gravity of aging cracks, representation is inhabited by abstraction, and timelessness and specificity meet, allowing for the audience to construct their own narrative or conclusions about the human form.

Mark Manders: Tilted Head is curated by Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume.

CARMEN HERRERA: ESTRUCTURAS MONUMENTALES

Opening July 11
City Hall Park, Lower Manhattan


In July, Public Art Fund will present Estructuras Monumentales, the first major exhibition of outdoor sculptures by the Cuban-born, New York-based artist Carmen Herrera (b. 1915, Havana, Cuba) featuring five large-scale sculptures. Known for her vibrant, abstract geometric paintings, Herrera began conceiving her Estructuras series—the physical manifestation of her painted forms in three dimensions—in the late 1960s. The resulting aluminum structures feature strong lines and forms, with bold monochromatic colors at a monumental scale that complement the civic environment. Estructuras Monumentales will feature three newly-realized sculptures based on historic designs and two sculptures never before seen in the U.S., including Angulo Rojo (2017), the first Estructura she has designed in more than three decades, and Pavanne (1967/2017), originally conceived as a memorial to Herrera’s brother. On view at City Hall Park, the sculptures, in vivid shades of red, blue, green, and yellow, will be sited throughout the park’s groves and pathways, offering a powerful yet reflective experience for the public, and evoking both a sense of order and tranquility with dynamic shapes and geometric balance. The exhibition marks a significant moment in the artist’s long and celebrated career, and brings the full breadth of her work in three dimensions to the public for the first time.

Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales is curated by Public Art Fund Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer.

POPE.L: INSTIGATION, ASPIRATION, PERSPIRATION

Opening October/November 2019
For almost four decades, Pope.L (b. 1955, Newark, NJ) has challenged us to confront some of the most pressing questions about American society as well as about the very nature of art. Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration is a trio of complementary exhibitions organized by Public Art Fund, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Modern Art that address his boundary-breaking practice. Utilizing both public and private spaces, the three exhibitions will address issues and themes ranging from language and gender, to race, social struggle, and community. Featuring a broad range of works from the artist’s oeuvre, Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration will include a major new performance through the streets of New York City, seminal early works, as well as a monumental new installation.

Public Art Fund will present the free outdoor component of this three-institution season of Pope.L’s work. The commission, titled Conquest, is inspired by his iconic crawls, in which the artist dragged his body across the urban landscape in more than 30 iterations. The most significant of these works have been sited on the streets of New York City, beginning with his Times Square Crawl (1978), and followed by Tompkins Square Crawl (1991) and The Great White Way, 22 Miles, 9 Years, 1 Street (2001–2009), for which Pope.L wore a Superman costume with a skateboard strapped to his back while making the grueling journey down the full length of Broadway. The artist has always seen the potential for these works to become a public activation, and Public Art Fund's presentation will be his most ambitious yet, putting on full display the power of collective action. The location of this exhibition will be announced in 2019. Pope.L: Conquest is curated by Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume.

For his Whitney presentation, on the occasion of Pope.L’s receipt of the 2017 Bucksbaum Award, the artist expands upon his ongoing exploration and use of water by creating a new installation entitled Choir that is inspired by the fountain, the public arena, and John Cage’s conception of music and sound. Organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Curator, with Ambika Trasi, curatorial assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art.

The MoMA presentation will focus on thirteen early landmark performances, spanning from 1978-2001, that helped define Pope.L's career and are representative of the artist’s core concerns. Accompanied by a catalogue, the exhibition will explore the thirteen performances through a combination of archival videos, photographs, ephemera, sculptural elements, and live actions. The MoMA presentation is organized by Stuart Comer, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, with Danielle A. Jackson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art.

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