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Isa Genzken: Two Orchids, Central Park | © Allison Meier/Flickr
Isa Genzken: Two Orchids, Central Park | © Allison Meier/Flickr

9 Art Installations To Catch In NYC This Summer

Picture of Elena Calvo
Updated: 18 December 2016
New York City offers a rich and varied roster of visual art throughout the five boroughs, but it’s not all confined to conventional museum and gallery spaces. From skilled graffiti to large-scale installations, NYC is a fantastic place to find alternative works, many of which are public. We profile nine art installations to catch across NYC this summer.

The Dance, DB Lampman

Composed of five ‘dancing’ figures made of welded steel and translucent exterior grade fabric, The Dance is a temporary public art installation in Tappan Park on Staten Island. The Dance was installed in September 2014 after Hurricane Sandy, and the interconnectedness of the figures symbolizes the unity and strength of the local community after enduring common hardship and loss. While the installation is a sight to behold during the day, it’s even more spectacular at night when it’s illuminated by colored LED lights on the steel framework.

Conference House Park, Pittsville Street, Staten Island, NY, USA +1 212 639 9675

Suspect Terrain, Heide Fasnacht

Socrates Sculpture Park is the temporary home of Heide Fasnacht’s arresting piece, titled Suspect Terrain. This particular work ‘details the creation and aftermath of a sinkhole’, depicting a house being swallowed by a spiral of painted plywood designed to look like cement, asphalt, and rock substrate. This work was inspired by massive sinkholes that devastated the Shenzhen region of China and Guatemala City in 2013 and 2010, respectively. Suspect Terrain is a sight to behold, as it is both chaotic and silent, simultaneously.

Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Queens, NY, USA +1 718 956 1819

Understanding, Martin Creed

Martin Creed’s 50 foot-tall installation titled Understanding spells the name of the work in large, neon letters. Situated in Brooklyn Bridge Park until October 23, 2016, Understanding plays on its surrounding environment – ‘Times Square marquees, roadside signs, and advertising logos’ – as well as a fundamental conceptual necessity between humans. The installation rotates 360 degrees to reach every onlooker in some way.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 222 9939

Two Orchids, Isa Genzken

This large-scale sculptural installation of two realistic orchids stands at the foot of Central Park South on 59th Street at the park’s 5th Avenue entrance. Two Orchids, by famed German artist Isa Genzken, depicts two exotic flowers that were once ‘the chosen ornaments of royalty.’ Now a common household adornment, these flowers may appear to be of random significance; however, they were precisely what Genzken felt was missing from the panorama, the artist explains.

Doris C. Freedman Place, New York, NY, USA

OY/YO, Deborah Kass

One of social media’s favorite NYC installations, OY/YO is a comical piece by Deborah Kass that draws directly from the city’s cultural diversity. The installation is approached from two directions – the view from Brooklyn depicts ‘OY’, while the view from Lower Manhattan reads, ‘YO’. Also located in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Kass’s work has proven to be one of this summer’s most beloved.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 222 9939

The Typewriter Project: The Subconscious of the City, The Poetry Society of New York

The Poetry Society of New York is providing New Yorkers with the opportunity to engage with the written word. Various comments are collected on a 100 foot-long paper scroll, which is archived and posted online so that the work doesn’t belong to any one person, but rather it’s the property of the city and its inhabitants. The Typewriter Project is located in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park.

McCarren Park, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Meridian (Gold), Mika Tajima

Anything can become art, and Mika Tajima turns water vapor into a colorful installation by adding dye. Shifting between magenta and pale cyan, Meridian shifts in color to reflect the price fluctuation of gold in real-time. The installation is located in Queens at Hunter’s Point South Park.

Hunters Point South Park, Queens, NY, USA

Morphous, Lionel Smit

Exploring the changing nature of the human psyche, culture, and society in South Africa, Lionel Smit made it his mission to communicate something of an aesthetic ‘double-vision.’ Morphous depicts two large melded bronze heads and questions the past and future of South African culture and society, drawing the viewer’s attention to the nation’s ‘hybrid identity’ and welcoming consideration of the themes such as reflection and duplication.

Union Square, 201 Park Avenue South, New York, NY, USA +1 212 460 1200

Monumental Sculptures, Carol Eisner

Brooklyn’s picturesque Prospect Park has been home to many a sculpture and installation since its inception. For 45 years, Eisner has worked on four Monumental Sculptures dotted across the park: Zerques facing the Grand Army Plaza, Valentine II in front of the Litchfield Villa, and Dancer and Skipper on the Peninsula in front of the Lake. Each installation speaks to its surroundings in some way, interacting with and enhancing the beauty of the setting.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 965 8951