Ask the Expert: Top Public Art Recommendations

Dana Steer, concierge at Viceroy New York, feels that the best way for him to appreciate the fine arts is as easy as taking a trip outdoors. Here are his top picks for outdoor public art in New York City.

Dana Steer, concierge at Viceroy New York (120 West 57th Street, 212.830.8000), describes himself as a full-time NYC resident and retired professional actor. Although Steer, who’s worked as a concierge for four years, has an affinity for the Great White Way, he can appreciate NYC’s ever-changing fine art scene: “While the dark interior of a century-old Broadway house feels like home to me, I’ve never felt quite comfortable in the quiet halls of a museum,” he says—adding that, in August, appreciating the fine arts is as easy as taking a trip outdoors. “The city is filled with permanent and temporary installations curated by top artists and galleries,” Steer continues. As an extension of his feature “Get Out And See Art,” which appears on Viceroy New York’s website, Steer shares with Ask the Expert his top picks for outdoor public art. 

Viceroy New York

On display thru December 5, 2014 in Manhattan’s City Hall Park, as well as Brooklyn Bridge Park, Danh Vo, We The People (via the Public Art Fund) “marries patriotism with art appreciation,” Steer says. The exhibition, inspired by the Statue of Liberty, features a copper replica of the statue in 250 parts—fabricated over the course of four years using the original techniques and materials used to create Lady Liberty. In Brooklyn Bridge Park, art lovers can see a replica of the draped sleeve of the statue’s arm, while pieces that range from figurative to abstract can be found across the bridge in Lower Manhattan’s City Hall Park. For a quick pick-me-up, Steer suggests a bite at local Luke's Lobster or No. 7 Sub, both located at 11 Water St. in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Museum

For more “BK” fun (and possibly a welcome air-conditioned respite), Steer also suggests a trip inside the Brooklyn Museum to catch Ai Weiwei: According to What?—a must-see exhibit, according to Kathy Zurek-Doule, Curatorial Assistant at the museum.  On view thru August 10, the exhibition features more than 40 works spanning more than 20 years of contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s careerexploring universal topics of culture, history, politics and tradition in several mediums. 

Over in Long Island City, Queens, MoMA PS1’s summer Warm Up series—held every Saturday thru September 6—features local and international experimental live music. While listening to beats, which span a number of different genres, make sure to check out Hy-Fi—a temporary outdoor pavilion in PS1’s courtyard made of sustainable fungi materials, by New York-based architects The Living. According to Steer, “some say the mushroom-like structure actually smells like soup!”

In Midtown Manhattan, Marlborough Gallery features ongoing outdoor public art programs. Near the gallery’s W. 57th St. location, and in close proximity to the Viceroy, curious parties can find works by American sculptor Tom Otterness in a small curated outdoor exhibit. “Few artists have had a larger impact on Manhattan public spaces than Tom Otterness—with his exhibits literally popping up everywhere over the last two decades,” Steer says, adding that he happened upon the exhibition one block away from the hotel. “I also pass his whimsical—but very political—“Life Underground (2004)” in the subway station below 14th Street and 8th Avenue.”  If traveling with the kids in tow, Steer suggests taking them on a scavenger hunt of Otterness’ works throughout town—including “Silver Towers Playground, 2010,” a large sculpture that’s a working playground attraction. While near Marlborough Gallery, Steer suggests grabbing a drink at Nobu Fifty Seven or Betony.

Waves and Particles

Steer also recommends a trip to see Waves and Particles, an exhibition of six kinetic sculptures by American artist George Sherwood in Hudson River Park. Steer describes the exhibition’s “The Memory Of Water” as literally brilliant, while he says “Wave Cloud” looks like “a thousand sailboats dancing against the sky.”

Mackenzie Allison
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