In this city, painters, sculptors, architects and multimedia artists create in parks, on city blocks and on rooftops all over the Big Apple for natives and travelers alike to enjoy. Here’s a look at some of our most aesthetically-pleasing artworks, all al fresco:
Communing with Nature
Janet Fekete-Bolton’s steel sculpture, “A Conversation With Nature,” is aptly named. Composed of eight horseshoe-shaped pieces on a disk, it is one of seven works by women artists on view in the Art Students League of New York’s Model to Monument public art program, which occupies a 10-block stretch in Riverside Park South and whose theme is the architecture of nature. Views of the Hudson River, New Jersey and lush vegetation can be glimpsed through the negative spaces of Fekete-Bolton’s work. Riverside Park South, btw the West Side Highway & Hudson River, enter at W. 59th St. or W. 72nd St., www.theartstudentsleague.org.
Carved in Stone
Visitors enter the Noguchi Museum, founded in 1985 by Japanese-American artist, architect and designer Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), through its open-air sculpture garden. That they may want to linger outside and take sanctuary among Noguchi’s abstract stone carvings, meticulously placed in nature, before stepping foot in the 10 indoor galleries is understandable. This is a serene refuge from the pressures of urban life, a place in which to reflect—and recharge. The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd., at Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens, 718.204.7088.
Maze with a Mission
Artist Dan Graham and architect Günther Vogt have created an installation that concisely melds landscape history, corporate America and suburban life. In “Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout,” the mazelike structure, comprised in part of steel, symbolizes the office towers of inner cities, while the ivy hedgerows (also meant to mimic 18th-century formal gardens) are reminders of the bushes that often act as boundaries between suburban homes. The entire piece works to encapsulate historic gardens, urban architecture—and the suburban lawn. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd St., 212.535.7710, through Nov. 2.
A Violent Current
Begun in 1938, Aristide Maillol’s sculpture “The River” began as a monument to honor pacifist and French writer Henri Barbusse, with the concept of a woman being stabbed in the back and falling. Barbusse died while the sculpture was being made and the commission fell through, but Maillol continued the work, transforming it into a river-themed piece, the woman’s raised arms possibly referencing a powerful current. Yet, considering it was being made during World War ll, the violent, twisting position can also be a reflection of the horrors of war. An ironic work from the man who once said, “For my taste, there should be as little movement as possible in sculpture.” The Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., btw Fifth & Sixth aves., 212.708.9400.
This summer, a new installation by New York sculptor Rachel Feinstein consisting of three “follies”—structures popular in 18th- and 19th-century architecture as purely decorative pieces (hence the term “folly”)—can be seen in Madison Square Park for a limited time. “Cliff House” (above) is imagined as a house perched on a towering cliff, made of powder-coated aluminum with an applied surface illustration. All three pieces (there is also a rococo-style hut and a flying ship moored high in a tree) are part of an installation that is on view in the park through Sept. 7. Says Feinstein of this work, “I picture Folly as an empty Fellini-esque set dropped into the middle of a lush green wonderland in the historical Flatiron District of New York City.” Madison Square Park, Fifth Ave. and Broadway, at 23rd St., 212.538.1884.