Tired of paying exorbitant museum entry fees? Desperate for some fresh air in our concrete jungle? Exploring public art installations is not only accessible and free, it also opens the door to some of the most radical and beautiful sculptures, murals, and monuments in NYC. Public art fosters a sense of community, transforms unapproachable spaces into cultural hubs, and encourages us to look up from our iPhones every once in awhile. Intrigued but don’t know where to start looking? #ArtBinder has you covered with some of our favorite spots.
1. The Highline
We may be slightly biased here as the epic freight-rail-line-turned-public-park serves as our backyard, but the high line constantly exhibits new public art installations from a huge range of artists to represent the needs and desires of the community. Murals and sculptures snake between greenery while being displayed against an urban skyline, creating a fascinating dichotomy between the natural and the cosmopolitan. You can’t go wrong with some fresh air, exercise, trendy food, AND art in one beautiful strip.
2. Central Park
Our green oasis right smack in the middle of the city, there is a reason – or a million reasons – why Central Park is always one of the first stops tourists make on their trips to the Big Apple. Picnics on the great lawn, jogs around the reservoir, and trips to the zoo are complimented with beautiful and historic art installations popping up on every corner of the park. The park is one of the least intimidating ways to begin to engage in public art, as children run amok on Joseé de Creeft’s Alice in Wonderland sculpture, couples dance to live music surrounding the grand Bethesda Fountain (pictured below), and NYC natives and tourists alike flock to the humbling Cleopatra’s Needle. Take in the aroma from hot pretzels stands littering the park, stretch your legs, and enjoy some of New York’s most well-known public art.
3. Street Art
While parks provide a refreshing break from the gritty city, street art can be just as enriching, serving as a channel for artists to illustrate contemporary issues. Generally unsanctioned and often illegal, street art commonly comes in the form of spray painted buildings and signs that display provocative and personal messages. We may have lost the beloved street art haven of 5 Pointz, but there is no shortage of spots to enjoy the color, culture, and excitement of New York City street art. A few of our favorite spots: L.I.S.A. Project NYC, Astoria Welling Court Project, and Harlem’s Graffiti Hall of Fame. If you don’t have time to seek out these particular spots, however, do not worry – keep your eyes peeled at subway stops and street corners and small-scale street art will be all around you.
While you’re on the lookout for the latest Ai Weiwei and Banksy, stay in the loop on all things art with @ArtBinder.