New York City

Martin Puryear In Madison Square Park

Martin Puryear, Big Bling, 2016. Pressure-treated laminated timbers, plywood, fiberglass, and gold leaf, 40 x 10 x 38 ft.

Martin Puryear, Big Bling, 2016. Pressure-treated laminated timbers, plywood, fiberglass, and gold leaf, 40 x 10 x 38 ft.

I first came to know the American sculptor, Martin Puryear, through his exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum. The show focused on Puryear’s drawings and his preparatory work for his large scale projects. There were also some of his sculptures — all sleek with clean lines and simple shapes that had powerful impact. But until my visit to Madison Square Park, I’ve never seen one of his massive pieces, like Bearing Witness which stands in front of the Ronald Reagan Building in DC.

Martin Puryear, Bearing Witness, 1997, Bronze

Martin Puryear, Bearing Witness, 1997, Bronze

Big Bling is more whimsical than Bearing Witness. It stands forty feet high and is a multi-tier wood structure wrapped in fine chain-link fence. A gold-leafed shackle is anchored near the top of the structure.

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It’s standing in the middle of Madison Square Park and will be on view through January 8, 2017.  You can’t get too close to it as there is a protective barrier around the perimeter. But one can view it from a variety of angles by walking around the Park; both on the greens and around the outside.

Martin Puryear. Untitled, 2009

Martin Puryear. Untitled, 2009

The shape is reminiscent of earlier Puryear works which bring to mind an elephant.  And while the size here can feel overwhelming, Big Bling is also joyful and brought a smile to my face.

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If you go to see it, I’d recommend entering the park from the west side; and go while the park is still green!

Isa Genzken: Two Orchids Towering Over Central Park

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Just as spring is trying to push its way forward, the Public Art Fund brings something new to the corner of Central Park at 60th and Fifth Avenue. Last year it was Tatiana Trouve’s “Desire Lines.” This year Two Orchids, by German artist Isa Genzken, adorn the entrance to the park. The slim and delicate looking “flowers” are 28 and 34 feet tall. They are best admired from across the street. Though orchids used to be considered a rare and exotic flower, today they can be purchased in your local supermarket. According to the Public Art Fund, “Two Orchids stands as an idealized, colossal version of the familiar plant: a civic monument to the perfect orchid, now the chosen ornament of contemporary culture.”

Two Orchids will be up until August 21st. But go sooner if you’d like a touch of spring before the weather catches up.

Tatiana Trouvé’s “Desire Lines” in Central Park

"Desire Lines" Tatiana Trouvé, Central Park

“Desire Lines” Tatiana Trouvé, Central Park

With spring finally in the air, take advantage of the warmer weather and go see “Desire Lines,” a fun and creative outdoor installation by Parisian sculptor, Tatiana Trouvé. It  is composed of miles of colored rope wound around huge wooden spools that hold them. Commissioned by the Public Art Fund, Trouvé’s work is an homage to Central Park. If unwound, the “threads” would stretch along every inch of the 212 paths that snake through the park’s 843-acre rectangle. Many of the paths are unnamed, so Trouvé  invented an “atlas” of the history and culture of walking.


Visitors to Desire Lines can choose a path by name then undertake the walk it describes. I went to visit the piece on a frosty day, when snow was still piled around the edges of the park. Without any visible signage, it was hard to appreciate just what you were seeing. Fortunately, I had a chance to visit the Park Avenue Gagosian Gallery which has a companion exhibit called, “Tatiana Trouvé: Studies for Desire Lines.

At the gallery you can see  sculptures, drawings, and preparatory studies that Trouvé  used for Desire Lines. In addition to vellum tracings and cast part-objects, there are detailed graphite drawings inlaid with copper and vertical maps of Central Park in raw canvas with paths hand-stitched in colored silks.

Tatiana Trouvé at the Gagosian gallery

Tatiana Trouvé at the Gagosian gallery

You can see the sculpture at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza near 60th Street and Fifth Avenue until August 3oth. “Studies for Desire Lines” will be on view until April 25th.

One-Year Free Membership To NYC Museums

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Cost may be a barrier to an art museum membership. But now there’s an opportunity to get a one-year free membership to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Studio Museum of Harlem, El Museo del Barrio, MoMa/PS1 and 28 other New York City cultural institutions.

The New York City Municipal ID, launching this month, will give all ID card holders access to one-year free membership packages at some of the City’s leading cultural institutions. The one-year membership will be comparable to each institution’s standard one-year individual or family membership package, depending on the institution. It will give ID card holders a range of benefits including free admission, and access to special events, and discounts to museum shops.

There has been a rush in applications for the ID causing long waiting times for appointments. However, if you don’t need the ID right away, wait a few weeks, and then apply in order to get your museum membership. The “year” begins when you get the card.

The 33 institutions participating in this effort belong to the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) which is comprised of private nonprofit cultural organizations located on City owned property. Check for specific benefits per institution. See below for a complete list of participating institutions:

1. Bronx County Historical Society
2. Bronx Museum of the Arts
3. New York Botanical Garden
4. Wave Hill
5. Wildlife Conservation Society (includes Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo)

6. Brooklyn Academy of Music
7. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
8. Brooklyn Children’s Museum
9. Brooklyn Museum

10. American Museum of Natural History
11. Carnegie Hall
12. New York City Ballet
13. El Museo del Barrio
14. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
15. Metropolitan Museum of Art
16. Museum of Jewish Heritage
17. Museum of the City of New York
18. New York City Center
19. Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival
20. Studio Museum in Harlem

21. Flushing Town Hall
22. Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
23. Museum of the Moving Image
24. New York Hall of Science
25. MoMA PS1
26. Queens Botanical Garden
27. Queens Museum
28. Queens Theatre

Staten Island
29. Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
30. Staten Island Children’s Museum
31. Staten Island Historical Society
32. Staten Island Museum
33. Staten Island Zoological Society