Madison Square Park has consistently been the site of some of the city’s finest public art. Now, with its first curator, the park is rolling out a range of over-the-top interactive exhibitions.
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Increasingly over the past 10 years, you turn a corner in NYC and, lo, there’s a giant avant-garde lighting installation, or a sculpture, or a series of colorful murals that transform the concrete surroundings into something entirely different—like an outdoor museum. Nowhere has this been more apparent, or as consistently surprising and delightful, than in Madison Square Park, whose 50,000 daily visitors have been treated to 24 large-scale exhibitions by world-renowned artists.
This month, the Madison Square Art Conservancy appointed its first-ever curator, Adam Glick, who becomes one of just two curators to be employed by a New York public park. His term kicks off with some of the park’s most exciting public art projects yet. “A successful installation initiates and perpetuates a dialogue everyone can contribute to,” says Glick. “And we aim to activate as much of the park as possible with each exhibition.”
In the current exhibition, Pet Sounds (on view through September 9), California-based artist Charles Long has created an interactive installation of colorful free-form sculptures that drip down and around park benches. As you touch them, they make different noises, such as the sound of a finger tracing the rim of a water glass.
The first exhibition to appear completely under Glick’s direction will be Leo Villareal’s Buckyball, which opens this October. Villareal’s 30-foot-tall sculpture comprises 180 LED tubes in the form of a carbon-60 molecule. The structure, inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, will not only light the entire park but project 16 million distinct colors in sequences that trigger the brain’s ability to identify patterns and alter the way we comprehend our environment.
“Public art in New York is one of the city’s greatest strengths,” says Glick. “The ever-increasing interest in and visibility of art in public spaces is part of what makes New York’s cultural fabric so rich and exciting. It provides a fresh perspective on a familiar landscape.”
Check out the full calendar of upcoming exhibitions and events at Madison Square Park here.