The hydrangeas are blooming, bees are buzzing. Join us!
5:30 PM Meet artist Cecile Chong on the Sculpture Platform for an up-close intro to “El Dorado, the New Forty Niners”. 5:45 PM Tour the flower border with garden guide. Learn about pollinators, fragrance and what’s in bloom. 6:00 PM Convene at park cafe for artist’s inside story that spans continents, languages and geography. Kid’s art project too.
Coffee beverages and ice cream available for purchase at the Pink Moose Cafe.
Presented by Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation.
“Public art is for everyone,” says artist Noa Bornstein, who recently attached a tactile QR code linked to an audio recording on the base of her bronze sculpture on display in the historic UN gateway, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, through August. “Many venues discourage visitors from touching objects of art, but Peace Gorilla welcomes human touch.”
The gorilla’s outstretched arm elicits “high-fives” from park visitors while kids delight in climbing on her body. The word “Friend” is cast in 90 languages on the concrete base, and Bornstein is always exploring ways to engage the public through playful interaction.
To make the popular sculpture user-friendly to the blind and visually impaired, Bornstein consulted with disability specialists. Then during a week of Earth Day celebrations, three visually impaired musicians from the Lions Club LB Band, escorted by Joy Bieder, a Certified Orientation and Mobility specialist, assembled on a bench next to Peace Gorilla and after a spirited drum session, held their cell phones to the tactile QR code and listened to Bornstein’s recorded description. Julie Spodnick, a Certified Vision Rehab Teacher assisted. She and Joy Bieder also work for VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
What’s next? A label in Braille and English will be mounted next to the tactile QR code, which was produced in brass by Visual Mechanics, a neighbor of Bornstein’s studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
The tactile QR code was suggested by Nitza Danieli, who works as a contract artist educator with the visually impaired at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bornstein also consulted with Maia Scott, a blind artist and teacher in San Francisco, and actress Dawn Del Orbe, who records audio guides for museums. The “look but don’t touch” rule is giving way to more inclusive approaches. Some exhibits include “beacons ” that emit pleasant natural sounds to guide the blind to a location.
Also on display through August are three sculptures of larger-than-life human figures by Jim Rennert curated by Sherrill Kazan, president of Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, in collaboration with NYC Parks Arts & Antiquities.
“Public art is a universal language and integral to the city’s renewal. Both exhibits invite public interaction,” says Kazan. “It’s fitting that Peace Gorilla is located in this hub of diversity, a park named after Nobel Peace Laureate Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary General of the United Nations.”
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is located on East 47th Street between UN Plaza (1st Ave.) and 2nd Ave, Manhattan. Public art exhibitions are organized through NYC Art in the Parks.
On the top of the base, “Friend” in the six official languages of the United Nations appears under the title “Peace Gorilla”followed by the subtitle: “Shalom, Salaam, Tomodachi” (“Hello, Peace, Friend,” in Hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese). These are the words that Bornstein, a perpetual language student, seemed to hear as the gorilla “reached out her arm” during the process of creation.
The word “Friend” in 90 languages is set into the four sides and top of the base from templates made by Visual Mechanics. The concrete base was created by Oso Industries with assistance from Wellstone NYC Custom Woodworking—all neighbors of Bornstein in the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC). The original gorillawas made of sisal fiber and burlap in structolite and plaster over wire mesh and metal. The bronze casting was produced at Bedi-Makky Art Foundry in Greenpoint Brooklyn, using the traditional French sand-casting method.
Ailene Fields is an American sculptor who works in stone, bronze and acrylic. Themes in her work are evocative of dreams and magic, calling forth the qualities that make us human. Her sculptures often feature animals, mythological figures and architectural elements.
Starting in late 2019 and running through summer 2020, in conjunction with Six Summit Gallery, Fields is exhibiting three public art installations of fantastical representational works at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Bella Abzug Park at Hudson Yards and Port Authority Bus Terminal. The two pieces in Hammarskjold Plaza are titled Frog Prince and Wood Fairy
Fields’ first one-person exhibition was in 1987 at the Lavaggi Gallery in New York City. Since then, her work has been continually exhibited in American art galleries, and she has been represented at over 25 group exhibitions in the U.S. Solo museum exhibitions include the Bergen Museum of Art & Science, Paramus, New Jersey, and The Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida. She has taught stone carving at Sculpture Center and The Educational Alliance in NYC and is currently teaching at The Compleat Sculptor in New York City, one of the largest sculpture suppliers in the world, which she co-owns with her husband, Marc Fields.
MARCOS LUTYENS “UNIVERSAL SOLVENT, WHEN TEARS WATER THE SKY”, October 16, 2018 to March 17, 2019
Marcos Lutyens’ Universal Solvent is a bench sculpture with a sound component echoing the artist’s environmental concerns. The bench is made out of water-jet cut, polished aluminum that mimics the appearance of a calm body of water marked by ripples in the contrasting, etched surface. Swipe the QR code posted on the nearby sign to hear a sound recording that explores myths and realities linked to water, an essential element to life on planet Earth.
Curated by KJ Baysa and Qiuxiao Kun in collaboration with the UN Development Program and exhibited in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza by Art in the Parks, NYC Parks & Recreation Art & Antiquities.
Hamptons-based artist Phyllis Hammond has created five new sculptures for Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, entitled Tempo, Alien, Flying, Gateway, and Sign of Freedom. Exhibited together under the title Beyond the Edge, the steel and aluminum sculptures feature narrow stem-like bases topped by whimsical, kinetic elements that rotate in the wind. Hammond uses an improvisational method to create her colorful, large-scale sculptures. The metal cutouts are based on playful, looping doodles on paper that she scans and modifies using a computer program. Once the drawings have been refined digitally, the designs are cut from sheets of metal using a water jet machine. After the metal shapes are hammered, bent and welded into curved shapes, they are powder-coated with brightly colored paint.
Mazeredo is a Brazilian artist from Rio de Janeiro whose works have been displayed in Brazil, Europe and major US cities. Recently, she was honoured in Paris, where her Dialogue exhibit was on display at the festival Le Lavage Du Madeleine. When Pope Francis visited Rio in 2013, he personally blessed her St. Francis and White Dove sculpture, which then went on public display at Lido Square in Copacabana. She started her Dialogue for Peace sculpture series in 2013 to generate awareness that dialogue between cultures through art plays a crucial role in fostering peace and understanding. The white sculpture represents the dove of peace. The two red and green sculptures symbolize a butterfly (freedom) and two lips (dialogue). Notice how the pieces of white sculpture interlock and connect.