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Canstruction New York exhibition returns to Brookfield Place

The charitable art exhibit will use 101,839 cans of food, all of which will be donated to City Harvest.

Canstruction, now installed at Brookfield Place in lower

Canstruction, now installed at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan, challenges 26 teams of architects, engineers and contractors to build sculptures made entirely out of unopened cans of food. "Tackling a Whale of a Problem" is seen on Friday. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

A can-do spirit guides this design competition for a cause.

The 26th annual Canstruction exhibition is on view through Nov. 15 in lower Manhattan at Brookfield Place, where 30 teams of architects, engineers, contractors and their students gathered Thursday night to fashion giant sculptures out of nothing but full cans of food.

This year 101,839 cans will be used.

Entries will be judged on Monday in a range of categories, including favorite overall, most cans, best use of labels, best meal and structural ingenuity. When the exhibit “cancludes” all of the food will be donated to City Harvest, New York City’s largest food drive.

Previously, cans of soup, veggies, tuna fish — you name it — have been used as building blocks to create a behemoth butterfly, Popeye with his trusty spinach, a carousel and a Pac Man on the run.

Builders have also been inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Andy Warhol, who famously used soup cans as a muse.

An estimated two months of design time goes into planning structures before they’re assembled for viewing and judging. Concepts are governed by the law of gravity, but there are a few tricks of the trade when canstructing, said Jennifer Greene, a founding member of the charitable event. “Builders can use things like clear tape and rubber bands,” she said. (Use of these materials is taken into account by judges.)

Canstruction events are held in more than 150 cities around the world. NYC’s is timed around Thanksgiving. The exhibit is free, but visitors are requested to bring a can of food to donate to City Harvest.

If you go: Canstruction at Brookfield Place, 230 Vesey St., runs Friday to Nov. 15, artsbrookfield.com.

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