Things to Do A guide to free art around New York City By Shaye Weaver email@example.com Updated May 21, 2018 6:01 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet gShare Email A slew of new and free-to-see public art is about to drop on New York City. The Department of Parks and Recreation has announced that 10 artists have been chosen to receive $10,000 each from the Uniqlo Park Expressions grant to execute and place their work around the city this June. People who frequent the Joyce Kilmer, Virginia, Fort Greene, Herbert Von King, Seward, Thomas Jefferson, Flushing Meadow Corona, Rufus King, Faber and Tappen parks are the lucky recipients this year. You can check them all out at nycgovparks.org. The streets and parks are already full of permanent art and sculptures, but the grant makes it possible for the Parks Department to place even more in underserved areas while supporting local, emerging artists, the agency said in an announcement. The Public Art Fund is also known for bringing creative pieces to the street on a regular basis, including its striking "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" gilded cage by Ai Weiwei at the foot of Central Park. The Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City is also always sure to have striking pieces on view, like Tanda Francis's "Take Me With You" head. And a number of neighborhood alliances and conservancies introduce works regularly. The city is its own art gallery, so we've created a guide of some of the best temporary artworks, forthcoming installations and where you can see them across the five boroughs. "Spot" Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle A huge statue of a Dalmatian the height of a three-story building is now balancing a real taxi cab on its nose in front of what will be NYU Langone's new Hassenfeld Children's Hospital. At 38 feet tall, "Spot," a female puppy, was constructed with fiberglass and steel beams by artist Donald Lipski. NYU Langone Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Pavilion at 34th Street and First Avenue. Coney Island Art Walls (May 27 through the end of summer) Photo Credit: Thor Equities The work of dozens of street artists, including Aiko, Chris Stain, Crash + Tats Cru, D*Face and Icy & Sot, color the walls on Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island. The artists were selected by nationally renowned curator Jeffrey Deitch and Joseph Sitt, the president and CEO of Thor Equities, which is presenting the "outdoor museum." The murals will be accompanied by "Magic Carousel Sundays," weekly live DJ sets and more. 3050 Stillwell Ave., Coney Island 'Armors' (through Sept. 13) Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon Head to The Cloisters, where you'll find a new installation by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir featuring three androgynous, humanlike figures created from a custom 3D scan of a suit of armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's permanent collection. Cloisters Lawn, Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan 'Bird Bath' (through May 31) Photo Credit: Paula Hayes MoMA's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden has a new work by Paula Hayes called "Bird Bath." The tranquil setting is good for taking in the acrylic piece that puts a new spin on where birds bathe. It's free to see before the galleries open at 10:30 a.m. MoMA, enter on West 54th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Manhattan Sing for Hope Pianos (June 2-24) Photo Credit: Sing for Hope Pianos These "playable masterpieces" will be rolling into the five boroughs this June. Each piano has been painted differently by the Broadway casts of "Kinky Boots," "Dear Evan Hansen," "The Play That Goes Wrong" and "Wicked," and will be set up in high traffic locations throughout the city. The project is a feel-good cause that donates the pianos to select city schools. Hot Dog Bus (opens June 9) Photo Credit: Studio Erwin Wurm This modified, vintage Volkswagen Microbus has been transformed into a bright yellow, overstuffed food truck that will be serving free hot dogs to visitors of the Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. Artist Erwin Wurm hopes that the bus' shape will inspire them to reconsider the relationship between capitalism and consumption while they eat, which could be seen as an additional "sculptural process in its own right," according to the Public Art Fund. 'Flow Separation' (opens July 1) Photo Credit: Tauba Auerbach New York Harbor's historic fireboat, the John J. Harvey, will be painted with a design by Tauba Auerbach. Taking inspiration from animal camouflage and avant-garde movements, Auerbach's work will be seen throughout the summer and fall when free, timed trips in the "dazzled" fireboat will be offered, according to the Public Art Fund. 'Kathy Ruttenberg on Broadway' (opens April 27) Photo Credit: Kathy Ruttenberg Six sculptures, inspired by imagination, are going to be installed across Broadway. Ruttenberg's "in dreams awake" combines myriad forms, like a woman sitting inside a snail's shell (pictured), a twig-like performer standing on top of a glass mosaic pedestal, and a mouse poised on a seed. Each one was created with its location in mind and meant to interact with the urban environment. Broadway at: 64th Street's Dante Park; 72nd Street; 79th Street; 96th Street; 117th Street at Columbia Gates; and 157th Street. '50 New York Covers' (through October) Photo Credit: New York Media / Brad Kahlhamer In celebration of the 50th anniversary of New York magazine, 50 renowned artists, including Yoko Ono, Kerry James Marshall (art pictured at the Port Authority Bus Terminal), Alex Katz, Marilyn Minter, Will Cotton and more, have created their own New York covers that will be plastered in 25 locations across the city through this fall. Look for them at Smorgasburg and the High Line. Other locations will be announced on Twitter. There will also be a yearlong celebration of special events in music, comedy, film and food that will be announced throughout the year. nymag.com 'Uraeus' (May 2 - July 22) Photo Credit: Anselm Kiefer Pulling from ancient Egyptian culture, artist Anselm Kiefer designed his artwork to signify the aspiration of humans. The installation features a large book with 30-feet wide eagle's wings, like the wings of the vulture goddess Nekhbet, and a snake approaching the book -- all made of lead. Kiefer's work is often layered with multiple meanings, for example, the snake at the bottom of the sculpture can symbolize danger and death, but in the same stroke, it can also mean wisdom and secret knowledge. Rockefeller Center (Channel Gardens at Fifth Avenue) 'The Last Three' (through May) Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner This 16-foot-tall sculpture of three life-sized rhinos by Gillie and Marc will grace Astor Place through May. The bronze statues are the likeness of the last white rhinos on Earth, which are named Sudan (who just died on March 19), Najin and Fatu. "The Last Three" is meant to raise awareness and the funds needed to protect them and to encourage people to help petition the Chinese and Vietnamese governments to stop the demand for rhino horns. Not only will you get to walk around this stack of rhinos, but you can leave a "goodbye" message/petition signature to help. You can also "adopt" and care for digitally recreated rhinos in an app. Astor Place (between Lafayette Street and Copper Square near East Eighth Street) Banksy mural Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle Banksy unveiled a new mural that protests the imprisonment of Zehra Dogan, a Turkish artist and journalist. Dogan was sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison in March 2017 after she published a painting of a Turkish city that was damaged in 2015 by fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants. Banksy's 70-foot-long mural has black hash marks for every day Dogan has spent in prison and a rendering of Dogan behind a prison cell, holding one of the bars that is also a pencil. The corner of Houston Street and Bowery 'I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door' (through March 2019) Photo Credit: Timothy Schenck 2017 Three colorful Statues of Liberty stand as a symbol of the openness of New York City and the United States to those who are seeking freedom or asylum. The colorful statues, by artist Dorothy Iannone, are inspired by Emma Lazarus' poem, "The New Colossus." The Highline (at 22nd Street) 'Large Pumpkin' Photo Credit: Sky A large, carved bronze pumpkin, created in 2014 by Yayoi Kusama, sits outside Sky, a luxury high-rise building. Another smaller pumpkin, made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic and urethane paint, sits on the building's fitness entrance side of the building. It also has two "Infinity Net" paintings in the lobby. Kusama has created several of these paintings, which depict minutely drawn nets across monochromatic backgrounds. The works will be there indefinitely. Sky (605 W. 42nd St.) 'Lovewall/Bleeding Hearts' (closes in June) Photo Credit: James Goldcrown The renowned "Lovewall/Bleeding Hearts" muralist James Goldcrown brought his hearts to Dream Downtown hotel in February. Anyone can visit the painting near the lobby and take photos in front of it daily. When Goldcrown first came up with the mural, it was meant to be a meditation on the rhythm of the heart, but since it became viral it has taken on various meanings, he said. "I've read a lot of things about how it's helped people dealing with death, breakups, divorces, new loves, having a child, marriage -- it has a very different voice for people," he told amNewYork. Dream Downtown (355 West 16th St.) 'Wind Sculpture (SG) I' (through Oct. 14) Photo Credit: Jason Wyche, Courtesy of Public Art Fund This 23-foot-tall sculpture, which looks like an untethered sail of a ship, is hand-painted in a pattern of turquoise, red and orange. The artist, Yinka Shonibare MBE, was inspired by the beaches of his childhood in Lagos, Nigeria, and by Dutch wax batik print from Africa. The piece is supposed to make you reflect on the movement of people and ideas across borders. Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park (60th Street and Fifth Avenue) 'Birds of Paradise' (through Aug. 30) Photo Credit: Ruth Hofheimer This 500-foot-long mural at the gateway to Bayswater Park in Far Rockaway was created by artist Ruth Hofheimer and neighborhood volunteers to inspire the study, restoration and reinvigoration of the park. You'll see painted osprey, striped bass, herons, Spanish mackerel and grasslands depicted. Bayswater Park (701 Bay 32nd St.) 'Absent Monuments' (opens in June) Photo Credit: Rose DeSiano These mirrored obelisks by Rose DeSiano reflect the viewer, making them become part of the history (colonization, war, abolitionism, immigration and rural urbanization) of Jamaica, Queens. The obelisks' stone plinths have blue and white Dutch Delft photographic tiles that show the history of the park and are surrounded by floral tiles inspired by Native American patterns. Rufus King Park (150-29 Jamaica Ave.) 'Flying High for Equality' (ends June 19) Photo Credit: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila Artists Patricia Cazorla and Nancy Seleme were inspired by the bestselling book "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" (about a seagull who is trying to learn about life, flight and self-perfection) and created oversized, colorful sculptures for the Bronx Park, which represent resilience, audacity, intelligence and beauty found in many of the city's communities. Joyce Kilmer Park (955 Walton Ave.) 'Islands of the Unisphere' (opens in June) Photo Credit: Zaq Landsberg Taking the shapes of islands on the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Zaq Landsberg will form a "global archipelago" on the green leading up to the globe. They'll be used as seating, stages and meeting places -- with the purpose of reflecting the diversity of Queens. Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Grand Central Parkway to Van Wyck Expressway, between Roosevelt Avenue and Robinson Parkway) Adorn Me (opens in June) Photo Credit: Tanda Francis Artist Tanda Francis wants her sculpture in Fort Greene Park to provide a healing message in light of recent debates over city monuments by showing the powerful force of beauty and cultural relevance in African sculpture. Fort Greene Park (Myrtle and DeKalb avenues, between Washington Park and St. Edward's Street) OY/YO (through July 10) Photo Credit: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila This clever, bright yellow sculpture by Deborah Kass brings the Brooklyn slang word "yo," the Yiddish expression "oy" and the Spanish statement "I am" together in one place. The large word, good for a selfie on Instagram, can be seen along the Williamsburg waterfront and from Manhattan's skyscrapers. North Fifth Street Pier and Park (105 River St.) 'Hell Gate Cairns' (closes Aug. 11) Photo Credit: Samantha Holmes This series of stacked stone pillars (or cairns) by Samantha Holmes calls back to the boulders that line the waterfront -- remnants of the huge projects during the 20th century that cleared the city's waterways, including "Hell Gate." Riverside Park South (12th Avenue and Riverside Blvd., between West 59 and 72 streets) 'Sunrise, Sunset (Revolution)' (through summer) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert This temporary public art installation by Autumn Ewalt and Dharmesh Patel is an interactive sculpture that consists of 27 aluminum panels embedded with 9,000 crystal prisms that are activated by natural light. Pier A Plaza, (22 Battery Place) 'I’m So Happy You’re Here' (opens in June) Photo Credit: Cara Lynch Patterned like a traditional parquet floor for the wealthy, this installation re-contextualizes the panels in a public mural. Doing this is supposed to challenge the ideas of "value," "accessibility" "destination" and "origin," according to the artist, Cara Lynch. Virginia Park (White Plains Road, between Cross Bronx Expressway and Westchester Avenue) 'Mom-and-pops of the L.E.S.' (opens in June) Photo Credit: Karla and James Murray This replica of a Lower East Side shop is made of wood with near life-size photographs of real shops that are no longer in business. You'll see a bodega, a coffee shop/luncheonette, a vintage store and a newsstand. The artists, Karla and James Murray, want viewers to recognize the unique and irreplaceable contributions to the city by small, family-owned businesses. Seward Park (Canal Street, Essex Street, Jefferson Street and East Broadway) '50 New York Covers' (through October) Photo Credit: New York Media In celebration of the 50th anniversary of New York magazine, 50 renowned artists, including Yoko Ono, Kerry James Marshall (art pictured at the Port Authority Bus Terminal), Alex Katz, Marilyn Minter, Will Cotton and more, have created their own New York covers that will be plastered in 25 locations across the city through this fall. Look for them at Smorgasburg and the High Line. Other locations will be announced on Twitter. There will also be a yearlong celebration of special events in music, comedy, film and food that will be announced throughout the year. nymag.com Chihuly's 'Rose Crystal Tower' (ends Oct. 5) Photo Credit: New York City Parks Department / Daniel Avil Renowned artist Dale Chihuhly has erected a "Rose Crystal Tower" that stands 31 feet tall. The pink rock candy stick-like sculpture is made up of "polyvitro" crystals, a type of polymer and steel. Park Avenue and 14th Street 'Delirious Matter' (May 7 - Sept. 3) Photo Credit: Tony Prikyll Syrian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Diana Al-Hadid has created a new six-sculpture installation called "Delirious Matter" that includes two "wall" works with rows of hedges, three reclining female figures called "Synonym" on plinths, and a female bust that perches atop a fragmented mountain that will sit in the Madison Square Park reflecting pool. The works are inspired by the artist's love of storytelling. Madison Square Park (Madison Avenue, between East 23rd and 26th streets) By Shaye Weaver firstname.lastname@example.org Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments Comments section is temporarily on hold. Here’s why.