Best of 2016: Our Top 5 Public Art Installations

We saw so much great art during 2016 that we created two separate lists this year; Top Public Art Installations and a Top Art Exhibitions list.  It’s not the ‘be all and end all of lists’, just a grouping of exhibits and installs that lingered on for us well into the end of the year.  I wish we had the time to list all the installs that made us happy his year, but we didn’t.  Let’s face it, not everything makes the same impact on a person.  I’m sure there are plenty of other lists with great picks, that’s what makes end of the year lists so much fun – everyone’s got a different opinion of what constitutes ‘best of the rest’.

These are ours…

 

Honorable Mention

Yayoi Kusama Dots at Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has dominated the dot world since the 1950’s. She continued her Infinity Room series during a residency at the iconic Glass House in Connecticut by sticking red polka dots all over its transparent walls. We couldn’t make it to the Glass House, but we sated ourselves by visiting her permanent ‘Infinity Dot Mirrored Room’ at the Mattress Factory.

Next up…

Feb.23.2017-May.14.2017
YAYOI KUSAMA: INFINITY MIRRORS
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

5. The Guardians

Vladimir Antaki’s award-winning photo series ‘The Guardians’ is sourced from his travels. Antaki photographs devoted shop keepers inside their mecca’s as a way to document and pay tribute to the guardians of urban temples we encounter on a daily basis without really noticing. His portraits capture a moment that encapsulates their dedication. This year, two cities paid tribute to his Guardians – his work was installed on the streets of Philadelphia and during the Nuit Blanche Arts Festival in Toronto.

 

 

4. That Time JR Made the Pyramid at the Louvre Disappear

French street artist, JR, was invited by the Louvre museum to wrap their world-famous glass pyramid with one of his monumental anamorphic images. The project steamrolled that old commentary of fear that Pei’s design would somehow violate the museum’s historical integrity.

more on the story here.

 

3. Waterfall by Olafur Eliasson

Artist/Designer Eliasson is known for his large-scale installations that explore perception and environmental issues. Reminiscent of the 2008 waterfalls that appeared underneath major bridges in New York City, Eliasson amazed the crowds again as a towering waterfall appeared to fall from midair into the Grand Canal at the Palace of Versailles. It cascaded from high above the surface appearing as a torrent of water of with no discernible source when viewed from the front steps of the palace. The gushing water concealed a latticed tower helping pump water through a system of pipes, which become apparent to audiences as they viewed the installation from its sides.

 

2. Biancoshock Hides Miniature Underground Rooms Inside Manholes in Milan

His 2016 art installation “Borderlife” was his call to a bigger awareness. He transformed 3 vacant subterranean maintenance vaults into miniature underground rooms in the Lodi district of Milan. It points a finger toward a hidden reality that most remain unaware of; the living conditions of those forced to occupy confined spaces – with a focus on those who live underground, behind manholes.

more on the story here.

 

1. Creative Time Presents Duke Riley’s “Fly By Night”

The summer nights were enhanced with Creative Times‘ present, Duke Riley’s ‘Fly By Night’.  The performance sent 2,000 trained pigeons swirling into the air over the east river to music, illuminating the Brooklyn skyline with thousands of LED lights.  New York Times called the performances, “Mr. Riley’s valentine to the city, its historic shoreline, its oft-maligned spirit animal and the vanishing world of rooftop pigeon fanciers.”

Biancoshock Hides Miniature Rooms inside Abandoned Manholes

Artist Biancoshock considers himself a classic activist and a performative artist. He refers to his art as “Ephemeralism” – the purpose of producing works of art that have to exist briefly in space but limitlessly in time through the photography, the video and the media.

His 2016 art installation “Borderlife” was his call to a bigger awareness.  He transformed 3 vacant subterranean maintenance vaults into miniature underground rooms in the Lodi district of Milan.  The spaces included a tiny kitchen, with hanging utensils and a wall clock; a bathroom, with an attached showerhead and towel rack; and a small, wallpapered hallway featuring a painting and hat.

It’s pointing a finger toward a social injustice – a hidden reality that most remain unaware of.  The living conditions of those forced to occupy confined spaces – with a focus on those who live underground, behind manholes.

This is where street art becomes more than a IG photo opportunity lying in wait. It becomes a chance to educate, to tell the story of the those who have no voice and no platform on which to be heard.

 

“If some problems can not be avoided, make them comfortable.
Intervention that, parodically, speaks about people forced to live in extreme conditions, even coming to live in manholes.
An example of inspiration is  Bucharest, where more than 600 people live underground, in the sewers.” – Biancoshock

 

Read more on the inspiration behind the art:  Kids of the ‘ Republic of the Sewers’.