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Documentary

A Look Inside the 45,000-Piece Collection of Trashed Treasures Curated by Sanitation Worker Nelson Molina

September 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

If, like me, you live in New York City, you’re confronted on the daily with mounds of trash on the sidewalk. While the appliances, antique furniture, clothing, and houseplants are a passing novelty for pedestrians such as myself, for Nelson Molina, the trash was his daily focus for 34 years. The veteran New York Sanitation worker, who retired in 2015 from his East Harlem route, has collected over 45,000 items of interest, all culled from his professional immersion in what New Yorkers discard.

His curatorial efforts have been widely chronicled over the years, including a 2012 profile in The New York Times, and particularly at inflection points when the collection’s future is uncertain. A new short documentary film by director Nicholas Heller meets up with the contagiously enthusiastic Molina for a look inside his curatorial process and the present state of the collection. There is currently a fundraising effort to create a permanent home for Molina’s ‘Treasures in the Trash,’ which you can contribute to here. If you’re interested in more anthropological trash projects, check out Jenny Odell’s Bureau of Suspended Objects, an archive created out of Odell’s time as an artist in residence at a San Francisco dump.

 

 



Design

A Multi-Level Pedestrian Vessel Designed by Heatherwick Studio Opens at Hudson Yards

March 15, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

All images by Michael Moran for Related Companies

Thomas Heatherwick’s new copper-colored structure at New York City’s Hudson Yards exists somewhere between a building and a pavilion, yet is classified by neither title. The open-air structure, which is temporarily nicknamed as “Vessel,” is a maze of 154 crossing stairwells and 80 landings that combine to form a honeycomb-like shape. Although the towering design appears like a sculptural work, the architects behind the project view it more as a piece of furniture than piece of architecture.

“People often ask us, what is this for? Is it a viewing platform? Where are you looking to?” Heatherwick Studio group leader and partner Stuart Wood explains in Dezeen. “It’s not a building, it’s not a sculpture, it’s not an artwork, and yet it has scale and relevance to all of those typologies… In a way, we’re thinking of this as a piece of furniture. Its ongoing use will evolve, quite naturally.”

The structure is narrow at the bottom to avoid a large footprint, and expands to a width of 150 feet wide at the top. It opened yesterday alongside a plaza and gardens and phase one of the surrounding complex’s retail and entertainment. You can reserve free timed tickets to climb the structure on Hudson Yard’s website starting today. (via Dezeen)

All images by Michael Moran for Related Companies

 

 



Art

Mosaic Vermin Invade New York City as Part of Jim Bachor’s Latest Pothole Interventions

July 20, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Jim Bachor (previously) has been filling potholes with mosaics in Chicago and beyond for the last five years, combining his art practice with public service to create popsicles, flowers, and the Chicago city flag. The cheeky creations are one part beautification, one part nudge to city infrastructure, and are meant to exist in situ as both solution and artwork.

Bachor just returned from a trip to New York City where he installed five new mosaics as a part of his series Vermin of New York. All of the pieces—a dead rat, pigeon, cockroach, portrait of Donald Trump, and a bouquet of flowers—were installed in Brooklyn or Manhattan. “A lot of my work is pretty upbeat, so I try and be a little unpredictable to keep people of balance—hence the vermin,” Bachor tells Colossal.

Just days after installation his cockroach, portrait of Donald Trump, and bouquet were removed by the transportation department, something that has never happened to previous 67 installs. You can see the works that have managed to stay in the ground on his Instagram.

 

 



History

Century-Old Film Footage Edited to Present a More Dynamic View of New York City Life in the Early 1900’s

May 1, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Videographer Guy Jones edits century-old film to more accurately match the video standards of the present day. For the black and white clip of New York City in 1911 shown above, Jones slowed down the film’s original speed and added ambient sound to match the activity seen on the city’s streets. The subtle additions allow for a more engaging experience when viewing of the 20th-century footage, and presents the urban milieu in a more realistic light.

This particular film print was created by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern during a trip to America, and remains in mint condition. You can see more of Jones’s edits of films from the late 19th-century to mid-1900s, like this video of Victorian street traffic galloping down the Champs-Élysées, on his Youtube channel. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 



Art Design

Art in Ad Places: A New Book Collects 52 Public Artworks Installed in Pay Phones Across NYC

February 20, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Artwork by Andrea Sonnenberg, all installation images by Luna Park

Artwork by Andrea Sonnenberg, all installation images by Luna Park

Frustrated by the daily bombardment of advertising on the streets of New York City, artist Caroline Caldwell and writer RJ Rushmore decided to produce a project that would dampen the sheer volume of visual marketing strewn throughout their environment. The pair didn’t have the budget to prompt an entire overhaul, but they did have the incentive to construct an intervention that would offer an alternative glimpse to the city’s high volume of print-based advertisements.

For their 2017 project, Art in Ad Places, the pair recruited 55 artists and collectives from across the country to produce 55 works to be temporarily displayed on pay phone booths across New York City. The installations were each presented for a week, and documented by their collaborator, street art photographer Luna Park.

“Pay phones were a perfect choice because they’re disappearing from the streets,” Rushmore told Colossal. “So I’d like to say that our ad takeovers were intended as a swan song for pay phones. Plus, contemporary pay phones serve no real function except to serve advertising, and that feels wrong. Nobody’s using pay phones to make calls, so why do we put up with their ads?”

The 52-week campaign ended in December of last year, however it has recently been compiled into a new book that documents the year-long installation. Art in Ad Places: 52 Week of Public Art Across New York City is available through Rushmore’s street art blog Vandalog and features statements from each artist alongside essays written by the project’s three collaborators. You can see the entire range of poster-sized artworks produced for Art in Ad Places on the project’s website or Instagram.

Bones Not Bombs by Pat Perry

Bones Not Bombs by Pat Perry

My Ad is No Ad by John Fekner

My Ad is No Ad by John Fekner

Artwork by For Freedoms with Hank Willis Thomas

Artwork by For Freedoms with Hank Willis Thomas

"I HATE THE SOUND OF SILENCE" by Cheryl Pope

“I HATE THE SOUND OF SILENCE” by Cheryl Pope

Artwork by Martha Cooper

Artwork by Martha Cooper

The Ecstasy of St Katsuhiro Otomo by Nomi Chi

The Ecstasy of St Katsuhiro Otomo by Nomi Chi

Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Artwork by Louise Chen aka Ouizi

Artwork by Louise Chen aka Ouizi

Blue Lady by Parker Day

Blue Lady by Parker Day

 

 



Photography

Photographer Jonathan Higbee Discovers a World of Coincidence on the Streets of New York

January 29, 2018

Christopher Jobson

All images © Jonathan Higbee.

For over a decade, photographer Jonathan Higbee has walked the streets of New York with a camera in-hand, spotting extraordinary juxtapositions and unusual moments when the world aligns for a split second in front of his lens. At times he manages to completely erase the boundaries between manufactured imagery found in billboards or signage that pollute the city streets and captures anonymous passersby who seem to live in an alternate reality.

This uncanny talent for observation has made the Missouri-born photographer a rising name in street photography where he won the World Street Photography grand prize in 2015 and a LensCulture 2016 Street Photography Award. Higbee’s work has been exhibited in group shows around the world and his photos were recently included in World Street Photography 4. You can follow more of his photography on Instagram. (via LensCulture)

 

 



Art

Guerilla Flower Installations on the Streets of NYC by Lewis Miller Design

December 13, 2017

Christopher Jobson

For the last few months New Yorkers have been treated to an unexpected sight during their daily commutes as random trash cans around the city have been converted into overflowing bouquets of colorful flowers. The temporary installations dubbed “Flower Flashes” are the idea of floral designer Lewis Miller Design who utilize a mixture of post-event flowers and fresh stock to create the displays on street corners or around statues, reminding us somewhat of Geoffroy Mottart’s installations in Brussels. You can see more of Lewis Miller’s work on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite