Public Art Pieces to See This Summer

By The Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Team  

With some of the world’s most well-known museums and galleries, it’s no secret that cities like New York and London are great places to see art. This summer there are also a number of engaging art pieces sparking dialogue and inspiring wonder right on the city streets, or in some cases, on rivers and lakes.

From the Rockaways in Queens to Hyde Park in London, Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting several free public art installations. Check out how artists are transforming civic spaces, infusing neighborhoods with vitality and creativity within these five must-see pieces.

Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden installation — pictured above — is part of “Rockaway! 2018” in New York’s Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden. This exhibition is part of a free public arts festival celebrating the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway Peninsula following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“Rockaway!” is presented by MoMA PS1 and the Rockaway Artists Alliance, the National Park Service, and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy.  The exhibit will run through September 3, 2018.


Two bystanders experience Mel Chin’s “Unmoored” through a Microsoft Hololens headset. Photo courtesy of Microsoft.

The exhibit Unmoored by artist Mel Chin, in New York City’s Times Square, is an augmented reality experience that provides an immersive audiovisual look at how climate change could affect New York in the future. Mel Chin’s focus on the environment was also reflected in the exhibit he created for Los Angeles’ Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge project, CURRENT:LA Water. Unmoored can be experienced via an app downloadable until September 5, 2018. Unmoored, and its companion sculptural installation, Wake, are a collaboration between public art nonprofit No Longer Empty, the Queens Museum, Times Square Arts, and Microsoft.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18, (Photo: Adam T. Blackbourn © 2018 Christo)

Artist Christo and Jeanne-Claude have transformed London’s Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake with the floating London Mastaba. It is their first temporary outdoor sculpture in the UK and consists of 7,506 stacked barrels on a platform and weighs approximately 600 tons. The public art installation is accompanied by the exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018 at the Serpentine Galleries. It features sketches, collages, large-scale models, photographs and sculptures that span six decades. The London Mastaba is on view through September 23, 2018.


Never Comes Tomorrow in the Liggett Archway. Photo credit Timothy Schenck

As part of our support of artists and creative exhibitions, we are sponsoring two monumental artworks on New York’s Governors Island by artist Jacob Hashimoto, entitled The Eclipse and Never Comes Tomorrow. With The Eclipse, Hashimoto fills the historic Chapel of St. Cornelius with over 15,000 delicate bamboo paper kites. Never Comes Tomorrow transforms Liggett Hall Archway with hundreds of wooden cubes and two massive steel funnels. The two works by Hashimoto are presented as part of the Island’s newly reinvigorated commissioning series that presents public artworks responding to the Island’s history, architecture, and geography. The exhibition will be on display through October 31, 2018.


Flow Separation by Tauba Auerbach docked in New York City.

The Public Art Fund and London’s 14-18 NOW Flow Separation is a new exhibition by artist Tauba Auerbach. The installation is part of our ongoing support of the Dazzle Ship series that transforms historic fireboats into works of art based on the WWI practice of painting ships to optically distort their forms, confusing enemy submarines. Flow Separation features a contemporary ‘dazzle camouflage’ pattern painted on the historic Fireboat John J. Harvey. It will be anchored at various docks throughout New York City until May 12, 2019.

This fall, Bloomberg Philanthropies will also announce new cities participating in our Public Art Challenge, an initiative designed to encourage mayors to collaborate with artists on civic issues through public art.

The 14 finalists for the 2018 Public Art Challenge are: Anchorage, AK; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Camden, NJ; Coral Springs, FL; El Paso, TX; Holyoke, MA; Honolulu, HI; Jackson, MS; Miami-Dade County, FL; Santa Rosa, CA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; and Tulsa, OK.

Click here to learn more about their proposals.