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Some curious creatures have arrived in City Hall Park, although they look pretty miserable about it. Olaf Breuning’s “The Humans,” with its loop of anthropomorphic figures showing a story of humans evolving from fish to fisher king, has each whimsical figure sporting a deep frown upon their marble faces. While they’re definitely the most charming highlight of the new Lightness of Being Public Art Fund sculpture exhibition, there are 11 artists with playful art to discover elsewhere around the park.
There’s nothing quite as garishly monolithic as last year’s giant ketchup bottle by Paul McCarthy, which is for the best as if you’re going to have an exhibition all about whimsy and playing with perception, some subtlety is appreciated. However, when I stopped by for a morning visit I didn’t encounter the “big-bellied clown with a larger than life presence” that will “stand-in for a modern day shaman” ostensibly being brought in by Ugo Rondinone, so if you stop by on a Friday afternoon I have no guarantees about that.
As for what’s installed through December, there are some distorted objects, like Alicja Kwade’s Raleigh bicycle that had all of its parts dissembled, bent, and then reassembled in a circle; Cristian Andersen’s stack of found objects cast in metal topped by some hats; David Shrigley has left a steel cast of his own flip-flops by the fountain as if he’s jumped in for a swim; and James Angus’ warped copy of a John Deere tractor, the photograph of which actually makes me a little nauseous. None of it is too conceptual, the closest being the late Franz West’s small forest of looming pastel carrot shapes, and while the title references Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, it has definitely cut the dark “unbearable” part that refers to vacuity of being so light. Here’s a photographic tour of Lightness of Being, from sculpture aiming to play with your mind to sculpture that just wants to play.
Lightness of Being is in City Hall Park (Between Broadway, Park Row and Chambers streets, Lower Manhattan) through December 13.
Poussin and the Dance is a valiant attempt to break into Poussin’s staunchly academic oeuvre and provide a relatable point of entry, highlighting the exciting elements of revelry and movement despite impenetrable and unemotional rendering.
Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
This exhibition explores how images of the human body were used to provoke profound physical and emotional responses in viewers from the 15th through 18th centuries.
With scavenged materials, Amanda Maciel Antunes constructs a motherland.
Where are the directors taking the stage to acknowledge workers’ demands today?
The collaborative handmade paper- and printmaking center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts publishes new works by Liz Collins and Sarah McEneaney.
There is a debate whether the memory of Little Syria should be seized upon to tell truthful and positive stories about Arabs in the US, or whether any conflation between its history and contemporary politics is inappropriate.
The profile includes works by Egon Schiele, Amedeo Modigliani, Peter Paul Rubens, and a prehistoric Venus of Willendorf figurine.
These horrifying dolls definitely won’t murder you in your sleep.