Public art on the museum model
On July 1, the suggested admission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will go up from $20 to $25. MoMA currently charges (required not suggested) $20 for adults and the Guggenheim charges $18.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that two of the summer’s strongest exhibitions in New York are free, to the public and pigeons alike. "Sol LeWitt: Structures, 1965-2006,” organized by Public Art Fund, takes place at City Hall Park through Dec. 2. “Mark di Suvero,” presented by Storm King Art Center, runs through Sept. 25 on Governors Island.
They appear in this Sunday's Arts & Books feature as examples of the latest wave of public art projects in New York: public art curated on the museum-exhibition model, with a broad range of works borrowed from near and far, complete with educational information like cellphone tours and iPhone apps (look for Public Art Fund and Storm King on itunes.com). It's enough to make other cities' public art efforts look like child's play.
So what does New York have going for it that other cities don’t? For starters, it has decades of know-how in the form of leading public art nonprofits: Public Art Fund and Creative Time.
Then there's what Emi Fontana of West of Rome, one of L.A.'s leading organizers in the public/performance art realm in L.A., calls the Bloomberg factor: "The fact that the administration is incredibly responsive has created a great opportunity for these organization to do their best work."
Or, as Creative Time head Anne Pasternak says: "With Giuliani you usually didn’t ask for permission, you apologized later. A bunch of us who program in New York have reason to be nervous for when Bloomberg is no longer mayor."
-- Jori Finkel, reporting from New York
Photo: A view of the fiberglass "Splotch 15," 2005, and "Three x Four x Three," 1984, in "Sol LeWitt Structures" at City Hall Park, organized by Public Art Fund. Photo by Jori Finkel.