FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND THE PUBLIC ART FUND ANNOUNCE "JULIAN OPIE: ANIMALS, BUILDINGS, CARS AND PEOPLE" AT CITY HALL PARK
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Public Art Fund today announced their next public art collaboration, "Julian Opie: Animals, Buildings, Cars and People," an exhibition of sculptures by contemporary British artist Julian Opie in City Hall Park. The exhibition is the artist’s most comprehensive U.S. solo show to date, featuring new commissions alongside some of his most iconic works. Opie’s cool, graphic depictions of modern life will be on view in all areas of the historic 19th century park – on its lawns and sidewalks, on the steps of the Department of Education’s headquarters at the Tweed Courthouse and in City Hall. "Animals, Buildings, Cars and People" will be on view in Lower Manhattan from October 28, 2004 through October 2005, and is the third exhibition sponsored by Forest City Ratner Companies that the Public Art Fund has organized in City Hall Park since 2003.
"We are honored to host Julian Opie’s first major exhibition in the United States and welcome the Public Art Fund’s third show to City Hall Park," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We have had a tremendous response to the first two shows and expect that our latest collaboration will complement our City’s thriving public art program. I encourage everyone to visit us in Lower Manhattan, as Julian Opie’s works are sure to inspire New Yorkers and visitors from around the globe."
"City Hall Park provides the perfect environment for Julian Opie’s dynamic sculptures," said Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman. "The combination of the urban streetscape and the bucolic park creates a unique frame through which to view the work of one of today’s most distinctive artists. We are particularly proud to present a major survey of Opie’s work in the public realm of downtown Manhattan. He is an artist whose work can be enjoyed by a wide audience, inviting new and unexpected ways of seeing the world that we inhabit."
Julian Opie’s iconic imagery portrays the familiar physical world, from fashion models to farm animals, from skyscrapers to village churches. His work has been seen all over the world in museums, galleries, corporate atria, shops, airports, and even in a parking garage and a hospital cafeteria. He has rarely shown his sculptures in the United States, though his recent album cover for The Best of Blur is familiar to many.
"Animals, Buildings, Cars and People" is Opie’s first U.S. sculpture survey, featuring ten different series made since 1997. Opie mixes and matches icons of the city, small town, and countryside throughout City Hall Park. At the northern end of the park are two light-emitting diode (L.E.D.) sculptures, Bruce Walking (2004) and Sara Walking (2003), installed on the steps of the Department of Education’s headquarters at the Tweed Courthouse on Chambers Street. These two full-length portraits depict two figures in constant motion as they appear to walk forward.
Around the corner on Broadway, along the western side of the park, are two full-size, three-dimensional sculptures of cars: Imagine you are driving a red Volkswagen and Imagine you are driving a white Honda (both 2004) portray, respectively, a hatchback and a four-door sedan. Nearby is a trio of enamel-on-glass sculptures – This is Kiera, This is Monique, and This is Bijou (all 2004) – each depicting a glamorous female figure. At the southwestern end is a herd of painted wooden animals called Sheep Cow Deer Dog Chicken Cat Goat (1997) and two light-box sculptures, Nantra, pool attendant (2003) and Bijou, model (2004), which feature illuminated portraits of two individuals.
On the eastern side are two more groups of sculpture including Village? (2004), a group of plywood buildings and 6 Escaped Animals (2001), an installation of six street signs depicting forest animals. Standing near the subway entrance on the northeastern side is City? (2004), a cluster of three-dimensional aluminum modernist skyscrapers, and My Aunt’s Sheep (1997), an installation of six enamel-painted aluminum signs of white sheep, grazing on a small grassy area at the northern end of the park. And finally, Tourist #4 (2001), a cluster of nine office buildings, both 19th-century and modernist is located in the lobby of City Hall.
Julian Opie was born in 1958 in London, where he currently lives and works. He attended Goldsmith’s School of Art in London from 1979-82. His first solo exhibition was at Lisson Gallery in London in 1983, where he continues to show his work.
"We are thrilled to host yet another world-class public art exhibition in New York City’s parks," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Since 1967, Parks & Recreation’s temporary public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. It is appropriate that our parks, public works of art themselves, make art more accessible to the people of New York."
"This new exhibition at City Hall Park is a testament to the Administration’s sustained commitment to showcasing temporary artworks in the City’s public spaces," said Commissioner Levin. "Ensuring access to public art is an essential part of civic engagement. These whimsical, energetic artworks animate our urban landscape, offer people a fresh look at the places they see everyday, and ultimately help create a more humane and vibrant New York City."
"Public art is one of our City’s most valuable treasures," said Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein. "We are proud to have this creative display outside of our Department’s headquarters, and I hope that this exhibit inspires each and every one of us who enters this building to serve our City’s public school children with zeal and dedication. Providing a strong foundation in the arts is one of our top priorities, and we will not rest until all of our students receive a quality arts education."
For more information about "Julian Opie: Animals, Buildings, Cars and People" or to tour City Hall, New Yorkers and visitors can call 311 or log onto www.nyc.gov. City Hall and City Hall Park is located in Lower Manhattan, and bordered by Broadway, Chambers Street, Centre Street, and Park Row. The Department of Education’s headquarters at the Tweed Courthouse is located at the north end of the park at 52 Chambers Street. The nearest subway stations are A, C, E to Chambers Street; 4, 5,6, J, M, Z to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall; N, R to City Hall; 2, 3 to Park Place.
The Public Art Fund is New York’s leading presenter of artists’ projects, new commissions, installations and exhibitions in public spaces. "Julian Opie: Animals, Buildings, Cars and People" is the third exhibition the Public Art Fund has organized in City Hall Park since 2003. "MetroSpective at City Hall Park" was on view from January 2003 through October 2003, and was the first temporary public art exhibition in City Hall Park since 1992. "Roy Lichtenstein at City Hall" ran from November 2003 through October 2004, and featured four sculptures by the pop artist.
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Anne Wehr (Public Art Fund) (212) 980-4575
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Download the map and list of artwork (pdf)