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PR- 383-08
September 26, 2008


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented the 2008 Doris C. Freedman Award to artist Olafur Eliasson and the Public Art Fund for The New York City Waterfalls. The Doris C. Freedman Award was established in 1982 by Executive Order, to acknowledge an individual or organization for "a contribution to the people of the City of New York that greatly enriches the public environment." It is dedicated to the memory and vision of Doris Chanin Freedman (1928-1981), a Director of New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as the President of the Municipal Art Society and Founder of the Public Art Fund. The Mayor was joined at the awards ceremony at Gracie Mansion by First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris; Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin; Olafur Eliasson; Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman, daughter of Doris C. Freedman as well as daughters Karen and Nina P. Freedman and other members of the Freedman Family; Public Art Fund Director Rochelle Steiner, and past recipients of the Doris C. Freedman Award.

"Doris Freedman was the founder of the Public Art Fund, and she believed that all New Yorkers deserved the chance to interact with their city in new, constantly surprising ways," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Waterfalls have had a major impact on New York City - and I'm not just talking about the glowing critical reception they received, or the financial benefits we have received from the many visitors. This project proclaims that New York City is home to bold visions and visionaries. It says this is the place to bring big ideas - and to see them come alive."

"It gives me such pleasure that the Public Art Fund, along with the visionary Olafur Eliasson, is the recipient of an award named in memory of my mother," said Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman. "Every day the Public Art Fund strives to bring art to the people of New York City - to ask them to look at their environment more closely and examine their role within the City. My mother devoted much of her life to these goals and I believe she would be very proud that her legacy has reached unparalleled heights with the presentation of Olafur's The New York City Waterfalls. "

Commissioned by Public Art Fund, in collaboration with the City of New York, The New York City Waterfalls is four monumental, man-made waterfalls temporarily installed at sites along the waterfront in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Governors Island: one on the Brooklyn anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge, one between Piers 4 and 5 below the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, one in Lower Manhattan at Pier 35 north of the Manhattan Bridge, and one on the north shore of Governors Island. The 90- to 120-foot-tall Waterfalls are erected on the shoreline and have been designed to protect water quality and aquatic life.

Olafur Eliasson was born in Copenhagen in 1967, grew up in both Iceland and Denmark, and attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Throughout his career, he has taken inspiration from natural elements and phenomena, such as light, wind, fog and water to create sculptures and installations that evoke sensory experiences. He is perhaps best known for The weather project (2003) at Tate Modern in London, a giant sun made of 200 yellow lamps, mirrors and mist that transformed the museum's massive Turbine Hall and drew over 2 million visitors during its five month installation.

Susan Freedman is the President of the Public Art Fund. She currently serves as the Mayor's representative on the Board of the Museum of Modern Art and as a member of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission. Susan is also on the Boards of the Municipal Art Society, the Eldridge Street Project, WNYC Radio, and is Vice President of the Board for the City Parks Foundation. She is a recipient of the 1999 Art Commission Annual Award and the 2005 Evangeline Blashfield Award.

Since 1977, Public Art Fund has worked with over 500 emerging and established artists to produce innovative temporary exhibitions of contemporary art throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, the Public Art Fund provides a unique platform for an unparalleled encounter with the art of our time. Current projects presented by the Public Art Fund on view in New York include James Yamada's Our Starry Night at Doris C. Freedman Plaza at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue, through October 28 and Everyday Eden at MetroTech Center in Brooklyn, through October 17. Recent critically acclaimed exhibitions and presentations include Rodney Graham's The Rodney Graham Band live, featuring the amazing Rotary Psycho-Opticon at the Abrons Arts Center (April 2008); Sarah Lucas's Perceval at Doris C. Freedman Plaza (2008); Dara Friedman's Musical at multiple midtown Manhattan locations (2007); Alexander Calder in New York at City Hall Park (2006-7); Sarah Morris's Robert Towne at Lever House (2006-7); Anish Kapoor's Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center (2006); and Sarah Sze's Corner Plot at Doris C. Freedman Plaza (2006).

Past recipients of the Doris C. Freedman Award, many of whom attended the ceremony are: David Rivel and Jean Troubh, 2007; Barry Benepe and Robert Lewis, 2006; Jeanne-Claude and Christo, 2005; Richard Kahan, 2004; Edward I. Koch, 2003; The Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority, 2002; The J.M. Kaplan Fund, 1992; Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and its Founder, Halina Rosenthal, 1991; Dancing in the Streets, 1990; Richard J. Haas, 1989; Studio In A School, 1988; Mark di Suvero, 1987; Margot Gayle and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 1986; William H. Whyte, 1984; and Ronay Menschel, 1983.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Stacy Bolton (Public Art Fund)   (212) 721-5350

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