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June 13, 2016

Mary Miss Named First New York City Department of Design and Construction Artist-in-Residence

Exploring the intersection of art, architecture and public design

Mary Miss

Shavone Williams
Department of Design and Construction

Ryan Max
Department of Cultural Affairs

Long Island City, NY—The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) announced today that Mary Miss has been named DDC’s first official Artist-in-Residence, where she will explore the intersection of art, architecture and public design through her creative practice. The one-year residency will join the City’s official Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) program launched in 2015 under DCLA.

“Mary Miss has a significant body of public art projects and community-based arts initiatives that address key DDC priorities of equity, sustainability, resiliency, and healthy living,” said DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora. “In this newly created residency, Ms. Miss will influence and catalyze a wide range of projects and analyze the existing organizational culture at DDC to better understand how and where there may be opportunities for artists on project sites or within the agency itself.

“Bringing the sensibility of an artist into the mix allows for transformative rethinking of how public places and civic space can welcome and inspire,” said Commissioner Peña-Mora. “At the neighborhood level, her insight will respond to the local impact of construction activities and will highlight the importance of public art at our buildings and sites.”

Mary Miss will host her first DDC Talks event, “City As Living Lab: Engaging the Arts in Reimagining the City” on June 15th from 10:00 AM to noon at La Guardia Community College Little Theater at 31-10 Thomson Avenue in Long Island City. She will present the strategies she has been developing through her City As Living Laboratory initiative to increase citizen awareness and potential for action around key environmental and social issues.

“Over the past decade in my City as Living Lab project I have been developing ideas about new, essential roles for artists in the public realm that allow them to help cities communicate the pressing issues of our times,” said Ms. Miss. “The goal is to find as many routes as possible to engage artists in reimagining cities for the 21st century in terms of finding ways for citizens to become participants in envisioning a future of sustenance. It is a remarkable opportunity to work within DDC to explore ‘access points’ for artists to address issues of social, environmental and economic sustainability within the built environment.”

“The Department of Cultural Affairs started its Public Artists in Residence program last year to open new channels for the creative community to work inside City agencies to explore and enhance services,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Our partners throughout the Administration have embraced this innovative approach and we applaud DDC for spearheading this newest artist residency. We welcome Mary Miss to the cohort of artists working with the City, and look forward to watching this exciting collaboration with DDC develop.”

“The work of Mary Miss in New York and other cities around the world is at the cutting edge of the discussion of how public art inspires, informs and provokes change,” said DDC Chief Architect Margaret Castillo, FAIA. “We are counting on DDC’s inaugural Public Artist in Residence program – with Mary Miss as the first person to fill the role – to bring Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 to the next level.”

The PAIR program was inspired by artist Mierle Ukeles’ pioneering residency with the Department of Sanitation. DCLA launched its expansion of the program in 2015, placing artists in City agencies who focus on addressing civic and social issues through creative practice. In addition to DDC, other participating agencies and offices include the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Department of Veterans Services and NYCHA.

About Mary Miss

Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time. She has developed the “City as Living Laboratory,” a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts. Trained as a sculptor, her work creates situations emphasizing a site’s history, its ecology, or aspects of the environment that have gone unnoticed.

Mary Miss has collaborated closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and public administrators on projects as diverse as creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, marking the predicted flood level of Boulder, Colorado, revealing the history of the Union Square Subway station in New York City or turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space. Recent projects include an installation focused on water resources in China for the Olympic Park in Beijing and a temporary installation at a seventeenth-century park in Delhi, India, as part of the exhibition 49◦: Public Art and Ecology. A proposal for a permanent project at the North Carolina Museum of Art explores the presence and movement of water through the museum site by recovering and revitalizing elements of the watershed to reveal the wetland processes in the region.

A recipient of multiple awards, Mary Miss has been the subject of exhibitions at the Harvard University Art Museum, Brown University Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Architectural Association in London, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and the Des Moines Art Center. Her work can be seen at and

About the NYC Department of Design And Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit