paley on park (ave)

One of the things I’ll miss about New York is the art. The art that’s EVERYWHERE. There are galleries and museums all over the place, and it’s easy enough to wander from one to the next. In Shanghai? Not so easy. And not as great.

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Park Avenue has this thing where they display sculptures spanning a number of blocks. Last summer I posted about a series of sculptures by Rafael Barrios along Park Avenue, so I felt like I had to post something about the new sculptures by Albert Paley that are now up there. There’s a lucky total of 13 of them metal things, all abstract and twisty and industrial. They kind of look like some projects I did in architecture undergrad out of bristol board. Anyhow, they’re supposed to be up until November.

They varied in color and complexity, and some were definitely more successful than others (the horizontal white one was definitely one of the better ones). Due to their placement you never see more than one sculpture at a time, which is necessary … because these kinds of sculptures stand alone.

New York doesn’t really need sculptures on Park Avenue, but I love the fact that they’re there. That people actually fund public artwork, especially in a city like New York, where it’s so dense and your tiny crumbling little apartment costs more than half your salary and the subway is a smelly, trash-strewn, rat-infested slice of hell … that there are places like Central Park and the NYPL and Grand Central and there are sculptures and mosaics and murals everywhere … that makes me smile and remember why New York is one of the best cities in the world.

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park ave illusions

I have left New York for the summer, and I must say … it’s weird. It’s weird because I don’t walk. It’s weird because I have to drive everywhere. It’s weird because it’s so quiet. It’s weird because everything is SO SLOW. Sigh. While I do appreciate the relaxing pace here and the fact that every interior space is air conditioned, it’s a change. I think I definitely prefer city life. I still have some pictures from New York that I’ve been meaning to blog about, so here are a few from the end of April.

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One of the things I miss about New York is all the art. For example, on Park Avenue (I think they’ll be there until June) there were sculptures by Rafael Barrios … and they were awesome! When you first see them, they look like three-dimensional geometric shapes, but as you crossed the street you realize that BAM! They’re pretty much flat.

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Pretty cool, eh? I thought so. There was a whole series of these sculptures on Park Avenue of different shapes and colors. Here’s another one:

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And as you cross Park Ave and stand on the median:

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So cool. New York is able to have sculptures like that because the optical illusions rely on the perspective of the viewer. Since there’s heavy traffic (car and pedestrian) along and across Park Avenue, it works. Plus, they’re pretty. And New Yorkers generally like art. There are few wide medians like these that don’t have a sculpture of some sort, and since they change every now and then, it’s always nice to just walk around the city. I couldn’t imagine the same series of sculptures working in a city like Houston. Unlike New York, Houston is so spread out and lacking density that most people probably wouldn’t even notice the sculptures since streets are so wide and cars just drive on by.

Anyway, this summer I have an internship lined up in the Museum District, so that’ll give me a chance to check out what this city has to offer in terms of the arts. I don’t think it could possibly compare to New York, but hey, few cities can.