clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Three individuals under a triangular art installation in a park. Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, Dev Harlan, and NYC Parks

New York’s best public art installations this season

Get outside to check out some of the best art in New York City

View as Map

Now that the holidays are past us and we have reached a new year—and decade!—it’s time to revisit our list of temporary public art installations of the season. These pieces enliven the urban landscape with abstract pieces, selfie-worthy moments, and more.

Here, we’ve collected more than a dozen worth scouting in the next few months, in the five boroughs. As more cool projects come to light, we’ll update the map—and as always, if you know of anything that we may have missed, let us know in the comments.

Read More

Lateral Office, CS Design, EGP Group: “Impulse”

Copy Link

Impulse, an interactive installation made up of 12 oversized illuminating seesaws, will be on Broadway, in the Garment District, until January 31. Part of the Garment District Alliance’s public art program, the installation will be located on a block temporarily closed to traffic between 37th and 38th streets. As passersby hop on them, seesaws illuminate and emit sounds, transforming the area into “a gleaming winter wonderland,” the description reads.

Alexandre Ayer, courtesy of the Garment District Alliance

Rubem Rubierb: “Dream Machine: Dandara”

Copy Link

On view until May 4 in Tribeca park, Dream Machine: Dandara from Brazilian artist Rubem Robierb, features two ten-foot high pearl white fiberglass wings with a space in between for viewers to place themselves. It’s part of the artists’s Dream Machine series, a set of sculptures named after someone “forgotten or famous who lived or died fighting for their own dreams, or for the dreams of others,” the installation description says. This one is named after a transgender woman who was murdered in Brazil in 2017.

Courtesy of NYC Parks

Simone Leigh: “Brick House”

Copy Link

“Brick House” by artist Simone Leigh, on view at The High Line’s Spur, features a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a Black woman. The bust, “a combination of the forms of a skirt and a clay house,” the installation’s description reads, is part of Leigh’s “Anatomy of Architecture” series that merges architectural forms from different regions of the world with the human body. The sculpture will be on view until September 30, 2020. 

Ailene Fields: “Once Upon a Time and The Frog Prince”

Copy Link

At Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, in Midtown, two statues by artist Ailene Fields will be on view until April 26. Both bronze and stone statues—one of a fairy on a branch and another one of a large frog prince—allude to the artist’s fascination for ancient Greek and Roman mythology.

Courtesy of Six Summit Gallery

Jean-Marie Appriou: “The Horses”

Copy Link

On view until August 30, 2020, this Public Art Fund installation by French artist Jean-Marie Appriou features large equine sculptures made from cast aluminum, inspired by the carriage horses that carry tourists around Central Park and its surrounding area. The artist reimagines the horses, the installation description says, with “jagged textures and silvery surfaces [that] create a dynamic play of light and shadow as we move around them.”

Three cast aluminum horse statues in one of the entrances of Central Park. Nicholas Knight, courtesy of Public Art Fund

Nicolas Holiber: “Birds on Broadway, the Audubon Sculpture Project”

Copy Link

On view along Broadway from 64th Street to 157th Street, Holiber’s installation features 10 sculptures of NYC birds in danger of extinction. The sculptures are made of reclaimed and untreated lumber, allowing natural forces to affect them and “highlight the environmental challenges faced by each species,” per the installation description. Some of the species featured include the peregrine falcon, scarlet tanager, snowy owl, and wood duck.

A large sculpture of a bird made out of reclaimed and untreated lumber. NYC Parks

Naomi Lawrence: “La Flor De Mi Madre”

Copy Link

“La Flor De Mi Madre,” by artist Naomi Lawrence at Eugene McCabe Field in East Harlem, features three large crocheted flowers made of acrylic yarn, as well as smaller ones made in collaboration with neighborhood artists. The flowers represent East Harlem’s diversity, including a pink dahlia representing Mexico, a yellow Christmas orchid representing Colombia, a red hibiscus representing Puerto Rico, impala lilies representing Ghana, lush pink bayahibe representing the Dominican Republic, and white frangipani representing the Ivory Coast. The installation will be on view until June 25, 2020.

A group of crocheted flowers attached to a gate that surrounds a field, in East Harlem. Courtesy of NYC Parks and Naomi Lawrence

“Uptown GrandScale Mural”

Copy Link

Organized by nonprofit Uptown Grand Central, 50 local artists came together to paint 1,500 feet of construction panels along East 125th Street, the area near Harlem’s Metro-North station. Artists who participated—including Shiro, Marthalicia, and TooFly—were given between 32 and 96 feet of fencing area to paint. “We have learned the power of public art to both uplift the neighborhood and inspire hopes for the future,” Carey King, director of Uptown Grand Central, said in a statement about the collaborative project, which took place during three weekends in September.

Uptown Grand Central

Nacinimod Deodee: “A Long Walk to Freedom and Reflection”

Copy Link

On view until June 19 in Harlem’s Colonel Charles Young Triangle, a three-part exhibition by artist Nacinimod Deodee features a fence installation that runs along Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard with the numbers 1619, in reference to the year that American slavery began, and an infinity symbol. It also features a yarn installation in the park’s benches and lamp posts. Harlem Needle Arts presents the exhibition.

Courtesy of Harlem Needle Arts

Chat Travieso: “The Boogie Down (Youth) Booth”

Copy Link

On view until May 31, 2020, “The Boogie Down (Youth) Booth” by artist Chat Travieso is located in Keltch Park, on 170th Street and Jerome Avenue. The artist was inspired by the Yes Loitering Project, an initiative that researched how teenagers might be excluded from public spaces and ways to create more spaces for them. The installation features a seating area, solar-powered lights, and speakers that stream music continuously, honoring “the sounds of the borough,” such as salsa, jazz, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, blues, hip-hop, and Garifuna.

A colorful seating area—pink, blue, and yellow—with a cover and a sign that says “Bronx Music.” Chat Travieso, “The Boogie Down (Youth) Booth”, courtesy of the artist and NYC Parks.

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong & Dev Harlan: “POOLTIME”

Copy Link

“POOLTIME,” by artists Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong and Dev Harlan honors the now-defunct Aquacade, an aquatic amphitheater built for the 1939 World’s Fair. That space was a community hub “even decades after many of the other World’s Fair attractions had fallen into decay and disuse,” the description reads. Located at the north end of Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the installation recreates the experience of being under the water of a pool. On view until June 8, 2020, the installation is part of a larger programming initiative centered around the park as a site for the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs.

Three individuals under a triangular art installation in a park. Courtesy of Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, Dev Harlan, and NYC Parks

Yvonne Shortt with Jenna Boldebuck, Mayuko Fujino, and Joel Esquite: “Rigged”

Copy Link

On view in MacDonald Park until July 9, Rigged features a three-dimensional maze with rabbits and carrots, along with a text that reads “Why do so few have what so many need?” According to its description, the installation is a “visual commentary on our social, political, and economic systems.” The sculpture has a window and a series of staircase but seemingly no entry or exit from it. The maze was designed by nonprofit RPGA Studio, Inc. and the community designed the rabbit/carrot pieces.

Courtesy of the artists

Jose Carlos Casado, Community: “You never really know your own language until you study another”

Copy Link

An interactive exhibition that includes an augmented reality app (designed by artist Jose Carlos Casado), this installation features posters, similar to those made for protests, with abstractions of 10 community volunteers’s hands. Casado captured images of their palms and ran them through a 3D imaging software. The volunteers are also painted on the side of each structure. This installation will be on view until April 5, 2020.

Several colorful posters in the middle of a park. NYC Parks

Bill Soltis: “Under the Sun”

Copy Link

In Park Slope, on the Greenstreet triangle between Seventh Avenue and Park Place, an installation by artist Bill Soltis will be on view until July 31. Part of the “Under the Sun” series about “experimentation with the human form, positive and negative relationships and the interplay between the figure and a sculptural environment,” the description reads. Soltis’s works are usually an experimentation with patterns, lines, images, and shapes.

Courtesy of the artist

Fitzhugh Karol: “Field’s Jax IV”

Copy Link

Brooklyn-based sculptor Fitzhugh Karol created “Field’s Jax,” a series of four installations placed around Dumbo, out of recycled steel. Karol challenges viewers to look for the next one and explore the neighborhood. It will be on view until April 28, 2020.

A red figure installed in a park, made out of recycled steel. NYC Parks

Harold Ancart: “Subliminal Standard”

Copy Link

Also on view until 2020, Belgian-born artist Harold Ancart created a painted concrete sculpture inspired by New York City’s handball courts. “Popularized by early 20th century immigrants to the United States, handball is among the most democratic sports, requiring nothing more than a small ball and a wall to play,” the Public Art Fund installation description reads.

A structure similar to a handball court painted in white, red, and beige. Several individuals can be seen walking over it. Nicholas Knight, courtesy Public Art Fund, NY

Sundog Theatre, Inc. with Lina Montoya and students from PS 39: “The Immigrant Journey – Past Meets Present”

Copy Link

A collaboration between artist Lina Montoya and students from P.S. 39, this installation at Arrochar Playground was inspired by the Staten Island Ferry and the boats that came to Ellis Island and is a tribute to immigrant communities. On view until June 12, it is attached to a fence and features a boat full of butterflies, the Statue of Liberty, an airplane, and a square figure that represents the southern border.

Courtesy of Sundog Theatre

Loading comments...

Lateral Office, CS Design, EGP Group: “Impulse”

Alexandre Ayer, courtesy of the Garment District Alliance

Impulse, an interactive installation made up of 12 oversized illuminating seesaws, will be on Broadway, in the Garment District, until January 31. Part of the Garment District Alliance’s public art program, the installation will be located on a block temporarily closed to traffic between 37th and 38th streets. As passersby hop on them, seesaws illuminate and emit sounds, transforming the area into “a gleaming winter wonderland,” the description reads.

Alexandre Ayer, courtesy of the Garment District Alliance

Rubem Rubierb: “Dream Machine: Dandara”

Courtesy of NYC Parks

On view until May 4 in Tribeca park, Dream Machine: Dandara from Brazilian artist Rubem Robierb, features two ten-foot high pearl white fiberglass wings with a space in between for viewers to place themselves. It’s part of the artists’s Dream Machine series, a set of sculptures named after someone “forgotten or famous who lived or died fighting for their own dreams, or for the dreams of others,” the installation description says. This one is named after a transgender woman who was murdered in Brazil in 2017.

Courtesy of NYC Parks

Simone Leigh: “Brick House”

“Brick House” by artist Simone Leigh, on view at The High Line’s Spur, features a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a Black woman. The bust, “a combination of the forms of a skirt and a clay house,” the installation’s description reads, is part of Leigh’s “Anatomy of Architecture” series that merges architectural forms from different regions of the world with the human body. The sculpture will be on view until September 30, 2020. 

Ailene Fields: “Once Upon a Time and The Frog Prince”

Courtesy of Six Summit Gallery

At Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, in Midtown, two statues by artist Ailene Fields will be on view until April 26. Both bronze and stone statues—one of a fairy on a branch and another one of a large frog prince—allude to the artist’s fascination for ancient Greek and Roman mythology.

Courtesy of Six Summit Gallery

Jean-Marie Appriou: “The Horses”

Three cast aluminum horse statues in one of the entrances of Central Park. Nicholas Knight, courtesy of Public Art Fund

On view until August 30, 2020, this Public Art Fund installation by French artist Jean-Marie Appriou features large equine sculptures made from cast aluminum, inspired by the carriage horses that carry tourists around Central Park and its surrounding area. The artist reimagines the horses, the installation description says, with “jagged textures and silvery surfaces [that] create a dynamic play of light and shadow as we move around them.”

Three cast aluminum horse statues in one of the entrances of Central Park. Nicholas Knight, courtesy of Public Art Fund

Nicolas Holiber: “Birds on Broadway, the Audubon Sculpture Project”

A large sculpture of a bird made out of reclaimed and untreated lumber. NYC Parks

On view along Broadway from 64th Street to 157th Street, Holiber’s installation features 10 sculptures of NYC birds in danger of extinction. The sculptures are made of reclaimed and untreated lumber, allowing natural forces to affect them and “highlight the environmental challenges faced by each species,” per the installation description. Some of the species featured include the peregrine falcon, scarlet tanager, snowy owl, and wood duck.

A large sculpture of a bird made out of reclaimed and untreated lumber. NYC Parks

Naomi Lawrence: “La Flor De Mi Madre”

A group of crocheted flowers attached to a gate that surrounds a field, in East Harlem. Courtesy of NYC Parks and Naomi Lawrence

“La Flor De Mi Madre,” by artist Naomi Lawrence at Eugene McCabe Field in East Harlem, features three large crocheted flowers made of acrylic yarn, as well as smaller ones made in collaboration with neighborhood artists. The flowers represent East Harlem’s diversity, including a pink dahlia representing Mexico, a yellow Christmas orchid representing Colombia, a red hibiscus representing Puerto Rico, impala lilies representing Ghana, lush pink bayahibe representing the Dominican Republic, and white frangipani representing the Ivory Coast. The installation will be on view until June 25, 2020.

A group of crocheted flowers attached to a gate that surrounds a field, in East Harlem. Courtesy of NYC Parks and Naomi Lawrence

“Uptown GrandScale Mural”

Uptown Grand Central

Organized by nonprofit Uptown Grand Central, 50 local artists came together to paint 1,500 feet of construction panels along East 125th Street, the area near Harlem’s Metro-North station. Artists who participated—including Shiro, Marthalicia, and TooFly—were given between 32 and 96 feet of fencing area to paint. “We have learned the power of public art to both uplift the neighborhood and inspire hopes for the future,” Carey King, director of Uptown Grand Central, said in a statement about the collaborative project, which took place during three weekends in September.

Uptown Grand Central

Nacinimod Deodee: “A Long Walk to Freedom and Reflection”

Courtesy of Harlem Needle Arts

On view until June 19 in Harlem’s Colonel Charles Young Triangle, a three-part exhibition by artist Nacinimod Deodee features a fence installation that runs along Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard with the numbers 1619, in reference to the year that American slavery began, and an infinity symbol. It also features a yarn installation in the park’s benches and lamp posts. Harlem Needle Arts presents the exhibition.

Courtesy of Harlem Needle Arts

Chat Travieso: “The Boogie Down (Youth) Booth”

A colorful seating area—pink, blue, and yellow—with a cover and a sign that says “Bronx Music.” Chat Travieso, “The Boogie Down (Youth) Booth”, courtesy of the artist and NYC Parks.

On view until May 31, 2020, “The Boogie Down (Youth) Booth” by artist Chat Travieso is located in Keltch Park, on 170th Street and Jerome Avenue. The artist was inspired by the Yes Loitering Project, an initiative that researched how teenagers might be excluded from public spaces and ways to create more spaces for them. The installation features a seating area, solar-powered lights, and speakers that stream music continuously, honoring “the sounds of the borough,” such as salsa, jazz, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, blues, hip-hop, and Garifuna.

A colorful seating area—pink, blue, and yellow—with a cover and a sign that says “Bronx Music.” Chat Travieso, “The Boogie Down (Youth) Booth”, courtesy of the artist and NYC Parks.

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong & Dev Harlan: “POOLTIME”

Three individuals under a triangular art installation in a park. Courtesy of Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, Dev Harlan, and NYC Parks

“POOLTIME,” by artists Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong and Dev Harlan honors the now-defunct Aquacade, an aquatic amphitheater built for the 1939 World’s Fair. That space was a community hub “even decades after many of the other World’s Fair attractions had fallen into decay and disuse,” the description reads. Located at the north end of Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the installation recreates the experience of being under the water of a pool. On view until June 8, 2020, the installation is part of a larger programming initiative centered around the park as a site for the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs.

Three individuals under a triangular art installation in a park. Courtesy of Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, Dev Harlan, and NYC Parks

Yvonne Shortt with Jenna Boldebuck, Mayuko Fujino, and Joel Esquite: “Rigged”

Courtesy of the artists

On view in MacDonald Park until July 9, Rigged features a three-dimensional maze with rabbits and carrots, along with a text that reads “Why do so few have what so many need?” According to its description, the installation is a “visual commentary on our social, political, and economic systems.” The sculpture has a window and a series of staircase but seemingly no entry or exit from it. The maze was designed by nonprofit RPGA Studio, Inc. and the community designed the rabbit/carrot pieces.

Courtesy of the artists

Jose Carlos Casado, Community: “You never really know your own language until you study another”

Several colorful posters in the middle of a park. NYC Parks

An interactive exhibition that includes an augmented reality app (designed by artist Jose Carlos Casado), this installation features posters, similar to those made for protests, with abstractions of 10 community volunteers’s hands. Casado captured images of their palms and ran them through a 3D imaging software. The volunteers are also painted on the side of each structure. This installation will be on view until April 5, 2020.

Several colorful posters in the middle of a park. NYC Parks

Bill Soltis: “Under the Sun”

Courtesy of the artist

In Park Slope, on the Greenstreet triangle between Seventh Avenue and Park Place, an installation by artist Bill Soltis will be on view until July 31. Part of the “Under the Sun” series about “experimentation with the human form, positive and negative relationships and the interplay between the figure and a sculptural environment,” the description reads. Soltis’s works are usually an experimentation with patterns, lines, images, and shapes.