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Visit These Cool (Free!) Public Art Pieces Across NYC This Fall

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Along with summer's exit goes (some of) the tourists, leaving many of New York City's public art gems ripe for a calm, reflective visit. From temporary installations in parks to decades-old works that sit as icons in communal plazas, these works thankfully spice up our streets and the city at large. At the moment, there might not be any fluttering orange gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude or man-made waterfalls courtesy of Olafur Eliasson, but maybe that's almost better for evading the crowds and taking the time to actually enjoy this stuff. Best of all, they're free. One last caveat: This list is by no means comprehensive, so please do share your favorite work for the masses in the comments section or via the tipline.


· All Public Art coverage [Curbed]
· Here Now, a Tour of Public Art Around the Curbed Universe [Curbed National]

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Ana Tzarev, "Love"

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Part of a global campaign called "Love and Peace," with similar works in cities like Singapore and Venice, one of Ana Tzarev's 500-pound fiberglass flowers is also the United Nations, where it will be on display until April 2014. The 10-foot-tall poppy took the artist two years to make. [DNAinfo]

239 Tenth Avenue

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Pun-tastic developer Michael Shvo bought this Getty gas station at 239 Tenth Avenue, which will one day be demolished to make way for a luxury condo building, but in the meantime, the developer and art collector is getting creative with public art. "Sheep Station," the work of surrealist sculptor Francois-Xavier Lalanne, turned the old Getty station into an undulating green pasture with a herd of epoxy stone and bronze sheep.

Giuseppe Penone, "Ideas of Stone"

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The latest exhibition to grace Madison Square Park is made up of three 30-foot-tall tree sculptures by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone. Called Ideas of Stone, the site-specific installation includes boulders tucked into bronze branches, which really adds to their masses: 7,000, 10,000, and 12,000 pounds apiece. The public art officially debuted in late September and will be in place through February 9.

Bill Brand, "Masstransiscope"

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Installed in 1980 in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue train station, this interactive piece based on a zoetrope lightbox is only visible from Manhattan-bound B and Q trains. The 228 hand-painted panels are viewed through a series of vertical slits. With some help from the MTA, it was restored in 2008 after two decades of disrepair, and recently fixed up again post-Sandy.

Tony Rosenthal, "Alamo"

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Astor Place is getting a huge makeover, but luckily, Tony Rosenthal's "Alamo"—better known as the Astor Place Cube—is sticking around. According to the artist's website, it was the first permanent contemporary outdoor sculpture installed in New York City. The 1967 piece has become a common meeting point and a site for pranks, plus it spins on its vertical axis. So give it a whirl.

5 Pointz

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Long Island City's storied graffiti mecca is not long for this world, so see it while you can. After more than 100 years, these historic buildings, now covered in spray-painted murals, are headed for the wrecking ball. If the City Council approves the redevelopment plans, which it's likely to do, building owner David Wolkoff says the block will be demolished by the end of 2013. Needless to say, people are sad to see it go.

Chris Burden, "Extreme Measures"

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As part of veteran artist Chris Burden's exhibit, "Extreme Measures," two works adorn the new museum's facade. A pair of 36-foot-tall towers at its very apex is meant to represent the changing cityscape as well as evoke the Twin Towers. Then, the Ghost Ship, a a handmade 30-foot sailing boat that hangs from one of the lower floors, is equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS system and, eight years ago, sailed 400 miles unmanned from Fair Isle, Scotland, to Newcastle. [Photo via CultureGrrl]

Keith Haring, "Crack Is Wack"

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In what is now known as the Crack Is Wack Playground, Haring painted this mural in 1986. Although initially executed without City permission, the mural received protection and is still standing today, visible from the FDR drive. It’s one of Haring’s most well-known murals and probably the best example of his social commentary available in New York City.

Art Students League, "Model to Monument (M2M)"

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A stroll along the waterfront in Riverside Park South is made better by the inclusion of the eight playful sculptures on view between 59th and 72nd Streets. Created through a continuing collaboration with the Arts Students League, the works will be up 'til May 2014.

The Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project

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Seagulls, surfers, and waves, in segments painted by three different artists, define the Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project, which stretches 1.5 miles along Shorefront Parkway in Sandy-battered Rockaway, Queens. The goal is to make the ongoing reconstruction work more pleasant with art inspired by the locale.

Richard Serra (Sort Of)

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Not technically a work of art since "a Serra is not a Serra until Mr. Serra says it is." Until then, it’s just a hunk of metal, but the oddity of an un-assembled Richard Serra sculpture behind a chain-link fence in the Port Morris section of the South Bronx is too good not to mention. The five plates has sat there “for years,” waiting to be delivered to its owner on Long Island. [Photo credit: Book of Joe]

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Ana Tzarev, "Love"

Part of a global campaign called "Love and Peace," with similar works in cities like Singapore and Venice, one of Ana Tzarev's 500-pound fiberglass flowers is also the United Nations, where it will be on display until April 2014. The 10-foot-tall poppy took the artist two years to make. [DNAinfo]

239 Tenth Avenue

Pun-tastic developer Michael Shvo bought this Getty gas station at 239 Tenth Avenue, which will one day be demolished to make way for a luxury condo building, but in the meantime, the developer and art collector is getting creative with public art. "Sheep Station," the work of surrealist sculptor Francois-Xavier Lalanne, turned the old Getty station into an undulating green pasture with a herd of epoxy stone and bronze sheep.

Giuseppe Penone, "Ideas of Stone"

The latest exhibition to grace Madison Square Park is made up of three 30-foot-tall tree sculptures by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone. Called Ideas of Stone, the site-specific installation includes boulders tucked into bronze branches, which really adds to their masses: 7,000, 10,000, and 12,000 pounds apiece. The public art officially debuted in late September and will be in place through February 9.

Bill Brand, "Masstransiscope"

Installed in 1980 in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue train station, this interactive piece based on a zoetrope lightbox is only visible from Manhattan-bound B and Q trains. The 228 hand-painted panels are viewed through a series of vertical slits. With some help from the MTA, it was restored in 2008 after two decades of disrepair, and recently fixed up again post-Sandy.

Tony Rosenthal, "Alamo"

Astor Place is getting a huge makeover, but luckily, Tony Rosenthal's "Alamo"—better known as the Astor Place Cube—is sticking around. According to the artist's website, it was the first permanent contemporary outdoor sculpture installed in New York City. The 1967 piece has become a common meeting point and a site for pranks, plus it spins on its vertical axis. So give it a whirl.

5 Pointz

Long Island City's storied graffiti mecca is not long for this world, so see it while you can. After more than 100 years, these historic buildings, now covered in spray-painted murals, are headed for the wrecking ball. If the City Council approves the redevelopment plans, which it's likely to do, building owner David Wolkoff says the block will be demolished by the end of 2013. Needless to say, people are sad to see it go.

Chris Burden, "Extreme Measures"

As part of veteran artist Chris Burden's exhibit, "Extreme Measures," two works adorn the new museum's facade. A pair of 36-foot-tall towers at its very apex is meant to represent the changing cityscape as well as evoke the Twin Towers. Then, the Ghost Ship, a a handmade 30-foot sailing boat that hangs from one of the lower floors, is equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS system and, eight years ago, sailed 400 miles unmanned from Fair Isle, Scotland, to Newcastle. [Photo via CultureGrrl]

Keith Haring, "Crack Is Wack"

In what is now known as the Crack Is Wack Playground, Haring painted this mural in 1986. Although initially executed without City permission, the mural received protection and is still standing today, visible from the FDR drive. It’s one of Haring’s most well-known murals and probably the best example of his social commentary available in New York City.

Art Students League, "Model to Monument (M2M)"

A stroll along the waterfront in Riverside Park South is made better by the inclusion of the eight playful sculptures on view between 59th and 72nd Streets. Created through a continuing collaboration with the Arts Students League, the works will be up 'til May 2014.

The Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project

Seagulls, surfers, and waves, in segments painted by three different artists, define the Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project, which stretches 1.5 miles along Shorefront Parkway in Sandy-battered Rockaway, Queens. The goal is to make the ongoing reconstruction work more pleasant with art inspired by the locale.

Richard Serra (Sort Of)

Not technically a work of art since "a Serra is not a Serra until Mr. Serra says it is." Until then, it’s just a hunk of metal, but the oddity of an un-assembled Richard Serra sculpture behind a chain-link fence in the Port Morris section of the South Bronx is too good not to mention. The five plates has sat there “for years,” waiting to be delivered to its owner on Long Island. [Photo credit: Book of Joe]