Public Art

Natural Landscapes

That's the apt title of this piece, which comes to us from a nature reserve in Portishead, UK. The artist is a design collective called Cod Steaks, who, in addition to public art, do 3D design and model making. The piece is molded out of clear resin. Cod Steaks says that the artwork "...enhances the environment in which it sits, without interfering with or disturbing the wildlife and various nesting birds on the reservoir banks."

Yesterday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced the installation of several new pieces of public art around the city. “Public art installations allow Chicagoans to be active participants in arts and culture, and as part of the Chicago Cultural Plan, we’ve made progress on a number of fronts to bring the arts directly to Chicago neighborhoods,” he said in the release. None of the new art caught our eye here at Site Specific, but a piece that has been quietly holding down a corner of the city since last November couldn't help but catch our attention.

This Saturday in New York City, beneath a street fair featuring yoga and a zipline, you can go underground and experience something altogether different. A sound installation by artist Jana Wendering and audio producer Tom Wyatt brings the sounds of the deep ocean to the Park Avenue Tunnel. Crustaceans, fish and other undersea creatures can be heard echoing through the 7-block subterranean space.

Damien Hirst, one of the famed YBA (Young British Artists), apparently also has a taste for placemaking. Reportedly the world's richest artist, Hirst lives in a small British town (pop. 10,000) called Ilfracombe. Ilfracombe was settled almost a thousand years ago, and has remained fairly true to its history over the years. Hirst has been dabbling in development around town, but his new plan is much more ambitious.

A couple of weeks ago, artist Ryan McGuinness, as part of an official Department of Transportation art project, installed a series of signs on streetlight poles around Manhattan. The signs are shaped a bit like skateboards and are clearly influenced by instructional signage, but include fanciful and decorative imagery. To McGuinness' surprise (and no one else's) many of his art pieces were cut down and stolen within a few days of being installed.

Art superstar Ai Wei Wei recently teamed up with Navajo artist Bert Benally to create "Pull of the Moon", a temporary installation in Coyote Canyon in the Navajo Nation (165 miles outside of Albuquerque, NM). The work is part of the Navajo TIME (Temporary Installations Made for the Environment) project, a partnership between New Mexico Arts and the Navajo Nation Museum.

When you see a sign that tells you "KEEP OUT", how tempted are you to throw caution to the wind and go in anyway? Artist Christian Moeller, a professor at UCLA, plays with that instinct in this piece called "DO NOT TOUCH". Watch the video after the jump.