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Petros Chrisostomou, digital rendering of “Sky Feather” public art project at 124th & 125th streets in Harlem. It’s scheduled to fly in April 2014. (image courtesy the artist)

Feathers fall from the sky all the time. The wind plucks them from birds’ bodies, and they fall fast whilst spinning in circles. Once upon the ground, human fingers may pick them up and gaze at the way light shines through. Or perhaps they just sit there on the cold gray ground, eventually turning to city grunge under the feet of fast-moving pedestrians. What if one of those feathers was blown up to epic proportions and positioned in a highly-trafficked space?

Brooklyn-based sculptor Petros Chrisostomou is in the process of creating “Sky Feather,” his first large-scale artwork in New York City — a giant feather that will occupy a public space in Harlem at the median of 124th and 125th Streets and Lenox Avenue. The New York City Department of Transport has already given Chrisostomou the okay to use this public space. Now he is raising funds for the creation of it via the crowdsourcing platform USA Projects. The project will go into production in January 2014 and will be installed by early April 2014, where it will remain on view for one year.


Alicia Eler


Andy Goldsworthy’s tree sliding into the Presidio’s Powder Magazine building. Photo:

The artist Andy Goldsworthy is creating a new work for the Presidio of San Francisco, the national park that was formerly a military base. The artist will hang a felled tree covered in cracked clay from the ceiling of a building within the park that was once used by the Army to store explosives.

According to the Presidio Trust’s website, Tree Fall will be “a fully reversible” work installed in the Powder Magazine building, “a small (25 feet by 30 feet) and currently inaccessible masonry structure”. “The gunpowder room would’ve been a fairly dangerous place to be, so [the work] will have that sense of caution to it,” Goldsworthy says. Due to be completed by the end of August, Tree Fall will be the artist’s third project in the park, following Spire, 2008, and Wood Line, 2011.


Pac Pobric
The Art Newspaper

Designs for the new park in Vauxhall by Erect Architecture with J&L Gibbons

London’s answer to New York’s High Line park began to take shape in June after two London architecture firms won a competition to design a landscaped walkway just south of the River Thames that will link new and existing galleries, public works of art and an open-air auditorium. Erect Architecture and the landscape architects J & L Gibbons beat 100 entries from 21 countries to design the promenade, which will stretch from the Garden Museum next to Lambeth Palace (the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury) to the site of the former 17th-19th century pleasure gardens in Vauxhall.

“The idea is to connect the gallery district that is emerging in Vauxhall in a green and interesting way,” says Chris Law, one of the directors of Vauxhall One, a group of local businesses that launched the competition in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects. The area currently boasts the contemporary art spaces Gasworks and Beaconsfield, and a new gallery called Cabinet is due to be built this summer. Damien Hirst’s gallery also opens on Newport Street next year. There are further plans to use the abandoned railway arches next to Vauxhall station as exhibition spaces.


Anny Shaw
The Art Newspaper

Kent Twitchell’s 1984 mural of art teacher Jim Morphesus is located on the Hollywood Freeway. (Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Later this summer, following years of legal skirmishing and politicking, the Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on whether to lift its decade-old ban on private-property murals.

Some questions surrounding the proposed ordinance have been around since at least 1932, when the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros painted his polemical masterpiece “América Tropical” in downtown Los Angeles, which was subsequently whitewashed and finally restored last year.

Among them are: What happens when an individual artist or property owner’s free-speech rights collide with another group’s aesthetic preferences or personal views? Who gets to decide what’s art and what’s “vandalism” — elected officials, cultural appointees, police officers, neighborhood councils? And, ultimately, what sort of open-air visual environment does Los Angeles want to foster?


Reed Johnson
Los Angeles Times

Detail of Meg Saligman’s “Common Threads” (1997; restored 2011). (Photo: Steve Weinik/City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program)

Art preservation is tricky even under ideal circumstances, which generally involve close controls for light, temperature, humidity and other hazards. Eliminate those and you have some idea of the challenge that street-mural preservation faces. The only surviving exterior work in the U.S. by the renowned Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, Los Angeles’s “América Tropical” (1932), is only now receiving a roof. Ironically, its longevity is due to a paint-over that preserved it from the ravages of nature. Most murals, in a world of unfriendly ordinances and inevitable shifts in the urban landscape, are not so fortunate. Happily, a number of national and local organizations have recently mobilized to ensure that the preservation of murals need not be any more difficult than rain, snow and sun already render it.

The organization Heritage Preservation launched a “Rescue Public Murals” initiative in December 2006, using funding from the Getty Conservation Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. It first conducted a national assessment, paying particular attention, according to project director Kristen Laise, to “cities which had a long history of mural creation or of issues with preservation.” Then it selected for examination 16 murals in locations ranging from a commuter rail underpass to an abandoned church, and depicting topics from the end of the Marcos dictatorship to the laborers of San Francisco’s Chinatown.


Anthony Paletta
Wall Street Journal

Tower power … Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture at the Olympic Park, London. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

Some of the greatest art in the world is public art, including Michelangelo’s David, the fountains of Bernini and Rodin’s Burghers of Calais. Those are lofty masterpieces. A few notches down in sublimity but beloved of locals and tourists alike are such icons as Eros at Piccadilly Circus, or the mermaid in Copenhagen harbour, or the Statue of Liberty.

It is important to remember such triumphs as the debate over public art in Britain deepens. A few years ago, expensive public commissions seemed almost beyond criticism. Today they seem a sitting target for denunciation. It surely reflects a depressed economy: a depressed nation? Yet with the typical messy and inaccurate nature of artistic debate in Britain, where people sometimes seem to look with their mouths rather than their eyes, the sculpture that is taking the flak for years of excess in British public art is actually a fine example of the genre. Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s Orbit is a daring, imaginative and exhilarating work of art. It does not deserve to be pilloried – on the contrary, if all British public art were like this, it would be an age of glory.


Jonathan Jones

620 Columbia Street in Hudson, New York, the future location of Marina Abramovic’s Center for the Preservation of Performance Art (Photo:OMA)

Marina Abramovic, the reigning champion of high-endurance performance art, announced last week that she would be gutting a former cinema-turned-tennis club in Hudson, New York, and converting it into her very own performance palace. With the help of Rem Koolhaas’s Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Abramovic’s planned Center for the Preservation of Performance Art could well act as that catalyst that truly transforms the upstate New York town into a first-rank art destination.


Janelle Zara
Blouin ArtInfo

Winning formula … Damien Hirst’s Grey Periodic Table, part of the invaluable Artist Rooms collection. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, because it really matters: the Artist Rooms collection, founded in 2008 through the generous vision of the art dealer Anthony d’Offay, is a startling national asset. As it begins a fourth successive tour of galleries throughout Britain, this public collection of contemporary art is changing the very fabric of our visual culture.

There is only one contrast, one conflict that matters when it comes to art. Modern versus traditional? Don’t be daft. Painting versus installation? Yawn. The only struggle that matters is the timeless war between good and bad art. In Britain, because of prejudices rooted deep in our history, museums have long possessed plenty of examples of great Renaissance or Romantic art, but few masterpieces of modernity. This distorts our entire experience of art: it makes arguments about artistic value oddly thin and ideological, because people are unfamiliar with first-rate examples of the art of the past 50 years.

Artist Rooms is changing all that. This collection could easily fill a museum of its own, and would be a major national attraction if it did. But it is being used in a far more radical and liberating way. With the support of the Art Fund, its outstanding examples of works by the best artists of recent times are shown in rotation in public galleries around Britain. Museums get a boost, and audiences everywhere are introduced to top-quality modern art. In the latest round of exhibitions, there is even a game to make it still more accessible to a young public.


Jonathan Jones

The ink is nearly dry on a $150,000 deal for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) to oversee the restoration and preservation of the city’s Watts Towers. Funding for the year-long project will come from Los Angeles’s department of cultural affairs. During that time the museum will draw up costs for the long-term conservation of the Simon Rodia-built towers, suggest potential funders and enlist the help of other local institutions, including the Getty Museum and the California African American Museum.

Director of Lacma’s conservation department, Mark Gilberg, aims to take a more holistic approach to conservation efforts, which up until now have been short-term. “We are rethinking procedures and adopting ones that will be more proactive than reactive,” says Gilberg. Initial delays regarding insurance concerns have been resolved with the promise that Lacma will not be financially responsible for any gross negligence while working on the towers.


Marisa Mazria Katz
The Art Newspaper

The High Line is adding ten blocks to its public park, stretching from West 20th to West 30th Streets (Photo: Tim Schenck, Silman Associates)

When the High Line opens its second segment, known simply as Section 2, in the Spring next year, it will double the length of the public art park. This will “greatly increase the possibilities for artists to work site-specifically,” says Lauren Ross, the curator and director of art programmes for Friends of the High Line.

To coincide with the opening of Section 2 in the Spring (a more definite date could not be confirmed), the High Line Art is installing a warmly welcoming sound piece by artist Julianne Swartz titled Digital Empathy (Feel Safe in the Knowledge that Life Loves You). At 11 different stations located throughout the park, visitors will hear computer-generated voices, “delivering messages of empathy, support, and love” according to the press materials.

But before this, the organisation kicks off its spring season with a new three-piece sculptural installation by Kim Beck called Space Available which mimics the skeletal framework that supports billboard advertisements, but are actually flat cut-outs of perspective drawings.


Helen Stollas
The Art Newspaper