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Lightness of Being

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Lightness of Being

About the Exhibition

This exhibition brings together the work of eleven international artists. It features sculptures of very different scales and materials, as well as a weekly performance. Significant recent works by senior figures such as Daniel Buren (b. 1938) and Franz West (1947 - 2012) are shown alongside pieces by emerging and mid-career artists including Alicja Kwade (b. 1979) and Olaf Breuning (b. 1970). In different ways, all of the works on view share a sense of whimsy and visual invention. In contrast to the more formal traditions of historic statuary and fountains, these public artworks engage us with their conceptual wit, eccentric forms, and imaginative transformation of everyday objects.

A sense of playfulness may be found in the manipulation of scale and mass, where small becomes large, light becomes heavy, and vice versa. Our perceptions may be altered by subtle atmospheres of transparent color or unexpected manipulations of familiar forms. Enormous concrete vegetables make surprising new park benches, while a pair of goofy cowboy hats top off an improbable assemblage of found objects cast in bronze. Whether referring to the history of art, abstract forms, or simply to everyday life, the works of these eleven artists show us that serious art also has its lighter side.

This exhibition is curated by Nicholas Baume & Andria Hickey.

This exhibition is made possible by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded through Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Special thanks to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, LMDC Chairman Avi Schick, and LMDC President David Emil.

Major support is provided by the Kraus Family Foundation.

Additional support is provided by David Teiger, the National Endowment for the Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Public Art Fund gratefully acknowledges the partnership of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris; Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin; and Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Veronica M. White.

Location

City Hall Park

Broadway & Chambers Street

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Artists

Cristian Andersen
(b. 1974, Zurich, Switzerland)
inverse reverse obverse, 2013
Bronze, stainless steel
Courtesy private collection

Cristian Andersen’s playful sculptures combine found objects recast in new materials and stacked in precarious totems. The final form piles one object atop another defying gravity with astonishing balance. From construction materials to cowboy hats, each object is absorbed into a new sculptural assemblage, creating whimsical moments of discovery as we move around the sculpture.

Cristian Andersen (b. 1974, Zurich, Switzerland) lives and works in Zürich and Los Angeles. He has had solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2008); Modern Institute, Zürich (2007); and the Ausstellungsraum 25, Zürich (2007). His work has also been included in several group shows such as: Abstrakt //// Skulptur, Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin (2011); Danish Pavilion, Expo 2010, Shanghai (2010); 5th International DADA Festival, Kolin, Czech Republic (2008); Shifting Identities – (Swiss) Art Now, Kunsthaus/Airport Zürich (2008); Drawings, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (2006); among others. Cristian Andersen is represented by Wentrup Gallery in Berlin.

James Angus
(b. 1970, Perth, Australia)
John Deere Model D, 2013
Painted steel, painted cast iron
Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise

James Angus’s replicas of everyday objects include a 1920s Bugatti racing car, a gorilla's skull, and a manta ray. In this sculpture, Angus has created an extraordinarily detailed reproduction of a John Deere Tractor. However, the artist’s copy is not faithful; he has used digital technologies to meticulously alter the scale and proportions of the original tractor so they appear slightly distorted. As if playing a trick on us, Angus blurs visual fact with fiction, transforming expectations and calling attention to the object’s scale, volume, and form.

James Angus (b. 1970 Perth, Australia) lives and works in New York. He has had solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (2007); Institute of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2006); Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2004); and the Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2004). His work has also been included in numerous group shows such as: Cubism, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2009); The Freak Show, Musée de la Monnaie, Paris (2008); Revolutions - Forms That Turn, Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2008); 21st Century Modern, Adelaide Biennial, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2006); Scape Biennial of Art in Public Space, Christchurch, New Zealand (2006); Strange Days, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2003); New Urban Sculpture, Public Art Fund (2000), New York; and Unfinished History, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1998), among others. James Angus is represented by Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Inc.


Olaf Breuning
(b. 1970, Schaffhausen, Switzerland)
The Humans, 2007
Marble, bronze
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures

Olaf Breuning’s eclectic art practice incorporates film, staged photography, sculptures, and drawings. Carved in marble with bronze details, the six whimsical characters in Breuning’s The Humans are part animal, part fairy-tale figurine and bring a playful attitude to the tradition of figurative sculpture. With their comically expressive faces and rounded bodies, these endearing creatures parody the cycle of human evolution from fish to fisher king, here installed in an endless loop.

Olaf Breuning (b. 1970, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) lives and works in New York. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including the Swiss Institute Contemporary Art, New York (2012); Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (2010); Migros Musuem für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich (2007); Centre d’Art Contemporain Georges Pompidou, Paris (2006); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2005); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2004); and Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg, France (2003). Breuning has also been included in numerous group exhibitions such as: The Circus as a Parallel Universe, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom (2012); 54th Venice Biennale, Venice (2011); Whitney Biennial 2008, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008); Looking At Music, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); Destroy Athens, 1st Athens Bienniale, Athens (2007); All About Laughter, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2005); Let’s Entertain, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2000), among others. Breuning is represented by Metro Pictures in New York.


Daniel Buren
(b. 1938, Paris, France)
Suncatcher, 2013
Powder-coated steel, glass, vinyl
Courtesy of the artist and Bortolami Gallery, NY

Since the 1960s, conceptual artist Daniel Buren has explored the nature of painting and its relationship to space through the use of simple patterns such as contrasting stripes and color grids. For City Hall Park, Buren has taken the idea of a pergola—a garden trellis traditionally used for hanging flowers—and transformed it into a pavilion of light. When sunny, the colored glass panels bathe visitors in vivid color, expanding the field of painting to the glow of light itself.

Evan Holloway
(b. 1967, La Mirada, California)
Willendorf Wheel, 2013
Bronze
Courtesy of the artist and Harris Lieberman Gallery

Evan Holloway’s idiosyncratic use of material and subject matter often makes satirical reference to the history of sculpture. For Willendorf Wheel, he has cast repeating molds of a reproduction of the Venus of Willendorf statuette—an iconic fertility symbol estimated to have been carved between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE. Forming a bronze circular hoop of figurines, Holloway allows us to see the interior of the mold, literally turning the Venus inside out and on her head.

Evan Holloway (b. 1967, La Mirada, California) lives and works in Los Angeles. His work was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California; he has also been included in numerous international group shows including: Venice Beach Biennial, Venice Beach, California (2012); All Of This and Nothing, The Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center at UCLA, Los Angeles (2011); The Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011); Kurt, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle (2010); 2008 California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008); Ensemble, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; The Uncertainty of Objects & Ideas, Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2006); and the Whitney Biennial 2002, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002). Holloway is represented by Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York.

Alicja Kwade
(b. 1979, Katowice, Poland)
Journey without arrival (Raleigh), 2012/2013
Stainless steel, aluminum, rubber, plastic components
Courtesy of the artist

Alicja Kwade’s sculptures liquefy, upturn, twin, and mirror found materials and everyday objects. With familiar forms gone awry, her poetic works transform materials in ways that suggest time and space are malleable ideas. To create Journey without Arrival (Raleigh), Kwade has dismantled and reassembled a bicycle, bending each element to form a perfect circle. As if caught between dimensions, the new object is at once surreal and surprising, calling attention to its seemingly impossible form.

Alicja Kwade, (b. 1979, Katowice, Poland) lives and works in Berlin. She has had solo exhibitions at Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Berlin (2011); Villa Tokyo, Japan (2011); Polnisches Institut, Berlin (2011); Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany (2010); Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2008). Her work has also been included in myriad group shows such as: KölnSkulptur #7, Skulpturenpark Köln, Cologne, Germany (2013); When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012); One-on-one, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2012); Made in Germany II, Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (2012); A Disagreeable Object, SculptureCenter, New York (2012); The Garden of Eden, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Surplus Authors, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2012); Berlin 2000 – 2011 Playing among the ruins, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan (2011); Abstrakt //// Skulptur, Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin (2011); Endless Sphere, Center for Contemporary Art, Kiev (2008); Nightcomers, 10th Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul Manifaturacilar Çarsisi, Istanbul (2007); among others. Kwade is represented by Johann König in Berlin.


Sarah Lucas
(b. 1962, London, United Kingdom)
Florian and Kevin, 2013
Cast concrete
Courtesy of the Artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels and Sadie Coles, London

Sarah Lucas transforms commonplace objects including oranges, hosiery, boots, and buckets, into playful, symbolic forms. Florian and Kevin are enormous cast concrete vegetables that sit in the gardens of City Hall Park as if they’ve grown from Alice’s Wonderland overnight. Like benches made for giants, these two oversized “brothers” call to mind the prize-winning squash of the State Fair, just waiting to be pinned.

Sarah Lucas (b. 1962, London, United Kingdom) lives and works in London. Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at institutions including Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli, Mexico City (2012); Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, United Kingdom (2012); Kunsthalle Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria (2011); Public Art Fund, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, New York (2010); Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2005); Tate Britain, London (2004); Tate Modern, London (2002); Freud Museum, London (2000); Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (1997); and Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (1996). Her work has also been included in many group shows of note such as: The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013); Disagreeable Object, SculptureCenter, New York (2012); Sculptural Matter, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2012); Fresh Hell, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2010); The Last Newspaper, New Museum, New York (2010); Pop Life, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2009); Female Trouble, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); The Hamsterwheel, Malmö Konstall, Malmö, Sweden (2008); Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2007); Sculpture: Precarious Realism between Melancholie and the Comic, Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria (2004); Fourth Plinth Project, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London (2003); PoT: The Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art–The Independent, United Kingdom (2002); and the Human Being and Gender: 2000 Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2000), among others. Sarah Lucas is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York.

Ugo Rondinone
(b. 1964, Brunnen, Switzerland)
dog days are over, 1996/2013
Performance
Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, NY

Ugo Rondinone has used the figure of a classic clown since the early 1990s in performance art, video, and sculpture. Continuing the exploration of that theme, dog days are over features a big-bellied clown with a larger-than-life presence as a stand-in for a modern day shaman. In the context of City Hall Park, Rondinone has collaborated with fashion designer Victoria Bartlett to create this contemplative alter ego.
Presented at different locations around the fountain, Fridays 11:00am – 5:00pm, weather permitting

Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964, Brunnen, Switzerland) lives and works in New York. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including: Public Art Fund, Rockefeller Center, New York (2013); The Common Guild, Glasgow (2012); Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland (2010); Musée du Louvre, Paris (2009); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2009); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2006); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2003); Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2003); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2002); Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (2001); and MoMA PS1, New York (2000). His work has also been included in numerous group shows such as: Zoo, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2012); Parallelwelt Zirkus, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); Lifelike, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2012); Works in Progress: Rodin and the Ambassadors, Musée Rodin, Paris (2011); Reference and Affinity, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (2010); Martin Boyce and Ugo Rondinone: We Burn, We Shiver, SculptureCenter, New York (2008); Unmonumental: The Art Object in the 21st Century, New Museum, New York (2007); INTO ME / OUT OF ME, MoMA PS1, New York (2006); Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2004); and the Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom (2001), among others. He is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York.

David Shrigley
(b. 1968, Macclesfield, United Kingdom)
Metal Flip Flops, 2001
Steel
Private Collection, USA. Courtesy of the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery and Anton Kern Gallery, NY

Both deadpan and slapstick in his approach to art making, David Shrigley is best known for his humorous drawings that reflect sardonic observations on everyday life with acerbic wit. Shrigley’s Metal Flip Flops are steel reproductions of the artist’s own size 13 flip-flops, installed on the pavement by the fountain as if left behind by a visitor. No longer functional footwear, these flips-flops are neither useable nor disposable. Instead, they ironically assert their presence as a monument to the mundane.

David Shrigley (b. 1968, Macclesfield, United Kingdom) lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. Shrigley’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at institutions including: Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester (2012); Hayward Gallery, London (2012); Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark (2012); M - Museum Leuven, Belgium (2010); Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2008); Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Scotland (2006); and The Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center at UCLA, Los Angeles (2002). His work has also been included in a variety of group shows such as: You Seem the Same as Always, The Common Guild, Glasgow, Scotland (2011); Clap, Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2011); The Sculpture Show, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2011); Sonic Youth etc.: Sensational Fix, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (2009); Individualdiagnose, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (2009); Life on Mars: 55th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2008); Learn to Read, Tate Modern, London (2007); The Paper Sculpture Show, SculptureCenter, New York (2007); Six Feet Under, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2006); Defamation of Character, MoMA PS1, New York (2006); The Square Show, Bloomberg SPACE, London (2003); Gags and Slapstick in Contemporary Art, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2002); and Young Scene, Secession, Vienna (1998). David Shrigley is represented by Anton Kern Gallery in New York.

Gary Webb
(b. 1973, Hampshire, United Kingdom)
Buzzing it Down, 2012
Cast aluminum, paint
Courtesy of the artist and Bortolami Gallery, NY

Incorporating pop art references, synthetic materials, and an exuberant use of color, Gary Webb’s enigmatic sculptures often explore the formal interplay between abstraction and figuration. Buzzing it Down is a large-scale cast aluminum sculpture painted in brilliant and reflective chrome hues. Like round, stacked Lego blocks, each form playfully whips liquid color around the minimalist totem.

Gary Webb (b. 1973, Hampshire, United Kingdom) lives and works in London. Webb has had solo exhibitions at institutions including the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA (2012); Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2011); The Approach, London (2010); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2005); British Art Show 6, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom(2005); and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich (2004). His work has also been included in a variety of group shows such as: Modern British Sculpture, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2011); Natural Wonders: New Art from London, Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow (2009); ATOMKREIG, Kunsthaus Dresden Städtische Galerie für Gegenwartskunst, Dresden (2004); Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2003); and Dedalic Convention, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna (2001), among others. Webb is represented by Bortolami Gallery in New York.

Franz West
(1947- 2012, b. Vienna, Austria)
Untitled, 2012 (finished posthumously)
Epoxy resin, metal, lacquer
Franz West Foundation, courtesy Gagosian Gallery

From the 1960’s until his death last year, Franz West explored the interplay between art and audiences with a diverse array of sculptures, performances, and installations. Premiering at City Hall Park, Untitled is one of the final works conceived by the late artist. In keeping with many of his sculptures, these irregular forms have a strong sense of physicality and surface texture. Like bulbous, inverted pears, they populate the landscape in dialogue with the surrounding trees and the park’s urban context. Their pastel colors and eccentric, top-heavy shapes suggest an unlikely dance, both whimsical and enchanted.

Franz West’s (1947- 2012, b. Vienna, Austria) work has been a fixture in countless international survey exhibitions such as Documenta and Biennales all over the world. His most notable recent solo exhibitions have been presented by Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria (2011); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2010); Museo MADRE, Naples (2010); Piazza di Pietra, Rome (2010); Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland (2009); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2009); Baltimore Museum of Art (2008); Public Art Fund, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, New York (2009); MAK Vienna, Austria (2008); Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2005); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2003); École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2003); Palacio de Velázquez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2001); Secession, Vienna (2000); Project Room, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1994); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1994); Venice Biennale, Italy (1990); MoMA PS1, New York (1989); and the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1988), among many others. The estate of Franz West is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York.

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