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Spring + Summer 2023 Exhibitions

About the Exhibitions

Public Art Fund’s 2023 spring and summer exhibition program includes four new exhibitions across four cities and two continents, featuring a diverse group of artists at different stages of their careers working across photography, sculpture, and works on paper, grappling with an expanse of complex, playful, and deeply human concepts.

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Aïda Muluneh: This is where I am

Opening March 1
JCDecaux Bus Shelters Across New York City, Boston, Chicago, United States, & Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Aïda Muluneh will share a new series of 12 photographs on over 330 JCDecaux bus shelters across New York, Boston, and Chicago in the United States, and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and based in Côte d’Ivoire, Muluneh’s practice focuses on her cultural heritage as a way to explore themes of history, politics, sense of place, and other pressing issues such as the climate crisis. For this new series, Muluneh drew inspiration from Ethiopian poet Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin’s “This is where I am.” Written in 1974—the year of both Muluneh’s birth and the start of the Ethiopian Revolution—the poem and body of photographs it inspired are decidedly personal. The series bridges past and present, as Muluneh examines her experiences as an immigrant and refugee, reflects upon the various political regimes she has lived through, and borrows elements from religious iconography. In addition to being Muluneh’s first public art exhibition in Côte d’Ivoire, Aïda Muluneh: This is where I am will mark  the first time that Public Art Fund presents artwork on the African continent, simultaneously expanding the organization’s partnership with JCDecaux beyond the United States to reach new audiences. 

Aïda Muluneh: This is where I am is curated by Public Art Fund Adjunct Curator Katerina Stathopoulou.

Nicholas Galanin: In every language there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra

Opening May 16
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn

Based in Sitka, Alaska, Nicholas Galanin centers Indigeneity as fundamental to questioning border walls built to restrict access impacting all living things. In every language there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra, is a monumental 30-foot tall corten steel sculpture, created using the same material and scale as the current US/Mexico border wall. Galanin’s sculpture focuses on Land as the foundation and source of Indigenous practices of mutual sustainability. Through the work’s form Galanin references the use of bold text in Pop art. At the same time, rather than celebrating mass media, he implicates it in the marketing of nationalism. Galanin’s work invites viewers to reflect on the consequences of enforced exclusion that divides peoples and Land for extractive purposes. In every language there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra speaks to a reduction, and enforced limitation, on relationships with Land across generations, cultures, and communities.

Nicholas Galanin: In every language there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra is curated by Public Art Fund Artistic & Executive Director Nicholas Baume with support from Assistant Curator Jenée-Daria Strand.

Phyllida Barlow: PRANK

Opening June 7
City Hall Park, Lower Manhattan

British artist Phyllida Barlow will bring PRANK, a series of seven new steel and fiberglass sculptures, to City Hall Park. Best known for her imposing installations that are simultaneously commanding and whimsical, Barlow typically uses inexpensive, low-grade materials such as cardboard, fabric, plywood, and cement to make anti-monumental sculptures. A revisitation of the artist’s 1990s Object For series, a body of work developed in Barlow’s home which combined disparate elements to create surprising new synergies, PRANK marks Barlow’s first significant body of outdoor sculpture composed of robust, long-lasting materials. PRANK’s invented forms will stretch the limits of mass, volume and height as they block, straddle or balance with precarity. The artist will present everyday structures and furniture–workbenches piled up at odd angles, cabinets accumulated with doors akimbo, a stack of chairs forming an endless column. Surmounting each structure will be a pair of “rabbit ears,” a form that Barlow first presented as an oversized plaster object on a television set in 1994. Fabricated in both steel and fiberglass, this new body of work marks a major departure for Barlow, whose entire oeuvre until now has been made with materials suited to indoor or temporary display.

Phyllida Barlow: PRANK is curated by Public Art Fund Artistic & Executive Director Nicholas Baume with initial development by former Public Art Fund Curator Daniel S. Palmer.

Felipe Baeza: Unruly Forms

Opening August 9
JCDecaux Bus Shelters Across New York City, Boston, & Chicago

With a background in printmaking and collage, Brooklyn-based artist Felipe Baeza has earned wide attention for sensually rich and visually arresting works that evoke both mythic dimensions and contemporary themes. Marrying elements of sculpture, collage, embroidery, and painting, Baeza’s materially and conceptually layered work incorporates photographic images, pigmented paper, and depictions of fragmented bodies, all woven together into iconic compositions. As the child of Mexican immigrants, Baeza has long been invested in exploring the body in flux in his practice, examining how one thrives and flourishes from prescribed circumstances and challenges. For his new series for JCDecaux bus shelters, Unruly Forms, Baeza will present a series of paintings based on his research with Mesoamerican artifacts in museum collections across New York City, Chicago, and Boston, reflecting on ways that these objects’ removal and displacement has interrupted their original function, power, and context.

Felipe Baeza: Unruly Forms is curated by Public Art Fund Artistic & Executive Director Nicholas Baume with support from Assistant Curator Jenée-Daria Strand.