It’s summer, which means being outdoors a lot—which in turn means plenty of opportunities to look at outdoor art. Summer is the high season for outdoor art, and this year, there are plenty of projects to see around the city, from Central Park and the roof of The Metropolitan Museum to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Here are the must-see outdoor artworks—at art museums, NYC parks and well-known New York attractions—that put extra sizzle into summer.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in summer in NYC
Best outdoor art in NYC this summer
Bjorn Skaarup, Hippo Ballerina
This whimsical outdoor sculpture near Lincoln Center is the brainchild of Danish artist Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, who found inspiration for his 15-foot-high bronze creation in an unlikely combination of sources: The character Hyacinth Hippo from the Disney film, Fantasia and the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Impressionist master Edgar Degas. Dante Park, W 63rd St between Columbus Ave and Broadway, (212-639-9675, nycgovparks.org/parks/dantepark). Through July 31.
Photograph: Courtesy Cavalier Galleries
Lluis Lleo, Morpho’s Nest in the Cadmium House
Inspired by Romanesque churches in Spain and southern France, and by the work of Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin, Catalan artist Lluis Lleo has populated the Park Avenue Malls with upright minimalist monoliths made of brightly-colored sandstone slabs. May 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017 Park Avenue Malls, 52nd to 56th Sts. Through July 31.
Photograph: Courtesy New York Parks Department
Jenny Sabin Studio, Lumen
Crowds flocking to this summer’s Warm-Up music series in MoMA PS1’s courtyard will find themselves greeted by this surreal forest of tubular structures situated under a canopy that’s been robotically knitted out of recycled photoluminescent textiles. The latter collect solars energy to light up the piece at not, while the former is outfitted with a misting system to cool party-goers off. MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Queens (718-784-2084, momaps1.org). Opens June 29.
Photograph: Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art
Nari Ward, G.O.A.T., again
Six sculptures based on the eponymous animal are on view in this installation, the title for which is an acronym for “Greatest Of All Time”—a favorite expression of the legendary Muhammed Ali, who frequently used it to describe himself. According to the artist, the piece explores “how hubris creates misplaced expectations in American cultural politics.” Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org). Through Sept 4.
Photograph: Courtesy the artist, Socrates Sculpture Park, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Les Moulins/Habana
Anish Kapoor, Descension
The renowned British sculptor’s water feature for Brooklyn Bridge Park consists of a whirlpool furiously churning within sight of the Manhattan skyline. Pier 1, Old Fulton St at the East River, Brooklyn (212-980-4575, publicartfund.org). Through Sept 10.
Photograph: James Ewing, courtesy Public Art Fund, NY, © Anish Kapoor, 2017
Liz Glynn, Open House
The ghosts of New York’s sumptuous Gilded Age past are summoned in this sculptural ensemble by Los Angeles artist Glynn, which features ghostly cast-concrete facsimiles of luxe Louis XIV sofas, chairs and footstools, along with freestanding window frames done in the Beaux Arts style. Doris C. Freedman Plaza, E 60th St at Fifth Ave (212-980-4575, publicartfund.org). Through Sept 24.
Photograph: James Ewing, courtesy the artist, Paula Cooper Gallery and Public Art Fund, NY
Josiah McElheny, Prismatic Park
The artist presents three large sculptures in painted wood and prismatic glass. Architectural in form, the works provide spaces within the Park for music and dance performances, as well as poetry recitals. Madison Square Park, 23rd St to 26th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-520-7600, madisonsquarepark.org). June 13–Oct 8.
Rendering: Courtesy the artist and Madison Square Park Conservancy
Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater Of Disappearance
Adrián Villar Rojas lays out a banquet of surreal sculptures, each cobbled together together out of replicas of objects from The Met’s vast, encyclopedic collection. Made up of dozens of such items, these figurative ensembles contains such odd juxtapositions as the lid of a Medieval Knight’s tomb paired with a Northwest Indian Tribal mask, and a Polynesian totem plunked next a 19th-century sculpture of a Native American woman. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Through Oct 29.
Photograph: Jörg Baumann, courtesy the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery and Kurimanzutto, Mexico City
Katja Novitskova, “EARTH POTENTIAL”
Estonian artist Katja Novitskova is known for strange dystopian sci-fi installations about the fraught relationship between technology and the environment, humanity and the planet. With her latest aluminum sculptures printed with digital photographs, she explores how Internet culture has insinuated itself into our perceptions of the natural world. City Hall Park, Vesey St to Chambers St between Broadway and Park Row (212-980-4575, publicartfund.org). June 22–Nov 9.
Rendering: Courtesy the artist
KAWS, New York Made: Stanton Street Courts
Big-foot sneaker giant Nike has installed a basketball court on the Lower East Side designed by street-art-legend-turned-art-world darling KAWS in collaboration with painter Brian Donnelly. The facility consists of two 116 by 80 courts open daily during park hours. Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Chrystie St to Forsyth St between Canal and E Houston Sts. Through Nov 16.
Photograph: Courtesy Nike
Henry Taylor, the floaters
The artist poses as a chill dude in this self-portrait by Los Angeles painter Henry Taylor, who pictures himself wearing shades while drifting in a pool at a friend’s house in Palm Springs, California. The High Line at W 22nd St (212-206-9922, thehighline.org). Through March 2018.
Photograph: Timothy Schenck, courtesy Friends of the High Line
A dozen installations by as many artists are being brought together in this open-air group exhibition that explores the relationship between man and nature in the age of climate change and biotechnology. The High Line (212-206-9922, thehighline.org). Through March 2018.
Photograph: Timothy Schenck, courtesy Friends of the High Line
Sheila Hicks, Hop, Skip, Jump, and Fly: Escape From Gravity
Put some fiber art in your diet with this installation of large, colorful spaghetti-like strands of woven yarn, snaking their way around the section of the High Line near the Hudson Yards. The High Line at the Western Rail Yards (212-206-9922, thehighline.org). Through March 2018.
Photograph: Brandon Scott, courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Darren Bader, chess: relatives
Artist Darren Bader invites guests to become chess pieces on a large-scale board where players assemble as teams of friends and family ordered by their relationships to one another. The High Line at W 13th St (212-206-9922, thehighline.org). Through April 2018.
Courtesy Friends of the High Line