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Rockefeller Center has transformed into an outdoor sculpture garden for Frieze

Written by
Howard Halle

For years now, Rockefeller Center has regularly hosted outdoor art projects, though usually one at a time. Now, however, midtown's favorite gathering spot for tourists, brown baggers and ice skaters is upping its public sculpture game with the help of the same folks who bring you the annual Frieze Art Fair on Randall's Island.

Ibrahim Mahama, Untitled
Photograph: Timothy Schenck

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center as it's unsurprisingly called, is a group show featuring 20 sculptures by an international roster of 14 artists. The works are mostly positioned outside, though some are installed indoors in various buildings around Rockefeller Center. The pieces, ranging in scale from table-top size to monumental, run the gamut from abstract to figurative in style.

Nick Cave
Photograph: Sansho Scott/

Curated by Brett Littman, director of the Noguchi Museum in Queens, the selection includes notable contributions such as Juame Plensa's giant white bust of a woman with her hands over her eyes; a series of raggedy burlap banners hung from the flagpoles around the skating rink by Ibrahim Mahama; a large, old-fashioned gramophone horn tapering into an arm with a clenched fist by Nick Cave; and Paulo Nazareth's foursome of silhouetted cut-outs depicting African-American activists such as Rosa Parks and Tommie Smith—the track-and-field Olympian, whose decision to raise his arm in a black power salute as he was being awarded the gold medal sparked a major controversy during the 1968 Mexico City Games.

You should definitely check these works and the others, which are on view until June 28.

Paulo Nazareth, Blacks In The Pool
Photograph: Timothy Schenck
Juame Plensa, Behind The Walls
Photograph: Sansho Scott/

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