Art in the Open – at the Museum of the City of New York

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Starting in the late ’60s, New York City became the site of hundreds of innovative installations of artworks and sculptures – in parks, on median strips on Park Avenue, in building plazas and on building walls, even in subways. Until then, public art consisted largely of statues and war memorials. “The Gates” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, perhaps the most dramatic new outdoor installation, was one of many supported by Michael Bloomberg – as mayor and personally. More recent, the Second Avenue subway is filled with art. Keith Haring painted surreptitiously in subways and on buildings – his “Crack is Wack” painting was initially considered fine-able graffiti, then elevated to permanent art. The show includes historic milestones, legislative history, photos and videos of public art — permanent and temporary. The presentation could have been more interesting and helpful on geography, but it makes the point and is worth visiting. It does not include one of my personal favorites, Richard Lippold’s soaring wire sculpture “Flight,” inside the Vanderbilt Ave entrance of the Met Life (nee Pan Am) building. Through May 13.

Ken Roman

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