Saturday, May 29, 2010

Union Square Park Lawn Access Denial Revealed


Access Denied. The public has been wondering recently why they were being prevented from accessing Union Square Park's largest open space, its center lawn, a legitimate concern, considering the area suffers from having one of the least amount of parks and open space in the entire city. It turns out The Union Square Partnership and the Parks Department closed the heavily used and already crowded lawn to allow the installation of a series of artworks referred to as  "eleven professional props" for posing.

According to the artist statement,  the interactive sculptures "invite viewers to mount inscribed pedestals, stand under elaborate headdresses and insert their limbs into holes. A work that begins as a sculpture metamorphoses into countless performances, only complete when viewers photograph their interactions and share them in blogs and emails. At this point, the audience changes and the participants become the subject of the work."

It appears the Partnership is attempting to borrow a playbook from its northerly neighbors – The Madison Square Park Conservancy – by getting into the public art business.  Madison Square Park has a much larger and open lawn, and is dramatically less crowded than Union Square Park. Art in parks is a very worthwhile endeavor as long as it does not impinge on the open space and the passive and recreational needs of a community, and is not an advertisement for a commercial entity. 

The project is being presented by The Union Square Partnership, a business improvement district/local development corporation and DEITCH PROJECTS LLC, a commercial gallery.

From ANPQuarterly.  Planning on posing this summer? A little recreational posing? Why not do it with the support of props designed just for this purpose. It might be a relief to have a some help in this department, after years of free-form (and let’s face it, often inaccurate) posing. For your convenience, eleven professional props will be installed in Union Square Park in New York, all summer. If you fill a little posing coming on, hurry over.

Eleven Heavy Things
Miranda July
May 29 – October 3, 2010
Center Lawn, Union Square Park


1 comment:

  1. Dear A Walk in the Park:

    Thank you for your interest in Union Square Park. We wanted to clarify a couple of the points made above for you and your readers.

    The lawns in Union Square Park are typically always closed until about Memorial Day weekend to allow spring lawn prep and landscaping work to take place. This year, the Union Square Partnership installed hundreds of new shrubs, flowering plants, perennials and annuals; we repaired the sprinkler system; and reseeded the lawn, to name just three of our long list of projects to support the park this season. In addition, to maintain the park, we fund the salary of the gardener, a 5-person sanitation team, and the Playground Associate.

    The reason the lawns are closed until Memorial Day weekend is to prevent the public from sitting on the chemicals used during the lawn prep process, and to allow for the grass seeds to take root. Because the canopy of trees above the lawn is so thick, it often takes longer for the grass to grow in large sections of the park. Over the summer, the lawns will be closed on Mondays, and after heavy rain, to allow them some rest during our high traffic season.

    We hope this clears up some of the confusion, and that you and your readers will all join us this summer, either to take part in Miranda July's interactive sculpture installation, or in our summer series, Summer in the Square, which begins June 17th. The series includes, a running club (7AM), yoga (8AM), low impact cardio (9AM), a performance for kids at 12 PM, and a local NYC artist at 6PM. All programs start from or take place on the park's South Plaza.

    All the best,
    The Union Square Partnership Team