Take a Walk

April 16, 2010

Visitors to lower Manhattan can see public art installations by two members of the SVA community as a part of Re: Construction, a program of the Downtown Alliance, which aims to transform area construction sites into spaces for the display of new public art.

Walking Men 99, a work by alumnus Maya Barkai (2005 BFA Photography), is on view at 99 Church Street, covering plywood street facades that stretch across three city blocks. The 500-foot-long installation features 99 life-size images of pedestrian traffic-light icons. The images were gathered from around the world as a part of Barkai’s ongoing project Walking Men Worldwide, for which she has invited people to submit photographs of the familiar pedestrian symbols from across the globe. “The ‘walking man’ is an international celebrity and one of our most recognizable figures,” says Barkai. “Walking Men 99” is curated by Ayelet Danielle Aldouby and Elinor Milchan of Artea Projects and will be on display through January 2011.

BFA Visual and Critical Studies Department faculty member Amy Wilson’s piece It Takes Time to Turn a Space Around is a series of drawings printed on a 150-foot vinyl banner attached to construction fencing at West Thames Park in Battery Park City. The work consists of seven panels showing images of young girls in a field, cleaning and clearing away weeds and rebuilding and replanting the landscape. Wilson explains that the idea for the project was rooted in her own experience of fixing up an abandoned garden over several years and connecting the lessons learned there to the experience of fixing up lower Manhattan—particularly West Thames Park, which is the future site of a playground and park. “Sometimes you have to coax the earth back to life and to do so can take years,” she says. The original drawings from It Takes Time to Turn a Space Around will be displayed along with their text accompaniment at a solo show at BravinLee programs from April 22 – June 5.

Images: (top) Maya Barkai, Walking Men 99, 2010. Courtesy of the artist; (bottom) Amy Wilson, It Takes Time to Turn a Space Around, 2009-2010. Courtest of BravinLee programs. Photo by Katie Arms.

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