Danish artist Jeppe Hein is now engaging visitors along the waterfront in NYC through playful art installations as part of Public Art Fund’s “Please Touch the Art” exhibition. Open until April 17, 2016 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the 18 interactive installations include “social” benches, rooms made of jetting water, and a dizzying mirror maze.
Hein, who lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin, has had works appear all over the world, but Please Touch the Art is the artist’s most extensive exhibition ever presented in a public space in the U.S. The ambitious exhibition, which opened on May 17, extends from just south of the Manhattan Bridge near Jane’s Carousel down along the waterfront to Pier 6. It brings together works that exist at the crossroads of art, architecture, and technology and responds to the character of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“Instead of the respectful distance demanded in museums, Hein’s work invites participation,”
Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator, said in a press release.
“Titling the exhibition Please Touch the Art, he encourages us to interact with his art in the most direct physical terms. Through that immersive experience, Hein hopes that his work will also touch us.”
Designed specifically for public interaction at Brooklyn’s waterfront park, the show includes three distinct bodies of work. Visitors entering the park at Pier 1 will uncover Hein’s water sculpture. Installed on the Bridge View Lawn, Appearing Rooms is a series of “rooms” formed when water shoots up from the work’s gridded base forming seven-foot-tall “walls” that appear and disappear throughout the day on timed cycles. Visitors can move to the various “rooms” within the sculpture without even touching a drop of water. From outside the piece, viewers can observe a dynamic and engaging work of art.
The second largest component of the exhibition is the Mirror Labyrinth at the Pier 3 Greenway Terrace, which has equally spaced vertical elements at varying heights made from mirror-polished stainless steel, which multiplies the surrounding landscape through myriad reflections. Hein designed the piece to work in response to the astounding views of Lower Manhattan from the park. The labyrinth alters the perceptions of visitors as they take in the irregular Manhattan skyline across the river.
To upend the idea of a conventional park bench, 16 new Modified Social Benches with various angles, curves, and bent forms have been installed throughout the park. Each one twists and bends in response to the landscape and environment of the park, and entices visitors to think of the act of sitting while they perch, recline, or rest on benches that are a hybrid of functional seats and whimsical art pieces.
Visitors can bring along this print-at-home scavenger hunt (or pick one up at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Information Station at the entrance to Pier 1) to mark off which pieces they’ve seen. Check off each discovered work as you move through the park, then Instagram or Tweet @PublicArtFund #PleaseTouchTheArt or email [email protected] to receive a prize. Can you find them all? Happy hunting!
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