Downtown Alliance and NYC Department of Transportation Install Secret Gardens on Chambers Street

03/31/2011
Downtown Alliance and NYC Department of Transportation Install Secret Gardens on Chambers Street

The Alliance for Downtown New York and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) announced the installation of Richard Pasquarelli’s Secret Gardens at a joint press conference Tuesday. The piece is next to the Chambers Street road reconstruction project.

The 5-foot-high, 1,000-foot-long vinyl mesh depiction of “secret” backyard and garden scenes is a joint project by NYC DOT’s Urban Art Program and the Downtown Alliance’s Re:Construction program, which installs temporary artworks at construction sites throughout Lower Manhattan.

Secret Gardens is the third public-art piece created by Pasquarelli for Re:Construction.
“Re:Construction is the best kind of public-private partnership, an ongoing opportunity for government, artists, curators, property owners and business people to work together to make something beautiful,” said Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth H. Berger. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

“Richard’s masterful design creates an on-street gallery that instantly brightens the area during construction,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “DOT’s Urban Art Program brings temporary artwork to enliven spaces like these, making them more livable and welcoming for residents, workers and visitors.”

The Re:Construction public-art program is produced by the Downtown Alliance and funded by a $1.5-million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Engaging, thoughtful and whimsical, the temporary artworks create colorful landmarks and brighten streetscapes as they help mitigate the impact of Downtown’s numerous building projects. Re:Construction began in 2007 and has produced 18 pieces, nine of which are up for viewing. BravinLee programs consulted on the three Pasquarelli installments for the Downtown Alliance.

A detail from Secret Gardens. The first portion was installed earlier this month on Chambers Street between West and Greenwich streets. The second segment, stretching from Greenwich Street to West Broadway, was installed today.

"Seeing the work actually installed after imagining it in my mind's eye has been exciting,” Pasquarelli said. “The placement of the piece—on the edge of the sidewalk, concealing the street—creates the illusion of an ivy-covered wall along a long narrow alley and increases the sense of intimacy, and invites people to take a closer look. Its placement next to a school is especially nice. I hope the children, as well as the adults in the community, will enjoy taking glimpses into other worlds and use them as a springboard for their own imaginations."

“In Secret Gardens, Richard Pasquarelli not only creates something beautiful to look at if you are quickly walking by, but he gives viewers something to contemplate if they want to take a little more time,” said Karin Bravin of BravinLee programs. “He invites people to peer in and he offers so many visual surprises with this work. Instead of "DO NOT ENTER", Pasquarelli is saying "Please enter and take a look".

Images of “Secret Gardens” can be viewed at the Downtown Alliance’s Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/downtownny/sets/72157624977313663/.
A video about Re:Construction can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1md12D4vNew&feature=email.

With today’s installation, Pasquarelli’s artistry is now on display at three sites south of Chambers Street. Hours of the Day is on display in the piazza of the W Hotel New York – Downtown, 23 Washington Street at Albany Street. And Restore the View is at the site of CUNY’s Fiterman Hall project at Barclay Street, between West Broadway and Greenwich Street, and between Barclay Street and Park Place.

“These new installments by Richard Pasquarelli are worthy additions to the success of the Re:Construction program,” said David Emil, President of the LMDC. “We’re proud to fund these exhibitions and look forward to our continued partnership with the Downtown Alliance to ease the negative impacts of Downtown’s rebuilding projects.”

Pasquarelli’s paintings have been shown at The Miami Art Museum, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Chelsea Museum, Jersey City Museum and the Islip Art Museum. His work recently was acquired by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. He has exhibited in galleries in New York, Norway, Paris, Madrid and Los Angeles, and has work in many corporate, public and private collections throughout the world, including the Library of Congress, Bayerische Landesbank, General Dynamics Inc., the Zabludowicz Collection, MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings, Progressive Insurance, and Misumi Inc. Pasquarelli is preparing a solo exhibition for early 2011 at Salomon Contemporary in New York.

For more information on all Re:Construction projects, including high-resolution photos of installed projects, visit www.downtownny.com/reconstruction. In addition to Secret Gardens, other Re:Construction installations are listed below. Asterisks denote existing pieces:

 W Hotel New York – Downtown: Hours of the Day*
 Fiterman Hall: Restore the View*
 99 Church Street: Walking Men 99*
 56 Leonard Street: Rendering Leonard*
 Hudson River Park: Botanizing the Asphalt*
 50 Trinity Place: Poster Project at 50 Trinity*
 99 Washington Street: Flying Animals*
 East River Waterfront Esplanade, South Street: Fence Embroidery with Embellishment*
 Titanic Park, Fulton and Pearl streets: Water Movements
 West Thames Park, Battery Park City: It Takes Time to Turn a Space Around
 Fulton Street Transit Center, John Street at Broadway: Best Pedestrian Route
 Fulton Street reconstruction site, between Broadway and Nassau: Fulton Fence
 Fulton Street Transit Center, Broadway between Ann and John streets: Concrete Jungle
 Goldman Sachs headquarters, 200 West Street: Untitled
 AIG building, 175 Water Street: Green Gate, Summer
 Street reconstruction site at Houston and Broadway: Houston Fence
 Louise Nevelson Plaza, Maiden Lane and William Street: Rainbow Conversation

Launched in October 2008, NYC DOT’s Urban Art Program brings the vision of the agency’s World Class Streets initiative to life by partnering with community organizations to install murals, sculptures and other art forms in plazas and on medians, triangles, sidewalks, jersey barriers and construction fences for up to 11 months on DOT properties citywide. Organizations or organization-artist teams are invited to apply to one of three Urban Art Program tracks—pARTners, Site to Site and Arterventions—that offer the public new ways to view and experience city streets through art. As part of the agency’s World Class Streets initiative, this installation and others under the Urban Art Program exemplify the agency’s ongoing work to recreate the public realm by recasting streets and sidewalks of New York City as safer, more inviting, attractive destinations for everyone.

For more information about NYC DOT’s Urban Art Program, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/sidewalks/urbanart_prgm.shtml.