Public Art Fund to light up New York

The organisation celebrates its big 4-0 with a series of new commissions


The New York-based Public Art Fund celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a series of new commissions, beginning on 6 February with Commercial Break (until 5 March). The digital shows will expand the fund’s pioneering 1980s exhibition Messages to the Public, in which 70 artists, including Jenny Holzer, David Hammons, Alfredo Jaar and the Guerrilla Girls, created 30-second animations that were displayed on an 800 sq. ft screen in Times Square, disrupting the flow of advertisements.

The new works—by 20 international artists, including Cory Arcangel, Awol Erizku and Casey Jane Ellison—will be shown across all five boroughs of New York City, at sites such as the Barclays Center oculus and thousands of LinkNYC kiosks, as well as an advertising hoarding in Times Square, near the original exhibition screen. They will also be displayed online via the fund’s website.

Nicholas Baume, the director and chief curator of the fund, says that the aim of the year of exhibitions is to “reflect on Doris C. Freedman’s vision to bring art outside the traditional gallery space and into the context of the city, enabling the most diverse audiences to engage with great contemporary works of art”. Freedman founded the fund and championed public art across the city in the 1970s. Commissions by the US artist Liz Glynn, the British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and the Estonian artist Katja Novitskova are due to follow in the spring and summer.