Proving the adage that art is everywhere, pint-sized Flatiron District offers up some beautiful options for viewing art in unexpected forms and venues.
28 West 27th St. 3rd Fl., between Broadway and Sixth Avenue
Amos P. Kennedy, Jr.: I Am Negro (Image: The Center for Book Arts)
The Center for Book Arts is the country’s first nonprofit dedicated to appreciating the book as a work of art, while promoting and teaching traditional bookmaking techniques. Founded in 1974, the center has continuously grown in size and scope, changing locations twice before settling in the Flatiron district 17 years ago. Now spanning 5,000 square feet, the facility features a complete letterpress print shop, exhibits, and workshops on bookmaking practices. Currently on show is Amos P. Kennedy Jr.’s “I Am Negro”, whose work looks to challenge how books deal with issues of class, economy, and race. Other exhibits include, “Enacting the Text: Performing with Words” curated by Nicolás Dumit Estévez, and “China Marks: Time Traveler” featuring recent books, broadsides, and text-based drawings produced with thread and fabric. Now through December 17th.
Between Fifth and Madison avenues, 23rd and 26th streets
Big Bling (Image: Courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy)
From last year’s controversial mirror installation, “Fata Morgana” by Teresita Fernández, to artist Orly Genger’s ropey 2013 installation “Red, Yellow and Blue,” Madison Square Park is no stranger to public art. Now, award-winning, American-born sculpture artist Martin Puryear has brought his unique brand of art to the Flatiron District’s crown-jewel park. You may recall Puryear’s retrospective at the MoMA a handful of years ago. His newest piece “Big Bling” is a 40-foot tall, multi-tiered wooden structure wrapped in chain-linked fence, sporting a gold-leafed shackle anchored near the top. It is Puryear’s largest temporary outdoor work, and the abstract art piece is open to wide interpretation. To learn more about “Big Bling,” take a tour. The sculpture can be viewed through April 2, 2017.
227 W. 27th St. at Sixth Avenue
Duro Olowu, ensemble (Image: Eileen Costa Courtesy of The Museum at FIT)
For an enormous dose of fashion as art, head to the award-winning Museum at FIT. The current exhibit “Proust’s Muse, The Countess Greffulhe” is a voyeuristic look at the countess’s luxurious wardrobe. Now through January 7, 2017. Beginning Dec. 6 and running through May 16, 2017, be sure to catch “Black Fashion Designers” for an important look at the significant impact designers of African descent have had on fashion, often without recognition.
The Prow Art Space
The Flatiron Building Prow, 175 Fifth Ave. at 23rd Street
A past Prow Art Space installation “Hypergraphia” by artist Gwyneth Leech (Image: Bosc d’Anjou)
After a hiatus during the founding of millennial-focused video news network, Cheddar, look for artwork to return soon to the Prow Art Space in the “cowcatcher” of the famed Flatiron Building’s prow. After public outcry over the ousting of the artwork in favor of the video studio, the new iteration of the Prow Art Space will position art installations as a backdrop to the video production. Artist Garret Kane kicked off the new endeavor in late October. Keep your eyes on the Prow for news about future installations.