Mad. Sq. Art announces Pet Sounds, an interactive, large-scale, mixed-media installation by acclaimed California-based artist Charles Long. Sited on Madison Square Park’s expansive Oval Lawn, Pet Sounds will introduce a snaking network of vibrantly colored pipe railings creating new paths as they wind across the urban oasis. As these railings converge around a common seating area, each railing begins to grow into a unique fantastic form. While the shape of each blob suggests a different set of associations, their uncanny semblances remain wonderfully elusive. As viewers smooth their hands over the undulating biomorphic surfaces, the act of touching produces a variety of sounds and vibrations coming from within the sculptural forms. The installation, commissioned by Mad. Sq. Art, will remain on view daily from May 2 — September 9, 2012.
Artist Charles Long comments, “My re-occurring interest in the uncanny over many years is in full effect here in the Pet Sounds project where something as familiar and literally grounding as a handrail morphs into an unnamable blob that has a very physical presence with some power to dialog with the viewer’s own somatic sense. As one pets the blobs, a wide range of sounds are triggered and are coming from within the bodies of the forms. The sounds and the sculptural forms connect to the physicality of the viewer and by extension to those of others that are touching the work. I wanted the work to be as visually affecting to park visitors as it is a physical and aural experience for them. I can’t wait to see people sitting on a park bench next to one of these bright orange blobs. Generally, when I look at people looking at my sculptures I just see more sculpture. With Madison Square Park’s almost maze-like repeating patterns of arching pathways, and the way people and their pets are leisurely enjoying these splendid green spaces, I hope I might be an interloper into the park visitors’ unconscious, into what Freud has called the ‘free floating attention.’ I like the idea of Pet Sounds becoming a part of the collective memory, and even dreams, of the unique experiences of New York City.”
Renderings of Pet Sounds (2012) in Madison Square Park by Charles Long. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery/ Madison Square Park Conservancy. Photographs courtesy of James Ewing Photography.
President of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, Debbie Landau states, “It is a pleasure to present a work that gives visitors the opportunity to interact with sculpture in a uniquely hands-on way and from so many different points of engagement. The visual arts and music have an incredible ability to permeate the public psyche and it is our hope that Pet Sounds will give visitors an experience that will stay with them for a long time to come.”
About the Artist:
Charles Long (b. 1958) lives and works in California and has been exhibited internationally. He earned his BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, his MFA from Yale University, and was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York in 1980. He currently serves as a Full Professor and Chair of the Art Department at the University of California, Riverside.
His work has been the feature of more than 30 solo exhibitions at prestigious venues and institutions including: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (New York), London Projects (London), Orange County Museum of Art, (Newport Beach, CA), SITE Santa Fe (New Mexico), Shoshana Wayne Gallery (Los Angeles), Sperone Gallery (Milan), and St. Louis Art Museum (St. Louis).
Prominent public collections to exhibit his work include: the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebaek, Denmark), Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall (Frihamnen, Sweden), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Orange Country Museum of Art (Newport Beach, CA), Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia), St. Louis Art Museum (St. Louis), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), among others.
He has also contributed to many significant museum exhibitions such as the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); American Exuberance (2011), The Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation (Miami); K.A.M.P. Hammer Contemporary Collection (2010-2011), Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas (2007), Hirshhorn Museum (Washington D.C.); Gone Formalism (2006), The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (University of Philadelphia, PA); The Shape of Color: Excursions in Color Field Art (2005), AGO/Art Gallery of Ontario (Ontario); Atmosphere (2004), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago); Happiness (2003), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo); Arte Contemporáneo Internacional (2001), Museo de Arte Moderno (Mexico City); ART/MUSIC: rock, pop, and techno (2001), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (Sydney); Open Ends (2000), The Museum of Modern Art (New York); Almost Warm and Fuzzy: Childhood and Contemporary Art (1999), Des Moines Art Center (Des Moines); and Young Americans (1996), Saatchi Gallery (London).
He is the proud recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), two grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant, and the Award of Merit Medal for Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Charles Long is represented by the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.
Mad. Sq. Art and Madison Square Park Conservancy:
Mad. Sq. Art is the free, contemporary art program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
Major support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by Liane Ginsberg, Agnes Gund, Toby Devan Lewis, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Tiffany & Co., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by Martha and Bruce Atwater, Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, The Henry Luce Foundation, Ronald A. Pizzuti, The Rudin Family, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Tishman Speyer, the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, and The Sol LeWitt Fund for Artist Work. Additional support is provided by Andrea and Kenneth Krueger, Danny and Audrey Meyer, Jamie Welch and Fiona Angelini, Leslie and Howard Zemsky, NYC and Company, and Time Out New York.
Exhibition support for Pet Sounds is provided by James-Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, Nancy Magoon, Guillaume and Christina Malle, and Sorgente Group. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline Sponsor of Mad. Sq. Art. Ace Hotel New York is the Official Hotel Partner of Mad. Sq. Park. This project is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
About Mad. Sq. Art:
Since its inception in 2004, Mad. Sq. Art has commissioned and presented more than twenty premier installations in Madison Square Park by acclaimed artists ranging in practice and media. Mad. Sq. Art has exhibited works by artists including Alison Saar, Bill Beirne, Jim Campbell, Richard Deacon, Bill Fontana, Ernie Gehr, Antony Gormley, Jene Highstein, Tadashi Kawamata, Mel Kendrick, Sol LeWitt, Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jacco Olivier, Roxy Paine, Jaume Plensa, Shannon Plumb, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Jessica Stockholder, Mark di Suvero, and William Wegman, among others.
In March 2011, Mad. Sq. Art received the International Art Critics Association (AICA-USA)’s 2010 Second Place award for “Best Project in a Public Space” for the organization’s exhibition of Antony Gormley: Event Horizon, which featured 31 sculptures of the human form placed in and around Madison Square Park and on the rooftops of architectural treasures throughout New York City’s Flatiron District and environs. In May 2011, Mad. Sq. Art presented Echo celebrating the New York City public art debut of acclaimed Spanish artist Jaume Plensa which preceded the September 2011 premiere of Feallan and Fallow, a six-sculpture installation by Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar.
Most recently, Mad. Sq. Art presented an exhibition of six painterly animations by acclaimed Dutch artist Jacco Olivier which celebrated the artist’s first public art commission in the United States. The installation remains on view daily through March 12, 2012.
The Madison Square Park Conservancy, a public/private partnership with New York City Parks & Recreation, is the nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping historic Madison Square Park a bright, beautiful and lively public space.
For more information on the Madison Square Park Conservancy and its programs, please visit http://madisonsquarepark.org.
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