Wanderlust on the High Line

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Image courtesy High Line Art

Last night we had the pleasure of touring the High Line with Cecilia Alemani, the Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art. A public art program inaugurated in 2009, High Line Art exhibits a variety of contemporary works, including sculptures, murals, videos and live performances. According to Alemani, the organization is "committed to expanding the role of contemporary art in the life of public spaces, in the belief that the dialogue it produces when museum-quality art is brought to the public free of charge is an essential element to a thriving city."

For the 2016-2017 season, High Line Art is presenting a group exhibition titled Wanderlust, which explores the themes of walking, journeys, and pilgrimages. The show is inspired by artists who explored life in an urban context as well as in an ambivalent confrontation with nature.

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Image courtesy High Line Art

Underneath Gansevoort Plaza, right beside the Whitney, is Marie Lorenz's project, Tide and Current Taxi. Using the tide to navigate the waterways of NYC, Lorenz takes adventure-seekers on these boats, which are installed underneath the park, to explore the shorelines of the city. Further up is Matt Johnson's sculpture, which is inspired by his doodles and bent from original rail tracks from the High Line. The work pays homage to the history of the High Line as a means of transportation.

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Image courtesy High Line Art

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Image courtesy High Line Art

In addition to Wanderlust, High Line Art has commissioned temporary, site-specific artwork by notable contemporary artists. One of our favorite pieces, and a must-see in NYC, is Barbara Kruger's Untitled (Blind Idealism Is...). Adapted from a quote from Afro-Caribbean philosopher and revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon, Kruger continues her bold and unapologetic criticism of culture, power and today's political climate. According to Kruger, the mural is meant to reflect "how we are to one another" within "the days and nights that construct us." Another highlight is Nari Ward's Smart Tree, which was inspired by Ward's childhood memories. Ward transforms a Smart car by covering it in tire tread, propping it up on cinder blocks, and growing an apple tree out of the sunroof.

Since its inception, High Line Art has shown works by over 200 artists from around the world. Wanderlust and the commissions are on view until March 2017.

To learn more about noteworthy exhibitions and events, sign up for an Arthena membership.