Art on the Street: Manhattan’s Outdoor Art Scene

Written By Aby Thomas | August 08, 2012
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The 18-foot, 1.6 ton pink and aluminum sculpture that has found a home in front of The Standard Hotel in the heart of Downtown Manhattan has been titled, rather appropriately, Big Kastenmann, which is German for “Big Box Man.” The huge, rectangular, behemoth-like structure, a creation of the Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, has already grabbed a lot of eyeballs from Meatpacking District residents and tourists. The surrealistic piece joins the ever growing list of outdoor art sculptures in New York City because, hidden amidst the city’s various neighborhoods are several artistic delights.

While most of us may dismiss the notion that the statue of a communist revolutionary could exist in the bustling metropolis that is New York City, a cursory glance at the roof of the Red Square building in the exciting and eclectic East Village neighborhood would certainly be a surprise. Standing on the roof is an 18-foot statue of Vladimir Lenin which was built in the erstwhile Soviet Union by Yuri Gerasimov. Much like the aforementioned Taxi!, this sculpture has his arm outstretched too, but here, Lenin gestures toward the Manhattan skyline.

The Upper East Side neighborhood in Manhattan has several museums that are home to several pieces of art, but there are some pieces of artwork which don’t need a ticket to be seen. George Delacorte commissioned artist José De Creeft to create the Alice in Wonderland sculpture near the East 72nd Street entrance of Central Park, as a tribute to his wife who used to read the Lewis Carroll story to their children. Today it is a favorite haunt of both adults and children, with the latter loving the opportunity to climb over Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and other famous characters.

Also check out the Alamo, also called the Astor Place Cube in the heart of the trendy and fashionable Soho neighborhood. Made of steel and weighing about 1,800 pounds, the Alamo is a huge black cube that measures eight feet on each side. A creation of Bernard Rosenthal, the cube with its protrusions and indentations on its side is mounted on one of its corners, which continue to dazzle visitors who wonder about its unique sense of balance. However, what most people don’t know about the Alamo is that with a little effort, it can be rotated on its axis--how’s that for a neat trick to show your friends visiting the city?

These are just a few of the many fascinating sculptures that can be found in the streets of New York City. If you know of other artwork on the streets of Manhattan, let us know in the comments below!

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