“Bore Block” by Jonathan Prince

Art abounds in NYC. Not just museums, galleries, parks, graffiti, subway station tiles and frequent glimpses of industrial beauty like a rusty Tribeca building facade with years of peeling paint.

I’m talking about public and corporate art installations, which can be found all over the city and change regularly. Writers more trained in communicating about art have covered the public art scene in NYC; my aim here is to provide visitors an insight into finding corporate art in places they’re less likely to visit.

So many office buildings in NYC have such substantial collections or special exhibits in lobbies and courtyards, that I encourage the art loving visitor to be on the lookout, and to explore the side streets off midtown avenues. Especially the streets off Madison, Park, Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and throughout the financial district.

In many secure office buildings in NYC, you can enter the lobby as long as you don’t attempt to access the elevator banks. In others, it will be immediately obvious if you’re not welcome. If you express interest in their art, and don’t appear to be casing the joint for a robbery, most building security guards will let you in for a quick peek.

My own office building has a huge Dubuffet tryptych and an enormous woven Miro wall hanging. One of the friendly security guards I asked said visitors are welcome to enter the lobby and look at the art, but photos are not allowed.

Two spectacular sculptures by Jonathan Prince are currently being displayed in our plaza, also known as Christie’s Sculpture Garden. “Southern Remnant 2012″ a large, solid looking oxidized and stainless steel piece startles me every time I see it. Stunning at any time, when sunlight or our twinkling trees hits the shiny, torn steel part of the piece it is truly beautiful. Every time I enter the building, I notice people stroking the silver. It is irresistible.

Nearby Lever House, known for provocative installations, continues to showcase the Paula Hayes Land Mine exhibit that was supposed to end on January 27. You can read about it here.

The IBM Building at 590 Madison Avenue features not only a Calder statue in front but an art-filled atrium next door that leads through to Trump Tower. An ever changing exhibit, this is a peaceful place to rest your feet and drink some wine at the snack bar.

The lobby of 666 Fifth Avenue is a must-see for any art enthusiast. Designed by Isamu Noguchi, “Waterfall” and “Landscape of the Clouds” are completely integrated into the lobby. You can cut through from 52nd to 53rd streets and bypass the hoards on 5th Avenue.

Gwyneth Leech amid The Cup Drawings in the Flatiron Building Prow

The Flatiron Building’s prow has been converted into a gallery by Sprint and is currently showing The Cup Drawings of Gwyneth Leech. Unfortunately this exhibit ends this weekend but Sprint will be unveiling their next installation in the space soon.

Most visitors to NYC know of Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull on Bowling Green near Wall Street, but have you seen Jeff Koon’s Balloon Flower (Red) in the small plaza across from 7 World Trade Center? Admittedly, I rarely go to this part of the city and I’m sure there are other major installations worth viewing. It’s not corporate, but the newly restored Louise Nevelson Plaza is worth a detour at Maiden Lane by William Street.

When you’re traveling through the 14th Street and 8th Avenue subway station, look for “Life Underground” by Tom Otterness. This series of more than 100 bronze sculptures can be found throughout the platforms and stairways of the A,E,C and L lines.

Suggested reading from Amazon:

Murals of New York Public Art

City Art: New York’s Percent for Art Program

Fodor’s NYC 2012


This article was originally posted on February 17, 2012.


New York City – Art Is Everywhere