Schutte for the stars

On a beautiful day like today the place to be is outside, enjoying the sun and soaking up all of vitamin D that we greatly missed throughout the harsh snow and, seemingly, nonstop rain of the spring. We all know of the parks relatively near City Tech but there are many others that aren’t too far away. Only 25 minutes off campus is an amazing interactive park called the Pratt Institute Sculpture Park. Because what’s better than walking through the park on a sunny day while looking at art?

auburn leaves from bushes that line the campus

Pratt Institute was founded by Charles Pratt in 1887; it was meant to be an affordable college for industrial studies. Pratt based the school around everything he wished he could have obtained, having had gone to college. Being a prosperous business man, gave him the resources to provide this type of educational tool to the working class Americans of the time. He decided to purchase land in his neighborhood, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, which would later be home to the sculpture park. Pratt wanted to keep the college in his hometown and it gives us, many generations later, the essence of his passion for the school.

an artistic bench

“Whispering Bench – Texting” by Cathey Billian

a different angle of the artistic bench

By the time of the late 1970’s into the 1980’s, the school took a financial downfall. Since Brooklyn became a shoddy neighborhood and the enrollment rate faced an all-time low. The crisis ensued into the early ‘90’s until the new president of the school, Thomas F. Schutte, decided to do something really radical. In 1993, he decided to close the School of Engineering since the vast majoral popularity was in the architectural school. Students were transferred and faculty was redistributed, but the college remained open and used the financial turn to enrich the college and hopefully regain its popularity to potential students.

a sculpture of skeletal lions, fighting

“Lions at the gate” by Wendy Klemperer

a sculpture of a cluster of stones placed tightly juxtaposed one another

“Particle/Wave/Time/Space Continuum” by Karl Saliter

To beautify and update the campus, they decided to improve their historical buildings/halls and turn the court-field into a sculpture park. The park opened in 1999, all thanks to David Weinrib for conceiving such a beautiful plan. It began with just about fifty sculptures sprawled across the yards and gardens. According to Pratt Institute, they now have seventy sculptures, all donated from students, faculty, and graduates. The art is always evolving, and they even featured  a “LOVE” sculpture around six years ago.

a sculpture in the midst of fallen leaves on the campus lawn

“The end justifies the means, justifies the end” by Martha Walker

So if you are ever in the mood to shake up your usual routine and lounge in the sun, try Pratt Institute’s Sculpture Park. Visiting hours are 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Spreading HOPE around the world

Last week I discussed part of the origin of the LOVE pop art icon, and now I will continue to discuss the birth of this beloved print.

the hope sculpture from behind

As referenced last week by Mental Floss, Robert Clark was working a few part time jobs while trying to find his calling in the art world. He vied to discover himself in an abyss of popular artistry. He wanted to make something interesting and, most importantly, avant-garde (something new and unusual). Clark soon made his first print called “Stavrosis,” this was a painting depicting his own version of the Crucifixion of Christ. After finishing this abstraction he finally felt a spiritual calling to his artistry; something akin to a divine epiphany. Clark then changed his name to symbolize his spiritual rebirth; he decided to rename himself Robert Indiana, after the place in which he was raised..


In 1961 Indiana caught his first break, doing a piece called “The American Dream.” This piece is what got him noticed as one of the contributors to a new art style called “Pop art.” When most people hear Pop art they automatically think Campbell’s soup, weird blond wig, and some wonky ‘80’s glasses, but Indiana actually played a large part in the art cultural movement and even worked closely with Andy Warhol. But he decided to refrain from the public eye since he didn’t want to lose his faith in a sea of drugs, sex, and intense limelight.

Andy Warhol glaring into the distance while holding a dog

We see ya, Andy…
Image Credit: Giphy

Indiana went on to get commissioned to do a piece for the World’s Fair of 1964 in New York City, which was one of the precursors to the LOVE art piece as he slowly introduced typography into the art world. This one was called “EAT” and was a print of that word. Everyone got confused by the piece, mistaking it for a cafe (or maybe one of those automat things that went out of style) but the simplicity of the word was secretly really poetic.

the hope sculpture from the fronta close view of the hope sculpture from behind

1958 was the year of early conception of the beloved typography piece called “LOVE” and almost instantly the icon was born. He toyed with the poeticism of the word “LOVE”, separating the LO and VE, and tilting the O the side. Some viewed this inquisitive “O” as sensual and others saw nothing of the sort. By 1965, MoMA had commissioned him to make a version for their year end Christmas card and in that day and age his LOVE piece went, what we know today as, viral. Everyone wanted a LOVE print since it symbolize so many different things in that time. The Hippies used it to “…spread love, not war.” and the popularity only increased from there. MoMA gave Indiana his own show in 1966 since people loved LOVE so much. By 1971, sculptures of LOVE made of COR-TEN steel debuted in New York and Boston.

But there was a MAJOR issue in this rise to stardom…

Since Indiana didn’t want interrupt the print with a copyright, insignia, or watermark, he didn’t exactly have legal jurisdiction over his own piece. Therefore anyone could buy, sell, or trade his work without any chance of plagiarism. Soon, paperweights and other tchotchkes began to surface in retail, without permission of resale to Indiana. The more it was used, the more Indiana was forgotten. His typographic poeticism and wit was sold to the highest bidder, unbeknownst to him. And his LOVE piece soon fell prey to cheesy gimmicks in advertising.

After this devastating loss, Indiana disappeared from the art scene for the next thirty years. But, in 2008 he felt compelled to make another shock in the art world. Indiana came back to aid in former President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign; he made HOPE. It was modeled after LOVE but had a different word in mind, curated to mean a million things in one print.

the hope sculpture from the bottom left corner

According to New York Daily News, In 2014, Indiana released more public sculptures of HOPE in New York City, Venice, Caracas, Munich, Miami, Vinalhaven, and Maine, vying to fill the world with hope. It was engineered to take selfies with and post them for International Hope Day which also is Indiana’s birthday, September 13th.

a black and white view of the front of the hope sculpture

Both sculptures still stand in their original places today; a five minute walk between each other. They are free to visit! So feel free to take your own selfies with them.

Whiteout while its white out

Today, a wet and icy mix falls from the pale sky. The sun is casted by thick clouds of vapor accumulation and their secretions cascade down on everything below. Ultimately baptizing New York City in the side effects of a cold front colliding with warm. Everything gets washed away at one point then it freezes over; preserving the dirt and grime that lies beneath it. It will never see the true beauty of pure daylight that could potentially grace the city since the clouds stay well passed the sun’s departure and the moon comes out to play. As dusk rolls in like oceanic waves, the sky deepens; getting darker and darker by each minute. Our eyesight acclimates to the new surrounding as we acknowledge the absence of pure sunlight. Artificial light pours from street lamps, in different shades of orange, yellow, and fluorescent white. We’ve missed the daylight for so long; our skin craving to be kissed by those beautiful rays of light and warmth. What it is the power of light? What is it about light that makes everything so special and important? It has the potential to make the most beautiful things undesirable and the most ugliest of sorts seem so lively and stunning. As we live through the last few weeks of short days and long nights, we have to find a way to survive without the sunlight that we adore so greatly.

a bed of lit orbs hovering over the lawn at Madison square park

To aid us in our imminent imagination, we have 19,800 square feet of light that illuminates the cold grass on Madison Square Park. 900 golf ball sized spheres seem to hover over the icy compacted ground in the wake of the sun. They angulate in a certain premeditated rhythm. The light appears to move through the spheres in the form of an optical massage. The pattern fades in and fades out, goes fast then slow, makes twists and turns, and switches from one space to the next. It’s beautiful and the most relaxing thing to watch in that part of the city. Surrounded by taxi horns, rude New Yorkers, the everlasting darkness, and harsh lighting from the city, Whiteout creates its own definition of nighttime in the city and ultimately celebrates it.

lit white LED orb

Whiteout was made by Austrian born artist, Erwin Redl. He now lives in New York City, making artistic light installments for building facades. He went to an performing arts school in Austria named University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna studying electronic music. Redl then came to America and studied computer art at the School of Visual Art, here, in New York City. After graduating in 1995, he was a featured artist in the Whitney Biennial 2002.

the motion of the light traveling through the system of light orbs

Redl explains that this piece was inspired by the darker and colder months of winter and how the grand scale was odd for such an urban setting like NYC. He reports in a press release which can be found in this Architectural Lighting article, “I am intrigued by the Park’s option of a large-scale installation that blurs the border between the virtual and the real. The physicality of the swaying orbs in conjunction with the abstract animations of their embedded white lights allows the public to explore a new, hybrid reality in this urban setting.”

a bed of the light orbs juxtaposed a tree

The two beds of lights are built with a steel frame which hangs each light a foot over the ground. The cage is 12 feet tall.

the base of the structural cagethe suspension cables that make the structural cage of the art piecea structural element at the top of the cage

Whiteout has been on display since November 2017 and will remain until March 25, 2018; which is five days after Spring would have begun. Enjoy it while the last weeks of winter graces us with its brutal beauty.

Roses are red… Towers are pink…

Since last Wednesday, I’ve been really anticipating the upcoming seasons. By upcoming, I’m referring to summer, in particular, since the spring normally gives me a plethora of allergies. If we could only fast forward to Summer when everything is already in bloom and strikingly beautiful, I would be one happy CityTech student! Last Wednesday had New York City in the upper 70 degree range. The way the sun beat down on the pavement and upon my back as I walked to the train station made me wonder if it was still winter. But, then I saw the brown grass and leafless trees and was quickly reminded that the season didn’t magically change, it was just an environmental fluke. At one point I looked to the sky screaming, “Stop playing tricks on me!” while jumping frantically. Luckily no one was around to see my crazy tantrum. Spring is rapidly approaching, but we still have to last through the final stings of winter. So to keep the excitement growing, I wanted to post about the most flowery, springy, sun-tastic piece of art; it practically screeches “Hold on, I’m Comin’” by Sam & Dave.

overall view of the rose crystal tower from the corner of union square park

Near Union Square Park valiantly stands a large tower of crystal roses; they shine, glisten, and bounce the rays of sunlight, it’s called the “Rose Crystal Tower “. It teases us with the floral blooms that we so desperately want to see. The statue stands thirty-one feet in the air, charming the busy area with a vibrant pop of color in a sea of varying grays and browns. The roses stay just as beautiful and lively in every season. It graced Greenwich Village in October, taking the place of the last temporary art piece “Morphous” (which I mentioned last year).

the art display sign, explaining the piece

The top of the the rose crystal tower

According to Union Square Partnership, the tower was built by 76-year old Washington native Dale Chihuly. This will be Chihuly’s second public installment in New York City; his first being a temporary piece in the Botanical Gardens. Each rose was made out of a substance he calls “Polyvitrois,” which is a casted plastic substance made to resemble glass. The roses are then wrapped around a steel structure which is placed upon a steel podium. Chihuly discussed his inspiration for the piece in a statement he made to the NYC Parks Department. He claimed, “New York City’s energy, architecture, and rich creative history is formidable and it continues to offer infinite inspiration for artists. I am excited to share my work with the residents and visitors who pass through New York City every year.”

the body of the rose crystal tower

The Rose Crystal Tower will be on display up until this October. So if you haven’t seen it yet, you still have a chance.

the rose crystal tower and podium

A Valentine’s For Everyone

miniature eye-view of the lost man creek exhibit

Have you ever taken a hike before? You feel like you’re the only one on the planet. As if you, somehow, left behind all civilization to find something that wasn’t really that hidden; you find yourself. What if, instead of being alone with mother nature, you were accompanied by someone? Perhaps, a significant other, a friend, or family member. Would you still feel alone? Or would you relish in the overtaking feeling of secluded bliss? In which, the world is endlessly you’re personal playground and you’re not only self-aware, but you are also conscious of the other person (or people) you are with. Our innate sense of busyness tends to divide our entire thought process. Thus, making it difficult to connect with one topic at a time. But given ample time and conducive environment, everyone has the ability to shake loose of all our daily demands and focus on the things that normally get forgotten.

a view over-looking the lost man creek exhibit

There is something to help you drift away from the busy New York City culture and indulge in something more natural. Sometimes, it’s the little (pun intended) things that can relax us. Inside Metrotech lies an art piece called “Lost Man Creek” created by, Connecticut born artist, Spencer Finch. It is a miniature version of the Redwood National Park located in California. According to The Public Art Fund, Finch scaled down the 790 acre patch of land into a tiny topographical version. The scale of the mini-forest is about 1:100, making 100-400 foot Redwood trees to only be comparable in mere inches; ranging from 12” to 48”.

a sign for the lost man creek exhibita side view of the lost man creek exhibit
It’s reign of display is reaching its imminent conclusion soon. By next month the future of this public art piece is undetermined. So if you haven’t seen it yet or have seen it and thoroughly enjoy it, get your last visits in now; before it’s too late. The next time you visit the Metrotech Center to satisfy your desperate cravings for Chipotle or that Five Guys burger you’ve been thinking about all day, try taking a little time for yourself to be alone with your thoughts. On a day like today – regardless if you are single, in a relationship, or in something quite complicated – self admiration is key. a tiny house inside the lost man creek exhibit