Not all art is meant to be confined in museums or residences.
Some pieces are most at home outdoors, entrenched in the small pockets of escape within the pulsating city. Madison Square Park, with its widely celebrated Mad. Sq. Art. Program, is one of these special, noteworthy places where art meets the outdoors with enchanting results.
Located between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue where 5th meets Broadway, Madison Square Park is not the largest park in NYC by any means. But it’s this inherent modesty that separates the space from the madding crowd and makes it the intimate sanctuary of art and nature that it is. The park spans seven acres of lush lawns, playgrounds, dog runs, and vibrant foliage, with stunning large-scale art exhibits throughout. The Mad. Sq. Art. Program—supported by the Madison Square Park Conservancy—ensures the grounds always feature fascinating pieces from acclaimed sculptors. Past installations were created by an impressive list of artists including Mark di Suvero, Shannon Plumb, Alison Saar, Rachel Feinstein, Bill Fontana, and many others.
Currently on display is renowned British artist Tony Cragg’s Walks of Life, which features three mammoth bronze sculptures. Cragg’s large-scale works posses a keen sense of movement and energy as they strike a sophisticated balance between the familiar and the abstract. Grounded and yet metaphysical in their scope, they incorporate contorted surfaces whose contours push out to create an overall aesthetic that is as striking as it is captivating. Walks of Life continues in the Madison Square Park tradition of distinct and visceral large-scale sculpture exhibits that meld into the surrounding areas of the park as if they are a natural extension of the vegetation that encircles them. The Madison Square Park Conservancy puts a great deal of time and resources into their Mad. Sq. Art program, and those who are lucky enough to visit the park are the beneficiaries of their unflinching dedication.
A visit to Madison Square Park provides a welcome respite from that sustained city buzz. Just a short stroll from a Gramercy condo, it’s a place that can immerse one in greenery while also providing the opportunity to be entranced by a delicate mix of nature and art. Surrounded by towering Flatiron condos, the green expanses of the park offer a pristine haven where relaxation can be enhanced by artistic expression, and where free concerts combined with rotating art installations often create a brimming cultural hub pulsating with creativity.
Photo by: Richard Winchell / CC BY