2013 Public Art Installations

Ship of Tolerance by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

In partnership with the Dumbo Arts Festival and Studio in A School, Brooklyn Bridge Park was proud to host Ship of Tolerance. Created by acclaimed Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, the project was dedicated to educating and connecting children from different continents, cultures and identities through the universal language of art.

Originally modeled after an ancient Egyptian sailing vessel, the ship was constructed with wood and measures approximately 66-feet long by 23-feet wide. It successfully launched in Siwa, Egypt in 2005 and was then recreated in Venice, Italy; San Moritz, Switzerland; Sharjah, UAE; Miami, Florida and Havana, Cuba. Under the direction of the Kabakovs, Studio in A School art instructors led workshops for hundreds of students in public schools throughout the five boroughs. A selection of 150 student paintings were sewn together to create the sail for the ship. The remaining paintings were on display throughout the city.

The ship remained in the water near the Empire Fulton Ferry section of the park from September 27, 2013 to October 8, 2013 after which time it traveled on a barge around Manhattan and to Staten Island.


Watertower II by Tom Fruin

Watertower II, a vast water tower sculpture created by Brooklyn artist Tom Fruin and presented by the Tom Fruin Studio, was on display in the Main Street section of the park from May 10th -12th, 2013. Similar to the original Watertower that sits atop 20 Jay Street, the sculpture was constructed using nearly one thousand scraps of colorful Plexiglas and steel. A tribute to the “iconic New York water tower and a symbol of the vibrancy of Brooklyn”, Fruin worked with salvaged and discarded materials recovered from all over New York City to create the massive sculpture, including the floors of Chinatown sign shops, the closed DUMBO studio of artist Dennis Oppenheim, and Astoria’s demolition salvage warehouse, Build It Green! NYC. A beautiful and unique addition to the park, natural light illuminated Watertower II’s kaleidoscopic colors during the day and software controlled light sequences at night.

© Matthew Pugliese

Topsy-Turvy: A Camera Obscura Installation by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder

Topsy-Turvy: A Camera Obscura Installation reimagined one of the world’s earliest moving image devices as a cylindrical viewing room. Created by Dumbo-based artists Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder, Topsy-Turvy encouraged visitors to enter the camera obscura’s “micro cinema” and catch a glimpse of inverted and abstracted images from the Empire Fulton Ferry section of the park. Topsy-Turvy offered visitors unique views of the New York Harbor, Brooklyn Bridge and the Lower Manhattan Skyline in real time. The installation remained at Empire Fulton Ferry from September 27, 3013 to November 10, 2013.

©Etienne Frossard

Untitled Benches, Tables (Cube for Children) by Michael Clyde Johnson

Inspired by ideas relating to mid-twentieth century playground design, this artwork work by Michael Clyde Johnson invites interaction – to be touched, walked under, around and through. Integrated within the social and urban environment in which it is installed, it is an innately social artwork meant for physical and imaginative play.

Michael Clyde Johnson is an object-based sculptor and designer working out of Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Maine. “Working in a diverse array of media, my work often takes the form of large object installations arranged both indoors and out,” Johnson says of his art. His work has been displayed in various venues throughout New York, including Socrates Sculpture Park, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art.

Presented by DUMBO Arts Festival in partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park, this piece was on display at Main Street’s Riverview Lawn from September 2013 to March 2014.

©Patryce Bak

Observatory II by Minna Pollanen:

Brooklyn Bridge Park was welcomed Observatory II, a public art installation by artist Minna Pollanen. The project questioned what, why and how we choose to focus our gaze on certain parts of the landscape. Through the usage of DIY viewfinders, the project suggests unfamiliar angles of well-known surroundings. Landmarks like the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges could be observed using the strategically positioned binoculars. By deconstructing the familiar landscape, the viewing platform re-contextualises the everyday and transforms it into a new experience.

Pollanen’s Observatory II was part of the Brooklyn Montreal Exchange, an art exchange program between a group of galleries in each city. Brooklyn artists exhibited in Montreal in October 2012 and Montreal artists later exhibited in Brooklyn. Smack Mellon and A.I.R. were two local galleries that participated in the program. Observatory II was on display in January and February of 2013 in the Main Street section of the park.

©Sarah Dougherty

Grayson Cox: Half Story Mountain

Brooklyn Bridge Park welcomed a minimalist sculpture by New York-based artist Grayson Cox. Supported by Two Trees Management, Half Story Mountain was a 6-foot tall fiberglass sculpture that resembles a Corbusier lounge chair silhouette embedded into a sculpted mountain form. Half Story Mountain was on view through October 2014 on the lawn at Empire Fulton Ferry. Please click here to learn more about Grayson Cox.

©Etienne Frossard