By Randy Kennedy: New York Times,
THE sculptor Richard Serra, a stickler about the differences between art and architecture, once described most public sculpture in urban architectural settings as “displaced, homeless, overblown objects that say, ‘We represent modern art.’”
For most of the last century, residential and commercial developments in New York City tended to marry architecture and art with that kind of ambivalence, if they married them at all: lobbies with a few pretty, unremarkable paintings; courtyards with pleasant design pieces or plop art by sculptors whose work rarely showed up in the museums around town.
But the landscape is starting to change, leading to what will soon be an almost walkable itinerary of some serious art in and around Manhattan buildings. The phenomenon is propelled largely by the same factors that are making it more difficult for artists themselves to live and work in the city: a concentration of global wealth with its eyes trained on real estate and luxury developers trying to stand out to attract a piece of that wealth.
Recently, I arranged a meandering summer tour to visit a handful of such works that have only recently arrived in the liminal public space of private buildings; I also included my favorite exceptions to the bad art-and-architecture marriage, some of which have been around for years but are little known beyond the crowds that pass them every day, on the way to offices or apartments.
My map was also marked with some prime examples of what’s on the horizon. Chief among them are the condominium buildings under construction at 56 Leonard Street in TriBeCa, a Herzog & de Meuron creation that will feature a mirror-polished stainless steel Anish Kapoor sculpture nestled surreally at a corner of its base, this British artist’s first permanent public piece here; and 152 Elizabeth Street in NoLIta, the first residential building in New York by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, into which he will incorporate an art environment of his own, a gossamer light-and-fog space in the entryway, visible from the sidewalk.