Life is a Circus

Permanent Art Installations

In New York City, permanent installations challenge our perceptions of space and function

More than almost any city in the world, New York is home to the latest trends and developments in art. It is, after all, the birthplace of many art movements, including abstract impressionism, pop art and street art. It should come as no surprise then, that the city is full of inventive installations that challenge and stimulate art lovers.

One of the exhibitions that, like Thomas McKean’s art, push the boundaries of art and function, is a work called Broken Kilometer, by Walter De Maria, located in, of all places, a Soho loft. The installation is made of 500 polished brass rods arranged in five parallel lines, an invitation to think about the nature of order and beauty.

In another loft, in midtown Manhattan, De Maria created an installation called Earth Room, filling the room with 280,000 pounds of earth. Viewers can guess at what it’s supposed to mean. Perhaps to jar us out of our sense of complacency by confronting us with the sight and smell of a natural rural landscape in the middle of the city?

In Tribeca, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela have created Dream House, a sound and light installation that immerses visitors in a meditative multi-harmonic drone and light of shifting colors.

Art and art installations are everywhere in the Big Apple, and most of it is free. From eye-popping murals and graffiti, to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, the Highline, and Central Park. It’s all there for the discovering. And if you can’t walk there, you can always take the subway.

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