artist / participant
September 20, 2013, NEW YORK, NY—Public Art Fund announces Katharina Grosse: Just Two of Us, a major new installation for MetroTech Center that blurs the boundaries between sculpture, painting, and architectural space. The artist’s first outdoor work in New York City, Just Two of Us, centers around a mass of jutting, brightly-painted forms that transform the wooded space in the middle of MetroTech Commons into an undulating sculptural landscape. Creating a vivid terrain, the work calls to mind enormous pieces of technicolor firewood or meteors that have fallen from the sky. The artist, whose exuberant painting style relates to traditions of abstract painting as well as street art, will be onsite for the duration of the artwork’s week-long installation, painting sections of the work in situ. Katharina Grosse: Just Two of Us will be on view at MetroTech Center, Downtown Brooklyn, October 27, 2013 – September 14, 2014.
For twenty years, Public Art Fund has partnered with Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) at MetroTech Center to bring works by exciting contemporary artists to downtown Brooklyn. With a focus on group exhibitions featuring new commissions, these shows have included artists like Vito Acconci, Martin Basher, Chakaia Booker, Matthew Day Jackson, Esther Kläs, Ryan McGinness, Dave McKenzie, Jason Middlebrook, Adam Pendleton, Erin Shirreff, Valeska Soares, and Do-Ho Suh—many of whom were presenting their first work in the public sphere. Katharina Grosse’s solo exhibition, which has been created specifically for the space, marks a new direction in the organizations’ decades-long collaboration. “To mark the 20th anniversary of Public Art Fund’s exhibitions at MetroTech Center, we’ve invited an internationally acclaimed artist to create a bold new installation that dramatically transforms the site and invites visitors to experience it in a dynamic new way,” said Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator. “Katharina Grosse’s hybrid approach to painting and sculpture feels very natural in the context of a public space at the center of a thriving urban area where culture, technology, and innovation intersect.” “We’ve never been more excited about our work in downtown Brooklyn – this exhibition exemplifies the cultural dynamism of the neighborhood and brings members of our community into direct contact with one of the most exciting artists working today,” said David L. Berliner, FCRC’s Chief Operating Officer and the executive responsible for overseeing the Company’s various art programs.
Originally a painter in the traditional sense, Grosse’s large-scale installations have grown from a desire to lend a sense of volume to painting, or, as she has said, to explore how “painting can appear in space.” She is well-known for her use of a large nozzle spray paint gun, which she often wields while elevated by crane to paint surfaces as diverse as ceilings, staircases, walls, and furniture. Her works incorporate existing objects like a dilapidated home in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, as well as forms she creates herself, like amorphous piles of earth and sculpted foam. In Just Two of Us, eighteen large fiberglass-coated forms designed by the artist will be configured around trees and the existing landscape of the Commons to create two irregular formations; Grosse’s physical movements around the work and the gestural quality of her spray painting technique will create brilliant bursts of color on the sculptures throughout the plaza. Visually impactful and technically rigorous, the installation will draw passersby into the plaza, creating an arts destination in downtown Brooklyn.
“Katharina’s work often intervenes with space in ways that show a new or unexpected dimension to a site, and from her first visit to MetroTech, she was fascinated by the relationship between the organic space of the central plaza and the formality of the surrounding architecture,” said Public Art Fund Associate Curator Andria Hickey, who organized the exhibition. “This thoughtful and provocative approach makes her the perfect artist to create a significant new work for the plaza. Her improvised painting affects a sense of surprise, movement, and direction in the work that will invite people who pass in and around the space to experience this familiar public square in a completely new way.”
Having created large-scale, immersive installations across the globe, Just Two of Us is Grosse’s New York City debut. It joins a second prominent outdoor work in Brooklyn—Ursula von Rydingsvard’s Ona, which is on view outside the main entrance of the Barclays Center on Daily News Plaza—increasing the presence of major public artworks in the borough. A project of FCRC, Ona is a monumental bronze sculpture designed to interact with the distinctive architecture of the arena and draw visitors to the borough, which is home to numerous cultural destinations including the nearby Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Museum, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, where Public Art Fund’s exhibition with Oscar Tuazon entitled People, remains on view through October 13.
Just Two of us
MetroTech Center, Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn