7 Outdoor Art Installations to Check Out in New York This Summer


While many of the prominent art galleries are closed on summer weekends, the city streets and parks come alive with unique and eye-catching installations, as do the courtyards and roof decks of the city’s best museums.

An aerial view of the pool. (Photo: Max Touhey)

Elizabeth Sutton – Manhattan Park Pool Club

With 60 gallons of paint, artist Elizabeth Sutton has turned the Manhattan Park Pool Club on Roosevelt Island into the brightest cool-down deck in the city. Resembling a giant beach towel from above, it’s a neat sight to see from a ferry passing through the East River if you can’t nab a guest pass. Weekends are particularly crowded and popular with young families who line up early in the morning to snag beach chairs.

30 River Road, Roosevelt Island


Alicja Kwade – “ParaPivot”

On its own, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop is one of the most spectacular outdoor spaces in the city accessible to the public. Each summer a new installation is set up; the best ones meld with the skyline rather than try to compete with it. Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade’s striking “ParaPivot” is a minimalist take on the solar system using stones from around the world to create the planetary orbs held up by sleek steel frames. Go at sunset when the museum is open late for the complete experience.

1000 5th Ave


The centerpiece at the Roberto Burle Marx show. (Photo: Christopher Kompanek)

The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx

The New York Botanical Garden has been increasingly blurring the lines between nature and art with the recent blockbuster exhibits of artists like Frida Kahlo and Dale Chihuly. Their current exhibit takes the fusion one step further with visionary Brazilian landscape architect-turned-abstract-artist Roberto Burle Marx. The centerpiece of the show is an expansive garden in front of the conservatory featuring a towering sculptural fountain.

2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx


Jordan Bennett – “Tepkik”

Look up while traversing Brookfield Place’s expansive Winter Garden atrium to view Jordan Bennett’s playful piece that stretches across overlapping curved banners suspended above a giant marble staircase. Quiltlike in its patchwork construction, “Tepkik” evokes the motion of a mobile when viewed from directly below. In such a heavily trafficked area, it feels like a plea to take a pause.

230 Vesey St

Madison Square Park’s newest installation. (Photo: Christopher Kompanek)

Leonardo Drew – “City in the Grass”

Leonardo Drew’s “City in the Grass evokes less a sliver of skyline than ancient temple ruins. Ripples fashioned to resemble Persian carpets lie under these sculptural gems and stretch over 100 feet, providing providing parkgoers with ample new spots to lounge. The area also doubles as a stage for Madison Square Park’s summer concert series.

11 Madison Ave 

Nicole Eisenman – “Procession”

One of the largest, most powerful and strikingly vibrant pieces in the Whitney Biennial isn’t displayed within the confines of the museum’s airy but finite gallery spaces but rather on a roofdeck that gazes both at the wild expanse of the Hudson River and the density of the city skyline. Nicole Eisenman’s “Procession” is a 3D tableau of migration and evolution that’s at once eerie and whimsical. The artist encourages spectators to walk up-close and in-between her larger-than-life figures as they trek slowly through their endless journey.

99 Gansevoort St

One of Carmen Herrera’s striking sculptures. (Photo: Christopher Kompanek)

Carmen Herrera – “Estructuras Monumentales”

First envisioned as drawings by the Cuban-American artist in the 1960s, this stunning show of minimalist sculptures marks Carmen Herrera’s first major outdoor exhibition at 104 years old. Using primary colors and large jagged shapes she creates abstract works as striking as they are meditative.

City Hall Park (Broadway and Chambers Sts)

By Christopher Kompanek