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Madison Square Park to turn into a ‘utopia’ of public art and performance this summer

Artist Josiah McElheny is partnering with musicians, dancers and poets for the project Prismatic Park

by Gabriella Angeleti  |  8 May 2017
Sketched rendering of the Blue Wall sculpture by Josiah McElheny (Photo: courtesy of Mad. Sq. Arts and the artist)
Sketched rendering of the Blue Wall sculpture by Josiah McElheny (Photo: courtesy of Mad. Sq. Arts and the artist)
Madison Square Park will come alive with music, dance and poetry this summer through a project by Josiah McElheny in collaboration with the non-profits Danspace Projects, Blank Forms and Poets House. The artist was commissioned by Mad Sq Art to develop a programme that creates “an idealistic—almost utopian—experience of how an urban park can, through the arts, advance public spaces through the visionary efforts of individuals and groups”, says Brooke Kamin Rapaport, the organisation’s director and senior curator. Titled Prismatic Park, the project is due to opened on 13 June and run until 8 October on the Oval Lawn.

The performances will be staged from a set of three glass tile and wood platforms, which include: a curvilinear and translucent blue sound wall where experimental music will be produced; a circular, reflective green floor for vanguard dance; and a vaulted-roof, red and yellow pavilion for poets.

The artist hopes that the platforms will allow the audience to “celebrate the complexity of the park and its unpredictable essence, and to provide the impetus for artists to build new works that navigate the line between their own personal artistic direction, which might be enriched or changed by the ‘interruptions’ that chance audiences will inevitably create”.

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