Brooklyn’s art scene doesn’t leave much to desired, thanks to dozens of galleries that stretch from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. But why stay cooped up indoors when summer beckons you out into the sun (especially now that it’s a bit cooler) and there’s a mess of new public art all over the place?
“Brooklyn is really a hotbed of outdoor art,” said Jesse Hamerman, a Public Art Fund project manager. “The canvas of Brooklyn is wide open for artistic intervention.”
To help you on your art adventure, here’s a guide to the borough’s outdoor arts scene, from established pieces to the borough’s newest additions — a 30-foot-tall twig playground.
Fountains are ubiquitous in public spaces, but nothing quite compares to Anne McClain’s “Humanity Fountain.”
A stint volunteering in Mexico led the artist and perfumer to ponder what compassion smell likes, so she developed a scent at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in southern France using the lotus, an ancient symbol of purity, as her inspiration.
Water perfumed by her subtle blend runs through a glass heart that sits atop a white, tomb-like stone base, installed last week in McGorlick Park in Greenpoint. The mechanics are powered by solar energy, so your own contemplations on compassion are best experienced when the sun is at its strongest.
The artist plans on holding free lectures and classes on basic perfumery and aromatherapy at the fountain, including a workshop on how to make your own all-natural aromatherapeutic fragrance on Sept. 18 at 3 pm.
“Humanity Fountain” at McGor-lick Park (Nassau Avenue and Russell Street in Greenpoint, no phone) through Nov. 5. For info, visit www.humanityfragrance.com.
“Horsing Around the Arrows of Time”
Pearl Street Triangle
In “Horsing Around the Arrows of Time,” a four-piece sculpture by Eleanora Kupencow, Green Mother Earth, the Purple King, the Blue Thinker and the Magenta Acrobats bring movement and energy to the Pearl Street Triangle in DUMBO.
Kupencow, whose 32nd-floor apartment towers above DUMBO triangle where the sculpture stands, created each character for fun as a stand-alone piece, but threw them all together to create a Technicolored homage to DUMBO’s manufacturing and industrial history.
“Horsing Around the Arrows of Time” at the Pearl Street Triangle (Pearl and Water streets in DUMBO, no phone) through Sept. 2.
“Myrtle Avenue Bird Town”
Fort Greene Park and Person Park
Birdhouses are better associated with technology class than art school, but Daniel Goers and Jennifer Wong bring beauty to the functional feeder.
In “Myrtle Avenue Bird Town,” the two artists employ recycled materials and experimental building techniques and set up dozens of birdhouses around Myrtle Avenue in an effort to encourage people to stop and observe our avian neighbors and their relationship with our urban environment.
The birdhouses are as diverse as the birds themselves, with wooden pieces that more closely resemble wind chimes than feeders, tubular creations with colorful prints that look like presents ripe for unwrapping, and a steel structure that has a bionic birdfeeder feel to it.
Through workshops, children and adults can learn more about the local bird species as well as build their own birdhouses, should inspiration strike.
“Myrtle Avenue Bird Town” at Fort Greene Park [enter at Myrtle Avenue and St. Edwards Street, (718) 965-8900] and Person Park (enter at Myrtle Avenue and Carlton Avenue, no phone) through Dec. 10. For info, visit www.myrtleavenuebirdtown.com.
The campus of Clinton Hill’s Pratt Institute is littered with artists — and art.
The college’s outdoor Sculpture Park is the largest in the city, with pieces by Donald Lipski, Mark di Suvero. Robert Indiana, Michael Rosch, Hans Van De Bovenkamp, and many other Very Big Names.
This month saw the collection grow, with the addition of three sculptures by the late world-renowned artist Arman, including “Accord Final.” Also known as “They Wouldn’t Let Me Play at Carnegie Hall,” the broken bronze-cast piano found adjacent to the Pratt Library speaks to failed musical aspirations everywhere.
Sculpture Park at Pratt Institute [200 Willoughby Ave. between Hall Street and Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill, (718) 636-3514].
Works by Patrick Dougherty
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Swirling towers of willow saplings create sanctuary and inspire play in one of the most ambitious pieces in Brooklyn right now — a site-specific sculpture of fantastical nest houses constructed solely out of tree saplings and branches at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
“It’s a sculpture for feral children and wayward adults,” said artist Patrick Dougherty, who allowed the Garden’s milieu to drive his creative aspirations for the as-yet untitled piece. “It fits the Garden’s air of discovery.”
Dougherty is known throughout the world for his iconic stick works, but this is the artist’s first city installation.Heposes that the 20-foot-tall sculpture’s organic form beckons to man’s primordial propensity for sticks and weaving.
“No one teaches kids how to play with sticks,” said the artist. “They just do. It’s innate.”
Patrick Dougherty sculpture at Brooklyn Botanic Garden [1000 Washington Ave. at Montgomery Street in Crown Heights, (718) 623-7200].
— with Damian Harris-Hernandez