Amazing Public Art Installations You Can’t Miss This Summer

See recent posts by Krystin Arneson

Photo courtesy of Flickr/M S

Photo courtesy of Flickr/M S

You've probably seen "The Floating Piers" pop up on your Instagram or Facebook feed at least once recently. Brought to you by artistic duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude, this two-week public installation in Lake Iseo, Italy is nothing short of incredible. Carried by a modular floating dock system comprised of 220,000 polyethylene cubes, more than one million square feet of shimmering saffron-colored fabric form a pathway for visitors to walk from island to island. The project, which gives people the feeling that they're walking on water, has been in the making since 1970 when the artists first conceptualized it (Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009). The bad news: the installation was on view until July 3. The good news: There are several other public art installations to ooh and ahh over this summer. Here, a few of our favorites.

Olafur Eliasson's Floating Waterfall in Versailles

We all know the Palace of Versailles was built on opulence, but even Louis XIV couldn’t have anticipated a waterfall that would float in the sky. Artist Olafur Eliasson’s structure, which opened on the grounds on June 7, appears to hover at one end of the Grand Canal even though it’s actually supported by a pump system and crane painted in gold camouflage. While no one is sure of the waterfall’s actual height (Eliasson won’t tell), it makes for a fun guessing game with fellow visitors.

On view through October 30. 

Mika Tajima's "Meridian (Gold)" in Long Island City

If you find yourself in Hunter’s Point South Park, you might stumble across what looks like a steamy pink hot tub. The sculpture, which you can sit in and chat with other loungers, billows water vapor in hues of magenta and light turquoise. But what’s the deeper meaning behind all of this? According to SculptureCenter (the installation’s host), the different colors correspond to the global sentiment for gold in real-time, which is reflected in the fluctuating price of the commodity. Pink clouds mean that the value is going up. And interestingly, the artist says the value is the highest it has been in two years.

On view through September 25.

Ugo Rondinone's "Seven Magic Mountains" in Las Vegas

Located in the Nevada desert, this photogenic outdoor installation was inspired by hoodoos, which is a funny word for spires of rock that stick out from drainage basins. Resembling the natural spires’ tall, thin forms, these seven manmade versions are painted in neon colors. Rondinone’s vision, which is presented by the Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art, bridges a connection between humans and nature as well as the artificial and natural. Freshly recovered from a round of graffiti vandalism, the artwork took five years to make and cost more than $3 million. 

On view until May 2018.

Rachel Whiteread's "Cabin" in New York City

“Cabin,” a public sculpture by British artist Rachel Whiteread, is set to open on Governors Island on July 19. Installed in 2015, the permanent installation will be part of the island’s new park, the Hills. The masterpiece, a concrete reverse cast of a New England-style wooden shed, will be placed on Discovery Hill and surrounded by bronze casts of actual trash that’s found on the island.

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