Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Proud to be Green

Proud to be Green

Madison Square Park is proud to work with New York Restoration Project to compost organic material, such as leaves, plants and grass clippings, that we collect in the park in an effort to be green. Often, such organic waste is placed in a landfill where the normally rapid decomposition process is slowed by an absence of oxygen. Oxygen allows organism to convert the organic material into rich compost, which can be used to amend soil and add nutrients to promote healthier plants that do not require chemical fertilizers.

So, with the help of the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), Madison Square Park has been able to eliminate hundreds of bags of organic material that would have normally sat uselessly in a landfill, and converted them into compost. This year alone we have already sent 300 bags of organic material to be composted. NYRP uses the compost that they have created in community gardens, parks and public spaces throughout the city.

Madison Square Park also has several smaller compost bins that we use onsite. These bins allow us to create our own compost for the park. We would like to expand this program, but we realize that a large scale composting operation within park confines is not feasible. This is why we are so pleased to have such a wonderful partnership with New York Restoration Project, which helps us to run a more green operation by reducing much of the waste that we produce. 

  • Proud to be Green Proud to be Green 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Mad. Sq. Art: Jacco Olivier

Mad. Sq. Art is pleased to announce an outdoor exhibition of six painterly animations by acclaimed Dutch artist Jacco Olivier as the final presentation of its 2011 season. Mad. Sq. Art celebrates the artist’s first public art commission in New York City, which will feature both new, site-specific and existing works displayed throughout the Park. Olivier’s series of stop-motion animations will brighten New York’s winter landscape with moving images exemplary of the artist’s characteristically rich color palette and lavishly textured style. The exhibition will remain on view daily in Madison Square Park from December 15, 2011 through March 12, 2012.

Beginning with a single image, Olivier introduces subtle alterations with each additional layer through his process of over-painting.  After he paints and re-paints his images, Olivier photographs each stage of the process as stop-motion animation until an original no longer exists. The resulting work reveals a history of the painting process that captures scraps of narrative and visual iconography brought to light as a moving painting.

According to the artist, Jacco Olivier, exhibiting in Madison Square Park provides “an opportunity to go totally abstract and see things on a molecular level, to change perspective[…] to show an animation in the ground, you really have to look down to see it, which creates a little private moment for the viewer that is free of narrative, subject or meaning.”

President of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, Debbie Landau comments, “Mad. Sq. Art is pleased to bring Jacco Olivier and his richly colorful work to Madison Square Park. The subtle yet engaging quality of his animations will infuse an appreciated energy into the Park during the winter months ahead, drawing connections between scenes of natural landscape in his beautiful, painterly animations and the natural life of the Park that so commonly lays hidden beneath the snow each winter.”

Olivier’s exhibition for Madison Square Park will feature a combination of his larger and more intimate works including: Stumble (2009); Hide (2004); Rabbit Hole (2011); Bird (2011); Deer (2011); and Home (2004).Animations will be displayed on screens imbedded in and suspended throughout the Park’s existing landscape, equally animating life in the Park’s heavily trafficked and quieter spaces. Olivier’s moving images of flora and fauna are set to artfully draw parallels to their natural accompaniments in Madison Square Park for its 50,000 daily visitors.

In connection with the exhibition, Mad. Sq. Art will publish a limited-edition exhibition catalogue designed by Pentagram, featuring a scholarly essay about Olivier’s new work along with full-color photographs by acclaimed photographer James Ewing.  The publication will mark the first time Mad. Sq. Art has documented a moving-image project with a printed catalogue.

About the Artist:

Dutch artist Jacco Olivier (b. 1972) studied at the Rijksakademie, and lives and works in Amsterdam.  In 2010 he had solo exhibitions at the Centro de Arte de Caja de Burgos, Spain, and at the Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston, Texas. He was included in exhibitions at the MCA Denver (2006), ZKM, Museum fur Neue Kunst & Medienmuseum, Karlsruhe (2007) and in the 8th SITE Santa Fe Biennial: The Dissolve, curated by Daniel Belasco and Sarah Lewis (2010). In 2012, Olivier will participate in a residency program at Artspace in San Antonio, Texas. Jacco Olivier is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin; and Parra & Romero Galeria de Arte, Madrid; and Ron Mandos Gallery in Amsterdam.  His exhibition in Madison Square Park is Olivier’s New York public art debut.

Mad. Sq. Art and Madison Square Park Conservancy:

Mad. Sq. Art is the free, contemporary art program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Major Support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by Liane Ginsberg, Agnes Gund, Jennifer and Matthew Harris, Toby Devan Lewis, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Irving Harris Foundation and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by Raymond Learsy and Melva Bucksbaum, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Melissa S. Meyer, Ronald A. Pizzuti, The Rudin Family, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Leslie and Howard Zemsky, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust and the Sol LeWitt Fund for Artist Work.

Major Support for the Jacco Olivier exhibition is provided by the Mondriaan Foundation.  This program is supported, in part, by the Netherlands Cultural Services. Substantial support is provided by Marianne Boesky Gallery, NYC & Co., and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.  Delta Air Lines is the official airline of Mad. Sq. Art.  Mad. Sq. Art is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Since its inception in 2004, Mad. Sq. Art has commissioned and presented twenty premier installations in Madison Square Park by acclaimed artists ranging in practice and media. Mad. Sq. Art has exhibited  works by artists including Bill Beirne Jim Campbell, Richard Deacon, Bill Fontana, Ernie Gehr, Antony Gormley, Jene Highstein, Tadashi Kawamata, Mel Kendrick, Sol LeWitt, Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Roxy Paine, Jaume Plensa, Shannon Plumb, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Jessica Stockholder, Mark di Suvero, and William Wegman, among others.

In March 2011, Mad. Sq. Art received the International Art Critics Association (AICA-USA)’s 2010 Second Place award for “Best Project in a Public Space” for the organization’s exhibition of Antony Gormley: Event Horizon, which featured 31 sculptures of the human form placed in and around Madison Square Park and on the rooftops of architectural treasures throughout New York City’s Flatiron District and environs.  In Spring 2011, Mad. Sq. Art presented the New York City public art debut of acclaimed Spanish artist Jaume Plensa with the premiere of Echo, a towering 44-foot-tall sculpture of the face of a young girl in dream state. Most recently, Mad. Sq. Art. premiered Alison Saar’s Feallan and Fallow, a six piece installation featuring four newly commissioned works by the Los Angeles-based artist.  Feallan and Fallow will remain on view through December 31, 2011 and will coincide with the premiere of Jacco Olivier’s exhibition.

The Madison Square Park Conservancy, a public/private partnership with New York City Parks & Recreation, is the nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping historic Madison Square Park a bright, beautiful and lively public space.

For more information on the Madison Square Park Conservancy and its programs, please visit

*Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York / Madison Square Park Conservancy

MEDIA CONTACT: FITZ & CO,Concetta Duncan, Tel: 212-627-1455 x232,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Full of Colors: Madison Square Park, NYC
P.S. Like NYC Photos if you Love New York


Full of Colors: Madison Square Park, NYC

P.S. Like NYC Photos if you Love New York

Mad. Sq. Holiday 2011

Seasons Greetings from MSP! Join us for a festive gathering of the annual tree lighting ceremony with tasty treats and warm sweets for all to enjoy.

Get cozy and bring family and friends to watch as the holiday magic begins. The New York Life Singers will make the moment just right, then Audra Rox will close out the night. The kids will be joyous and so will you, as we march into the season along Fifth Avenue.

Mad. Sq. Holiday will take place in the Northern Plaza of Madison Square Park, rain or shine on December 6th at 4:30 pm.

Mad. Sq. Holiday is supported by Walgreens, Marimekko, The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, Hill Country Barbecue Market, Hill Country Chicken and Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Never Forget: Veterans Day Parade 2011

Beginning early this morning, preparations began in Madison Square Park to host the Veterans Day Parade opening ceremony and wreath laying ceremony.

Today marks the largest Veteran’s Day Parade in NYC with over 25,000 people present. Starting at the Eternal Light Memorial Flagpole, a bevy of esteemed guests honored our Veterans.  Among those marching are 27 active military units, 6 Medal of Honor recipients, veterans groups and other proud supporters of our nation’s armed forces.

The pride and appreciation for our veterans was palpable as speeches were made celebrating US Veterans, past and present, at the opening ceremony. Speakers included US Senator Charles Schumer, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and CIA Director, General David Petraeus among many other distinguished guests.

The theme of this year’s 92nd annual Veterans Day parade was “Never Forget,” commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11/2001. Additional recognitions include the 70th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War and the 100th Anniversary of naval aviation.

Madison Square Park is extremely proud to host the Veterans Day Parade opening ceremony and take part in honoring the brave men and women who throughout history have answered our nation’s call to step up and risk their lives to preserve freedom in the United States and throughout the world.

Thank you Veterans for all of your sacrifices.

The Veterans Day Parade runs along 5th avenue, beginning at 23rd Street and ending at 56th.

MSPC Staff Planting

This past Wednesday, Madison Square Park Conservancy’s office-bound staff escaped the Eleven Madison building and had some fun in the dirt.

With the help of our amazing gardeners, our 10 MSPC staff members planted 6,000 bulbs in Worth Square. We got our hands dirty while planting a range of bulbs, including Grape Hyacinth, crocuses, species tulips and daffodils.

Planting bulbs, especially that many, was not easy work.  The indoor staff gained even more respect for our gardeners who are in the process of planting nearly 55,000 bulbs that will make Madison Square Park bursting with color come springtime.

While we have an idea of what the flowers will look like, we cannot wait for spring to come to see our hard work come to fruition.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Q and A with Alison Saar in Whitewall Magazine

Twyla Shelmire from Whitewall Magazine sits down with Mad. Sq. Art’s latest artist Alison Saar to discuss her newest installation “Feallan and Fallow”.

Whitewall Magazine

Alison Saar: Feallan and Fallow” by Twyla Shelmire

October 17, 2011

Alison Saar’s installation, “Feallan and Fallow” may be seen daily in Madison Square Park now through December 31. Four new works, commissioned by the Mad. Sq. Art Program are on display along with two of Saar’s earlier sculptures, “Treesouls” (1994). The new commission represents the four seasons as women evolving through different stages of their life – spring as an adolescent girl, summer as a pregnant woman, fall as a woman in harvest, and winter as a woman resting and renewing herself. “Feallan and Fallow” was inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Persephone, a young goddess abducted by Hades, God of the Underworld. This tale that removes daughter from mother consequently creates the cycle of seasons. Saar answered a few of our questions this fall about her installation, unearthing the personal experience behind the works as well as intrigue of the public realm.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Science of Autumn from Gardener Steph

As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, people start dreading the coming of winter and the possibility of not experiencing much daylight during the work week.  Deciduous plants are also affected by the length of darkness each day. When nights are long enough, an added layer of cells form between the leaves and branches of a plant. This layer begins to block the transport of carbohydrates from the leaf and essentially starts the color change process. Since this process is initiated by day length, the window for fall color roughly starts at the same time every year. How bright and showy the change is determined by a variety of other environmental factors.

Chlorophyll is a green pigment that synthesizes carbohydrates in leaves, but also breaks down in sunlight. It is replaced constantly throughout the growing season in order to keep photosynthesis active. Once the extra cell layer between the branches and leaves is formed, chlorophyll can no longer be replaced within the leaves. Once Chlorophyll is no longer produced, the yellow pigments and orange pigments that are hidden by chlorophyll become visible.

While yellow and orange pigments are present because they are important in capturing light energy, scientists have yet to determine the reason behind why red and purple pigments are found in autumn leaves. These pigments aren’t usually found in leaves during the growing season and they require a lot of energy to produce. There are currently two popular theories behind why the energy draining red and purple pigments are present; one theory states that the pigments act to protect leaves against water loss and frost injury, while another theory believes that the red color warns off pests.

As time goes on, the cell layer between the leaves and the branches become dry and the connections weaken causing the leaves to break off. Since secondary pigments such as yellow, orange and red pigments are also sensitive to light, they too eventually break down leaving brown tannins that stay until the leaf decomposes.

While the biological process for color change is the same for every plant, environmental factors can mean the difference between lasting color and a quick change to brown. Abundant sunlight and low temperatures destroy chlorophyll, but if cool night temperatures are present, the production of secondary pigments is promoted. These two conditions allow for the best fall color production.

So what does this all mean for Mad. Sq. Park?

Due to warm nights and cloudy skies, you shouldn’t expect too many brilliant reds and purples this fall. So even if the colors aren’t as brilliant as can be, sit back, relax, and enjoy one of nature’s finest shows.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Flavor

So far this year, fall colors of our New York City trees are a bit…lacking. This is a repeat of last year unfortunately, and can be blamed on the fact that it has not been sufficiently cool this fall to suppress the chlorophyll in the leaves before they tumble to the earth. Humph!

Luckily, you can saunter around Madison Square Park and gander at the fall plantings and containers to get a little taste of the season. Here is a little horticultural zest for your eyes. Enjoy!