On July 29, Public Art Fund will unveil Rehearsal, Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser’s public art debut. Featuring five distinct large-scale geometric sculptures clad with hand-painted glazed tiles, panels featuring photographs of New York City and Roman and Greek antiquities, and mirror polished stainless steel, Rehearsal will create an immersive experience for park goers to explore. The cluster of sculptures will be located at the iconic terminus of Washington Street, where the Manhattan Bridge frames the Empire State Building. Juxtaposed with the surrounding architecture and natural landscape of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Rehearsal highlights the dynamism of the city and its people. The installation can be seen as both a meeting place and a theatrical set that hearkens back to ancient Roman forums—public spaces where people could assemble, interact, and exchange ideas. Inviting park goers into the installation to explore the painted, photographic, and mirrored details of Wieser’s works, Rehearsal will offer a moment of pause and reflection, and also allow the public to become actors in their own urban narrative. Rehearsal is Wieser’s first-ever outdoor public exhibition and will be on view from July 29, 2021 through April 17, 2022 at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Main Street Park section.
“Wieser is acutely aware that the sculptures will become part of the landscape of the city for a time and wanted to create a powerful synergy with the bustling surroundings of DUMBO. Building a dialogue between the public and the sculptures is an integral part of Rehearsal,” says Public Art Fund Associate Curator Katerina Stathopoulou. “Park goers will activate the works by touching, resting, and seeing themselves and the city reflected as they weave their way through the constellation of sculptures.”
In conceiving her first outdoor work, Wieser was presented with the unique opportunity to link the sculptures to the surrounding built and natural environments. The structures range in height from seven to 13 feet and are encased in a balance of more than 1000 warm and cool-toned clay tiles that were hand-painted by the artist in her Berlin studio. They define the shape of each sculpture and echo the patterns of the neighboring historic red brick buildings and nearby Belgian-block paving stones. Wieser treats each tile as a surface for a painting, showing the marks of her workmanship. Interspersed throughout the sculptures are images that add different layers of perspective: contemporary photographs of New York City taken by Wieser during past trips, and others captured by tourists in the 1980s and 90s, along with reproductions of ancient sculptures that allude to Roman forums. Highly polished stainless steel reflects the movement of visitors as they pass through the sculptures. In choosing the title, Wieser underscores the performative nature of the work, drawing attention to the interplay between visitor and artwork to suggest something that is still in process and ever-evolving.
Wieser is known for her Modernist-inspired geometric constructions that reference Bauhaus architecture and design, spirituality, alchemy, and furniture design, with a nod to 20th century abstract and expressionist artists such as Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. Trained as a blacksmith, her work has evolved to encompass craft and functionality—an ethos at the forefront of her Public Art Fund commission. The sculptures take into consideration site specificity and were conceived with the public in mind, to provide an opportunity for escape, respite, and connection as we re-emerge into our shared world.
Claudia Wieser: Rehearsal is curated by Public Art Fund Associate Curator Katerina Stathopoulou.
About the artist ~ Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser (b. 1973) is known for her Modernist-inspired geometric constructions. Influenced by the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, who embraced spirituality as part of their aesthetic process, Wieser broadens their ideals to consider the coexistence of abstraction and physiological experience. The artist’s hand is readily evident in a multimedia process that is both meticulous and delicate, as seen in her fine colored pencil and gold leaf drawings. Through an early apprenticeship as a blacksmith at Bergmeister Kunstshmiede, Wieser honed her understanding of art and the object, the aesthetic and the functional. This studied craft informs her approach to the technical drafting of her multi-faceted mirrors, hand-painted and patterned ceramics, and carved wooden sculpture.
Visiting the Exhibition ~ Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park spanning 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. As steward of the park, BBP has transformed this previously deteriorated stretch of waterfront into a world-class park where the public can gather, play, relax, and enjoy sweeping views of New York Harbor. The self-sustaining park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel. BBP serves thousands of people on any given seasonal day, who come to picnic, walk their dog, play soccer, jog, bike, or roller skate. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a signature public investment for the 21st century and will be an enduring legacy for the communities, elected officials, and public servants who made it happen.
The Public Art Fund encourages you to be mindful of social distancing protocols when visiting the artworks. Public Art Fund exhibitions are always free and open to the public.
Support for this project ~ Bloomberg Philanthropies is the presenting sponsor of Claudia Wieser: Rehearsal. Leadership support for Rehearsal is provided by the Girlfriend Fund, Elizabeth Fearon Pepperman & Richard C. Pepperman II, and David Wine & Michael MacElhenny with major support from Marianne Boesky Gallery, Regine Leibinger, and Jessica Silverman.
Significant support is provided by Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.
Additional support is provided by the Casado Santapau Gallery; Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, New York; and Anonymous.
Claudia Wieser: Rehearsal is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Special thanks to engineering partner Silman, as well as Agrob Buchtal and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Public Art Fund is supported by the generosity of individuals, corporations, and private foundations including lead support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, along with major support from Abrams Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, the Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, The Fuhrman Family Foundation, The Marc Haas Foundation, Hartfield Foundation, William Talbott Hillman Foundation-Affirmation Arts Fund, the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, and The Silverweed Foundation.
Public Art Fund exhibitions are also supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Claudia Wieser: Rehearsal will be on view from July 29, 2021 to April 17, 2022 located at Main Street Park at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Washington and Plymouth Streets in DUMBO.