Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway ~ Audubon Sculpture Project NYC




Birds on Broadway at 64th Street

The National Audubon Society, Gitler &___ , New York City Parks Department,  NYC Audubon and the Broadway Mall Association have a very special installation scheduled for May 17, 2019. Ten sculptures in reclaimed wood to call attention to New York City’s climate threatened birds.

We’ve been following the project from its inception at Gitler & __, and below is a sneak-peek of Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway, Audubon Sculpture Project, with sculptures to be installed from 67th Street to 168th Street ~  and the Kickstarter Campaign that helped to make this happen. The birds have arrived! Let’s do some #birdwatching.

Artist, Nicolas Holiber with #6 of the #12 sculptures ~ the Hooded merganser to be installed on Broadway at 139th Street

Here’s some background on the ten special birds that will return home to roost on Broadway. This isn’t a normal migration. This journey is the result of a multi-year project created by Nicolas Holiber, a Brooklyn-based artist who is known for his large-scale public works and mixed-media paintings. The installation, Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway, the Audubon Sculpture Project, features ten oversized sculptures of New York City birds that are in danger of extinction due to climate change. The sculptures will be displayed along the Broadway malls, a tree-lined greenway between 64th and 157th Streets in Manhattan, and will be on view through August, 2020.

Nicholas Holiber: Birds on Broadway ~ American Bittern at Broadway and 79th Street

Holiber is the youngest artist to have a solo exhibition presented by the Broadway Mall Association; this installation will be his second time showing with NYC Parks. Gitler &___Gallery and the New York City Audubon Society supported Holiber to create the work in an effort to raise awareness about a group of more than 300 imperiled birds in North America.

Nicholas Holiber: Birds on Broadway ~ Wood Duck at 96th Street and Broadway in front of the West Side Arts Coalition

Above and below, the Brant, located on the Mall at Broadway and 96th Street, in front of the entrance to the West Side Arts Coalition.

From the 145 threatened species that live in, or migrate through the city, The Audubon Sculpture Project has chosen ten species that include ~ Red-Necked Grebe at 64th Street ~ Peregrine Falcon at 72nd Street ~ American Bittern at 79th Street ~ Scarlet Tanager at 86th Street ~ Brant at 96th Street ~ Double-Crested Carmorant at 105th Street ~ Common goldeneye at 117th Street ~ Hooded Merganser at 139th Street ~ Snowy Owl at 148th Street and Wood Duck at 157th Street.

Birds on Broadway at 105th Street

Holiber’s sculptures often consist of reclaimed wood sourced from the ubiquitous shipping pallets that dot the city streets, and the Broadway Mall Association installation is no different. Through sponsorships and the artist’s own amassing, each sculpture is made entirely out of reclaimed lumber. This artistic conservation is both practical and conceptual. Although painted, the wood used for the sculptures will not be weatherproofed. Instead, each work will be left untreated to allow for the city’s natural forces to affect it, highlighting the environmental challenges faced by each species. Holiber’s intent, to lend meaning and subject matter to objects that previously had neither, is amplified when paired with the exhibition’s alarming message about climate change.

Birds on Broadway at 117th Street

Over the past several years Holiber has carefully studied sites along Broadway, choosing locations in the many and diverse neighborhoods along the boulevard to display his work. Placing the large, colorful sculptures in settings that will take New Yorkers by surprise and remind them that the urban environment is a natural environment, Holiber’s work is sure to catch the eye of any hurried passerby. The nine-foot-tall mother Red-Necked Grebe sits across from Lincoln Center, seemingly at home with her chicks in a small triangular park, while at 72nd Street Peregrine Falcon, with a wingspan of almost ten feet, has just won his next meal. There is also the eight-foot-tall Double-Crested Cormorant, a species that frequently visits Central Park, drying its wings at 105th Street, and the eleven-foot-long Wood Duck, one of the most colorful birds in North America, resting at 157th Street next to Audubon Terrace.

Birds on Broadway at 139th Street

A closer inspection of the work and signage will reveal not only the artist’s unique process, inspired by the conceivably never-ending act of reconstruction and deconstruction, but also information about each species that includes climate-related threats and future habitat projections, offered in both English and Spanish.

Birds on Broadway at 148th Street

The ten birds in this exhibition were chosen from the Birds and Climate Change Report, released in 2014 by the National Audubon Society. This study warned that half of all North American bird species will be imperiled over the coming decades due to shifting and contracting habitat zones resulting from climate change. From among the 145 threatened species that reside in or migrate through New York, Holiber decided to showcase the American bittern, brant, common goldeneye, double-crested cormorant, hooded merganser, peregrine falcon, red-necked grebe, scarlet tanager, snowy owl, and wood duck. In addition to raising awareness for this serious cause, Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway, the Audubon Sculpture Project reflects the role of urban green space, such as the Broadway malls, in countering climate change by producing oxygen, moderating temperatures, and providing bird habitat.

Birds on Broadway at 157th Street – one of my favorite intersections

Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway, Audubon Sculpture Project, will be on view from May 17, 2019 through August, 2020.

This installation would not have been possible without contributing sponsors BIG Reuse, Con Edison, Cool Hand Movers, Farrow & Ball, Hampshire Properties, Marjam Supply Company, Stanley Black & Decker, The Durst Organization, and Warburg Realty. This will mark the twelfth sculpture exhibition presented by the Broadway Mall Association.

Head to Hamilton Heights and revisit the Audubon Mural Project and the Jacob Schiff Park Audubon Mural Project.