Browsing the art on display inside New York’s museums and galleries is fun, but if you’re in a walking mood, it’s nice look at the work on display outside around the city. Here are five great public art spaces in Manhattan which host art installations regularly, which you can easily work your way around in a day:koons.60030ROOFGARDENjp-articleLarge


1. The Met Museum’s roof garden
Every year from May to October, the Metropolitan Museum of Art features an amazing exhibit on its rooftop. This year it’s the turn of French artist, Pierre Huyghe, whose work usually tends to plunge viewers into his own fantastical universe. His project is currently a secret but is said to involve an installation with a film component – sounds intriguing. Arrive around sunset, grab a glass of wine, look around the installation – the perfect summer’s evening!


The Highline

015 Photo by Iwan Baan

2. The High Line Park
The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long urban park built on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line, running from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th between 10th and 12th Avenue. As well as permanent installations, this year’s major summer exhibition called Panorama consists of sculptures and works from 11 international artists installed at various locations, each designed to bring us closer to our surroundings, encouraging us to think of the High Line not only as a promenade, but an observatory; and a place for reflection, just 30 feet from the hustle of Manhattan streets.


Teresita Fernandes Madison Square Park2


3. Madison Square Park
Madison Square Park has commissioned and exhibited around 30 works from renowned artists since it started its free contemporary public art programme in 2004. This year, people walking through the park will enjoy an immersive experience created by well-known New York-based artist, Teresita Fernandes. Her installation consists of beautiful canopies of golden mirror-polished disks designed to look like foliage that will be suspended above the pathways around the park’s central Oval Lawn (centre image). The idea is that as you walk that sunlight will filter through and bounce off the disks to create abstract flickering effects.

Whitney Museum of American Art - High Line



4. Whitney Museum installation, TF Cornerstone building
Brooklyn-based artist Alex Katz’s fabulous 17-by-29-foot digital print of Katherine and Elizabeth is the first in a five-year series of works by key American artists that will occupy the new public art space on the side of the TF Cornerstone building where Washington and Gansevoort Streets meet. Installed by the Whitney Museum of American Art adjacent to its new meatpacking home, the idea is that the work will be visible from the Highline Park.

bowery mural wall

bowery mural wall

5. The Bowery Mural Wall
Ever since graffiti artist Keith Haring painted a giant community mural on the northwest corner of Houston and Bowery in the 70s, the space has become a renowned blank canvas for large-scale street art commissions. Since 2008, the wall has been owned by Goldman Properties who continue this tradition, each year inviting an up-and-coming or well-known street artist to design and paint a large-scale work on it. This year, Ron English challenges the idea of consumerism and celebrity.

(Photos via Hither and Thither, New York Times, my Instagram feed, Iwan Baan for The Highline, NY Curbed, Jim Campbell, Mikkel Paige and Complex)


  1. I love this article, can’t wait to find them all and more when I visit New York City in May.
    Thank you

    • EllieSeymour Reply

      Which one will you head for first? For me, I can’t wait to go to the Met Museum’s rooftop. I’ve been to NY so many times, but crazily have never been up there. Enjoy your trip, Kurt!

  2. Pingback: 4 Big Summer Art Exhibitions

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