Perhaps it’s time to give corporate lobby art its due.
Perfectly straddling the line between low and high brow art (maybe “no brow?”), the prints, sculptures and paintings adorning lobbies across New York City is the subject of fascination, ridicule and affection all at once.
But maybe it’s time to take a closer. After all, the viewing audience for many of these pieces can number in the tens of thousands every week. These are spaces as highly trafficked, if not more so, than some of New York’s most prized cultural institutions.
Our first look is at Desire Obtain Cherish’s Midsize Meltdown at 1001 6th Avenue in Manhattan.
The Midsize Meltdow has been described as “playful” and whimsical in some circles. That seems about right.
From a certain angle, the sculptures sort of look like a colorful line of plungers.
That it should be prominently displayed in the lobby of a corporate office space building is, if nothing else, a highly playful gesture.
One that’s been a decade-plus in the making.
The Evolution of NYC Lobby Art
Mounting art in the lobby of a corproate lobby used to be as perfunctory as it gets. You could predict where in the lobby it would be (behind the front desk) and what style of art (usually something inspired by 20th century abstract expressionism. Or something).
That started to change with the turn of the millennium thanks to rigorous approaches like the Arts in Buildings program, helmed by Times Equities chairman Francis J. Greenburger. Started in 2003, the program most famously launched a rotating gallery of exhibits at 125 Maiden Lane (aka Water Street Plaza). To date, Arts in Buildings is a full-time curations job.
New York, NY 10018
7,426 – 12,017 sqft
$32,179 – $52,073 /mo est
With the recognition that corporate lobbies carry their own unique advantages as installation space, lobby art has become more diverse and more ubiquitous throughout the city.
So much so that a statement like Midsize Meltdown, which could be said to comment on corporate art as both a frivolous exercise and a worthy game, is possible.