I have just returned from New York City, where I visited my two sons who’ve settled there. Almost always I wish I had just one more day there. Always, there is so much to see and do that part of my list goes unchecked. This time we did manage to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. We took in the Brooklyn Art Museum, the Whitney, MoMA and the Met. But we did not get to the Guggenheim. The amount and quality of art that one can view in New York City is amazing–and not just in the museums. There are galleries, too, of course, but street and subway art abounds and can be as uplifting or disturbing as gallery art.
Doors, panels and fences are painted by their owners. Garage doors are turned into huge canvases. People find ways to make art and express themselves all over the city.
The City itself is a work of art, of course. Skyscrapers backdrop Central Park and Bryant Park, the Empire State Building is lit up in whatever colors are appropriate to a holiday or for no particular reason. Subway walls and halls haveÂ becomeÂ mosaics, paintings, sculpture galleries. Art is featured on the subways and buses.
Yep, NYCÂ is a feast for the eyes and an inspiration forÂ the creative soul. A New York art critic once remarked that he chose to regard the trash on the sidewalks and the detritus of this ever-moving, on the go population as art, for in this day that finds artists searching for novelty, a pile of leftover furniture and lumber might well be found in the Whitney or MoMA as some artist’s statement on urban life. ButÂ why not try to see everything as art? It can only make life more pleasing. Why not? It’s easy to do with nature–but why not try it with the rest of our surroundings?
And why not do what we can to spruce up our own corners of the worldÂ with chalk, paint, yarn, bits of lumber, branches, stones, whatever falls to hand. We all have the ability to createÂ art out of very little in our own yards and homes, on our streets and sidewalks, front stoops and porches. Why don’t we all do a little street art and bring a smile to a passerby’s face? I’m inspired to do something grand on my own property. Maybe I’ll paint something whimsical on the concrete foundation that shows on the sides of the house or do chalk art on the steps–make the steps an ever-changing work of art. My fence is a perfect backdrop for all manner of things, and the deck railing, too. My shutters are plain old white and really need to be replaced. Maybe I’ll put onÂ something cool that I’ve made and painted. Rock towers and cairns, woven tree branches, odd sculptures from found objects, fairy houses . . . it’s anything goes if it’s on my own property. And then there’s the wider world. One could leave Andy GoldsworthyÂ inspiredÂ works of art behind in woods and parks. I say let’s get on with it! Let’s make art all over the place!Â What might YOUÂ do?