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New Yorkers often complain about high prices, but they forget about all of the wonderful things they can do for free. For instance, the city has sponsored numerous public art exhibits, and subsequently, New Yorkers can even see public art for free in many private buildings. The next time you think that you can’t afford to go out, consider that you have all these free pieces of art to experience.

“Mural With Blue Brushstroke” by Roy Lichtenstein


Even though it’s almost 70 feet tall, you’ll never spot this Lichtenstein mural from outside The Equitable Tower, which is located at 787 Seventh Ave. Lichtenstein made this giant, colorful mural in 1986. It still hangs in the Midtown Manhattan building’s atrium lobby, where you can see it for free.

You don’t have to know a lot about Lichtenstein to enjoy this piece. “Mural With Blue Brushstroke” incorporates features from throughout the artist’s career. It’s like a primer that will introduce you to the most popular aspects of his art. Once you’ve seen it, you might even appreciate his other works more.

“Just the Two of Us” by Katharina Grosse

You don’t have to stay in Manhattan to enjoy public art. Downtown Brooklyn also has its share. Thanks in part to the Public Art Fund, Germany-born artist Katharina Grosse has one of the most interesting exhibitions in Brooklyn.
For this project, Grosse created 18 large, oddly shaped sculptures at MetroTech Center. She grouped the sculptures into two clusters at the school’s plaza.

These pieces are more than just sculptures. Grosse has a career of creating artwork with innovative painting techniques. “Just the Two of Us,” her public exhibition, follows this trend. The sculptures are covered in bright paints that influence how viewers perceive them and the plaza. The Public Art Fund displays are temporary and the organization always has new plans for displaying art in New York City’s boroughs.

“Times Square” by Max Neuhaus

If you only think of art as a visual phenomenon, then you’ll miss one of New York’s most fascinating pieces. “Times Square,” which sits at the north end of a pedestrian island on Broadway between 45th Street and 46th Street, will only amaze you if you use your ears.

“Times Square” is a sound installation originally built in 1977. If you’ve ever trudged through Times Square, you know it’s chaotic and full of tourists. “Times Square” offers an aural refuge from the area’s over-stimulation. It creates a harmonic sound texture that is similar to church bells.

If you didn’t know it was there, you’d just think it was a part of the area’s raucous nature. Once you discover it, you get to enjoy the peacefulness it offers.

“7000 Oaks” by Joseph Beuys



Image via Flickr by 16 Miles of String

Some of New York’s best art hides in public. “7000 Oaks,” for instance, doesn’t call much attention to itself even though it’s a large installation in Chelsea.

In 1988, Joseph Beuys paired five basalt stone columns with trees along West 22nd Street. The original project used linden, oak, sycamore, ginkgo, and Bradford pear trees. Eighteen more trees and columns have been added since, and the artist has installed similar pieces in other cities.

Do you know of any public art that New Yorkers might be missing? No one can understand how amazingly unique your neighborhood is until they know what kind of public art they can see there.


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