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Release Date: Sep 13, 2012

Times Square Alliance’s Free Public Art Program Features Leading Contemporary Art and Performance in New York City’s Times Square

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Times Square Arts, the public art division of the Times Square Alliance, presents the new Fall Arts Program which kicks off on September 20th, 2012. As part of the Alliance’s commitment to showcasing the best of contemporary art, this year’s lineup includes works from award-winning Dutch director Lotte van den Berg, avant-garde artist and noted peace activist Yoko Ono, artist Lauren Bon, and Brazilian public artist Bel Borba.

“What makes this fall program distinct is not just the diversity of artwork, but the diversity of approaches to the environment of Times Square,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. “Some of the artists will integrate their works fully into the structures and screens of Times Square, while others seek to engage the public with new ideas about perceiving urban space and its role in our city.” 

“People come to Times Square expecting to see the unexpected,” said Sherry Dobbin, Director of Public Art at the Times Square Alliance. “Times Square is the perfect environment to explore anxieties about public spaces with Pleinvrees/Agoraphobia, to expose how an artist appropriates familiar places and objects with DIÁRIO (através de um OLHO BAIANO), and to creatively engage people with national issues like those represented in IMAGINE PEACE, The Gopher Plan and Peace & Quiet.”  

To kick-off the Fall Program, the first performance, entitled Pleinvrees/Agoraphobia by director Lotte van den Berg, will be co-presented with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) as part of FIAF’s 2012 Crossing the Line festival. Performed in the midst of the bustle of Times Square, a solitary man will walk in circles and talk to himself, yet his words will be picked up by the audience via cell phones. With Pleinvrees/Agoraphobia, Bessie Award-winning performer Donald Fleming returns to his hometown of New York for his first performance in the city since 2007. Pleinvrees/Agoraphobia is at once an intimate monologue about how this solitary man experiences the world, and an insightful performance experience for an audience of both knowing and unsuspecting spectators. Pleinvrees/Agoraphobia will be presented September 20th-22nd once daily at 3:00pm, with an additional showing on Saturday, September 22nd at 11:00am. The performance will take place on the Broadway Plaza between 43rd and 44th Streets. Pleinvrees/Agoraphobia is supported by public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services, and a grant from the Netherland-America Foundation.

IMAGINE PEACE by Yoko Ono will be an ongoing public digital art installation presented by the Art Production Fund as part of the Times Square Alliance’s public art program on September 21st to honor Peace Day 2012. The larger project consists of Ono’s IMAGINE PEACE message, displayed via the internet, posters, badges, and a multitude of other media, sending a signal of peace to the global community. For Times Square, Yoko Ono’s IMAGINE PEACE in 24 languages will be displayed across the American Eagle Times Square, MTV 44 1/2 and Viacom North and South signs throughout the day.

Brazilian public artist Bel Borba arrives aqui (here) in New York City this fall with a new objective: to transform the city into his newest studio, and make Times Square his New York base. On October 1st, Borba, along with acclaimed filmmakers Burt Sun and Andre Costantini, will premiere a new, site-specific work entitled Universal Pulse as a part of the Times Square Moment: A Digital Gallery—the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content at the same time every day. The piece is the first in the program's history to be created specifically for use on the Times Square screens, and it will run every night counting down the three magical minutes to midnight.

This year, Times Square will be a central hub for the 10th Annual openhousenewyork, kicking-off the weekend with a launch event at the landmarked Times Square Museum and Visitor Center and facilitating free architectural and historical walking tours of Times Square throughout the weekend. Sherry Dob­bin, Director of Public Art, will lead a special sign walking tour on Saturday, October 6th at 11:00pm that will culminate with a viewing of the Times Square Moment: A Digital Gallery at 11:57pm. openhousenewyork will take place October 6-7th, and tours depart from the Times Square Museum and Visitor Center on 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets.

The Gopher Plan by Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio will be a musical puppet show that sends a message of ending veteran homelessness. A formerly homeless veteran named Curtis Bailey will perform the show from a VW van—which is also his residence—while he prepares to travel to Washington D.C. to present a solution to veteran homelessness to the President.  Like an old-style traveling marionette show, this musical production will unfold in Times Square for all audiences and conclude with a Q&A with the performers. Presented in affiliation with the Creative Time Summit, a conference surrounding art and social justce at NYU Skirball Center, this production brings a challenging subject to international audiences packaged as engaging artwork. The Gopher Plan will be presented on October 12-13th from 12:00-3:00pm and 6:00-8:00pm each day, in the Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th Streets.

Additionally, for the grand finale of his month-long public art project DIÁRIO (através de um OLHO BAIANO), Bel Borba will return to Times Square, using orange street barriers and other recycled materials to create a block-long installation in Times Square for two days—giving visitors the chance to see an internationally-renowned public artist in process. Bel Borba will create the installation in view of the public on Sunday, October 14th starting at 6:00am, installing it in Times Square for a 24-hour viewing before disassembling it by the end of Monday, October 15th. The audience will be exposed to the artist and his lightning-speed process as he reveals the extraordinary possibilities for the discarded material of our daily lives. This installation marks the last day of his 30-day series of transformations with recycled materials around New York City and is presented in partnership with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, as part of FIAF’s 2012 Crossing the Line festival. The installation will take place on the Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th Streets.

The architecture firm Matter Practice, directed by Sandra Wheeler and Alfred Zollinger, will install a dialogue station encouraging veteran-civilian dialogue in Times Square entitled Peace & Quiet. The station will serve as a quiet space for discussing what is often left to private rooms across the country. Working with the organizations that support returning U.S. veterans, Times Square visitors will be able to schedule appointments to have open discussions bridging the growing gap between veterans and civilians. The station will be active from November 11th -21st in Duffy Square, open daily from 12:00pm to 8:00pm. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the NY City Council.

The continuing program, Times Square Moment: A Digital Gallery, presented by with the Times Square Advertising Coalition and Times Square Alliance, will feature new dynamic contemporary video works for the months of November and December, shown each night from 11:57pm to midnight on multiple screens throughout Times Square. For program and artist listings, visit http://www.timessquarealliance.org/times-square-arts/moment/index.aspx.

About Times Square Arts: Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, presents leading contemporary art and performances in multiple forms and media to more than 400,000 daily visitors to New York City’s Times Square, making it one of the highest profile public arts programs in the United States. Since its inception, Times Square Arts has featured works by a diverse group of more than four dozen prominent and emerging artists. Times Square Arts is partially funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund. www.TimesSquareNYC.org/arts

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Media Contact: Gia Storms  212.452.5205 | 917.626.6757| gstorms@timessquarenyc.org