ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ARTLANTIC: wonder, the first major installation in the five year ARTLANTIC public art series in Atlantic City, will debut to the public on Nov. 10. Curated by world-renowned curator Lance Fung and Fung Collaboratives, the $3 million project is funded by the Atlantic City Alliance (ACA) and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), who together represent the private – public partnership leading the marketing and redevelopment activities of the newly formed Tourism District in Atlantic City.
ARTLANTIC is an ambitious five-year, multi-phase public art project that will help locals and tourists alike to reimagine Atlantic City. For the project, Fung will work with a contingency of artists to create installations in the heart of Atlantic City, many of which will be visible and accessible from the iconic Boardwalk. Free and open to the public, the ARTLANTIC public art series will recast previously vacant urban areas as lively public meeting places and a nexus for social interaction.
Fung's vision is both sweeping in scope and attentive to the needs and character of the community. He has selected an array of visionary artists, each with a specific philosophy and style, to contribute to the project as a whole. Through Fung's curatorial direction, the body of work behind ARTLANTIC achieves both balance and harmony. While each installation is a marvel on its own, the installations combined complement one another, creating a larger artistic series of public art never before seen in Atlantic City.
The series is evocative of the city's rich history and proximity to the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, and highlights specific elements of the city's past and present. The gentle curve of the earthworks in ARTLANTIC: wonder mirror the curve of the rollercoasters at the Steel Pier, while the playful pirate ship is an ode to the shipwrecks that line the ocean floor off the coast of New Jersey. Additional elements such as a lush garden, natural grasses, wildflowers and a cistern of trickling water are also suggestive of New Jersey wildlife and the elements that set Atlantic City apart from other seaside tourist destinations.
ARTLANTIC aims to engage with and benefit the local community by inspiring interaction and collaboration with the participating artists. It encourages residents, new visitors, and art lovers alike to experience contemporary art outside of the gallery and to come out and play. Each installation is free and open to the public year-round.
ARTLANTIC: wonder, the first of a series of five projects, features works by acclaimed artists Robert Barry, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, John Roloff, and Kiki Smith in collaboration with New York landscape design firm Balmori Associates.
ARTLANTIC: wonder consists of two separate sites on former empty lots near the world- famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. The first exhibition site is situated on seven acres along Martin Luther King Boulevard, between Pacific and South Indiana Avenues, and includes works by Barry, the Kabakovs, and Smith. The design consists of two open spaces walled by a 14-foot and a 11-foot high undulating terraces covered in indigenous grasses and wildflowers. The design is intended to evoke the roller coasters of the iconic Steel Pier.
The brilliantly colored and brightly illuminated text of Robert Barry's piece, embedded in the exterior of the landscape, will come alive at night, engaging in an informal dialogue with the glittering city lights and the bold signage that adorns the Boardwalk. When a visitor enters the space encircled by the two giant earthworks, they will find a serene natural environment, sheltered from the noise of the city.
Within the walls of the earthworks, a playful pirate ship rises from the ground, evoking the sunken priate ships that line the ocean floor off of New Jersey's coast. The ship is designed by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, pioneering artists who have been credited as the founders of large-scale contemporary installation art.
Opposite the ship blooms a lush garden surrounding "Her," a figure of a woman tenderly embracing a doe designed by Kiki Smith, a renowned sculptor known for her various depictions of the female form. The garden, also designed by Smith, is entirely composed of brilliant red foliage—plants with red flowers, red berries, or red leaves—and is intended to change with the seasons. Together with "Her," the installation alludes to an embrace between humanity and the natural world. Ms. Smith has roots to South Orange, New Jersey.
The second exhibition site comprising ARTLANTIC: wonder covers 8,500 square-feet, and features an elaborate space that uses LED lights and bold linear stripes converging into a spiral pattern. The pattern eventually leads the visitor into the center of the space, where an embedded cistern of trickling water appears to be alive and weeping. Named "Etude Atlantis," the installation echoes the landscape of ARTLANTIC: wonder and is designed by John Roloff, a pioneer of large-scale environmental installations that investigate geologic and natural phenomena. Mr. Roloff has roots in Teaneck, NJ.
Roloff has used the idea of "finding Atlantis" to connect the Atlantic City location with the opposite side of the world—the sea floor off the southwestern coast of Australia. The stage-like environment of Roloff's site may also provide an elaborate backdrop for a series of performances, concerts and public events that will possibly continue year-round at both locations.
The leader behind the Atlantic City project is curator Lance Fung, who has a reputation for ambitious, innovative approaches to public art. Fung is perhaps best known for The Snow Show, a series of exhibitions that teamed world-renowned artists with cutting-edge architects to design ephemeral, large-scale installations from ice and snow; however, he has also been deeply involved in exploring public art's potential to engage with and revitalize urban neighborhoods. In 2009, he organized Wonderland, a public exhibition in San Francisco's Tenderloin that brought nationally and internationally known artists into a collaborative relationship with local artists, neighborhood organizations and community members and remade the economically challenged neighborhood as a playground for the imagination.
The five-year scope of the Atlantic City project will enable Fung to realize a similar vision on a much grander scale and with correspondingly greater impact. In the process, the limits of what public art can be will be tested, and new standards will be set for the transformative power of a truly collaborative, inclusive curatorial vision.
To date, the project has moved forward with incredible speed, particularly given the scale and ambition of the overall conception. Fung made his first exploratory visits to the site in March 2012, and the participating artists had submitted finished project designs by August. Work on the initial phase of the project begins in early September, with completion scheduled for late 2012. The intention is for another exhibition at a third site to be completed in May 2013, with a new project to follow each year through 2016.
About Lance Fung
Curator Lance Fung has a reputation for ambitious, innovative approaches to public art. He is perhaps best known for The Snow Show, a series of exhibitions that teamed world-renowned artists with cutting-edge architects to design ephemeral, large-scale installations from ice and snow in Lapland, Finland in 2004 and then at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Following the The Snow Show, Fung curated Lucky Number Seven for the seventh SITE Santa Fe International Biennial in 2008 and Wonderland, a public art exhibition in San Francisco in 2009. He has created important exhibitions such as Crossing Parallels at the SSamzi Space in Seoul, Korea; Going Home at the Edward Hopper Historical Museum in Nyack, New York; Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark at Next: The Venice Architectural Biennale in Venice, Italy; The Ship of Tolerance by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, in Siwa, Egypt; and The Snow Show: Venice at the 50th International Art Exhibition/La Biennale di Venezia; and Dreams and Conflicts–The Viewer's Dictatorship, in Venice, Italy. Fung is also developing a cultural village in Bali as well as "Sink," an exhibition about marine conservation.
About the Atlantic City Alliance (ACA)
The ACA is a recently established New Jersey not-for-profit corporation whose primary mission is to develop and implement a full-scale, broad-based, multi-year marketing program for Atlantic City. The ACA works in partnership with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to market and promote the Tourism District via a public/private partnership. The ACA also works with local and state government, the private sector and other organizations to further enhance the marketing program. Visit www.doatlanticcity.com.
About the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA)
Established in 1984 by the State of New Jersey, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority provides capital investment funds for economic development and community projects that respond to the changing economic and social needs of Atlantic City and the State of New Jersey. It encourages business development and permanent job creation, promotes opportunities for business expansion, and commits to facilitating a vibrant economic investment and employment environment for New Jersey. Visit http://www.njcrda.com.
Lance Fung, International Curator
- "The Atlantic City project is intended to function as a social nexus on multiple levels. First, as each phase of the project is completed, it will create a series of beautiful public spaces where families, tourists and members of the local community can come together in playful and imaginative ways. Second, the process of its conception, design and construction is already creating an opportunity for establishing a sense of belonging and community among local residents, the broader art world, local civic institutions and businesses and visitors to Atlantic City."
Liza Cartmell, President of the Atlantic City Alliance
- "The speed with which so much has been accomplished is a testament to the commitment, dynamism, and energy of the participants in the project, as well as to the enthusiastic support of local government, businesses and community organizations. Fung's curatorial plan has caught the public imagination and drawn support from a myriad of local groups, ranging from community gardens, and local schools, to workers' unions."
John Palmieri, Executive Director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority
- "Redevelopment efforts take many forms. The Fung Collaboratives' plan for Atlantic City becomes more than a catalyst for improving vacant lots; it is symbolic of the revitalization and expansion of culture in Atlantic City. We have a unique opportunity to attract and integrate art into the fabric of Atlantic City, which by all accounts will enrich the quality of life for our residents, as well as improve and expand the visitor experience."
SOURCE Atlantic City Alliance