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Aug 25, 2014

Public Art Installations Invade Luxury Malls

Contemporary art is about to take over luxury retail enclaves on the eastern seaboard.

On September 18, Deborah Kass will unveil 39 banners and one billboard — commissioned especially for high-end shopping strip The Street in Chestnut Hill, MA — as part of a series of outdoor exhibitions and public art installation project presented by WS Development and Art Production Fund.

The banners will depict many of Brooklyn-based Kass’s iconic works, such as C’mon Get Happy, Forget Your Troubles, (both pictured below) Sweet Thing, We Will Be Young Forever and Let The Sunshine In — letting her signature punchy, abstract expressionist style flank the center’s public areas. The billboard, meanwhile, will display the artist’s well-known OY YO piece, which marries a Yiddish expression with its anagram — the Spanish word for “I Am” — and turns the work into a self-declaration of identity.

On September 19, Jessica Craig-Martin, also based in New York, will install 46 banners in the public areas of Hyde Park Village in Tampa, FL, featuring the artist’s distinctive approach to photography, depicting — rather aptly for this project — objects of luxury in ambiguously cropped and high-contrast compositions.

The installations will be up for about six months. Kass is known for her visual motifs of post-war paintings that explore the intersection of politics, popular culture, art history and personal identity, while Craig-Martin employs photography to subvert the usually prim and glamorous representations of higher society, and this project was borne of a desire to work in uncharted territories and within unexpected forums, said Art Production Fund co-founders Doreen Remen and Yvonne Force Villareal.

They added: “Our partnership with WS Development brings the important message of contemporary art to venues that are not typically associated with such public art projects. [We] hope that these works engage their respective local communities.”

WS Development said it is “thrilled to inaugurate their new art initiative with the work of two such important female artists, and looks forward to future collaborations with Art Production Fund.”

The firm’s head of the Up Markets division, Samantha David, said: “We pride ourselves on creating an environment that exceeds expectations, brings the community together, and gives people a place to discover and explore. There is no better way to meet this goal than by giving our visitors the joy of discovering such evocative artists. We want to make people smile.”

— Michelle Tay

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