Rockefeller Center Kicks Off 2022 Public Art Program With a 125-Foot Mural, New Line-Up of Artists

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • January 18, 2022

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Max Colby at Rockefeller Center. Photo by Daniel Greer, courtesy of Art Production Fund

Rockefeller Center and Art Production Fund have announced the artist lineup for the fourth year of the Art in Focus public art program, featuring various site-specific installations by a diverse group of acclaimed contemporary artists. This year’s Art in Focus artists follow in the footsteps of Sanford Biggers, Hiba Schahbaz, Hilary Pecis, Maurice Harris, Lisa Congdon, Oliver Jeffers, Genevieve Gaignard, Hein Koh, LaKela Brown, Lucy Sparrow, Ryan Flores, Vanessa German, Portia Munson, and Angelica Hicks who have all participated in the program in years past.

Max Colby at Rockefeller Center. Photo by Daniel Greer, courtesy of Art Production Fund

The year-long public program consists of five separate installations and will kick off on Tuesday, January 18 with an installation by Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist MAX COLBY. Following Colby are mixed media artist HUGO MCCLOUD, NYC-based ceramic artist EMILY MULLIN, painter ARGHAVAN KHOSRAVI, and renowned photographer and installation artist ALEX PRAGER who will create an immersive installation during Rockefeller Center’s 2022 holiday season. The 2022 Art in Focus program presents artists exploring and reinterpreting materials as a way to capture the human experience. A selection of painters, sculptures, photographers and more, these artists use materials in innovative ways to offer a closer look at the unique characteristics of people, objects and elements that are found in their daily lives.

“This year’s Art in Focus program purposely highlights artists across multiple mediums who are using mixed materials to represent their personal lives or inspirations in unexpected ways. Max Colby launches the 2022 slate of artists for our Art in Focus programming by coupling the intricate bead work of her sculptures with a 125-foot mural, inspired by historical Crewel embroidery, for an effect that is eye-catching from a distance and mesmerizing when seen at close range.

Max Colby’s installation at Rockefeller Center is on view from January 18, 2022 and showcases a wide range of her practice, from sculpture and installation to painting and relief. Through lush, highly embellished, and material rich work, she reframes traditional notions of domesticity, power, and gender from a trans and non-binary perspective. Colby’s activation of material is unabashedly camp, providing a space to reimagine our relationship to gender, class, and the mundane.

“Activating Rockefeller Center is such a special opportunity. I’ve long admired its Art Deco architecture but there’s also a wonderful irony in the coupling – Rockefeller Center is home to many sites of American cultural production, popular television, shopping, etc. which reflect conversations my work engages with. I’m delighted to offer this work to the public and provide unique opportunities for the generation of new, joyous experiences,” says Max Colby.

At Top of the Rocks, The Weather Room, is the installation "Building Blocks" by Kris Moran and Martin Duffy, on view until March 13th. Photo courtesy of Rockefeller Center

In the lobby of 45 Rockefeller Plaza, visitors encounter three custom installations of works from her series ‘They Consume Each Other,’ comprised of 27 sculptures sitting atop custom glass plinths in entirely mirrored vitrines. ‘They Consume Each Other’ is her most prominent and ambitious body of work to date.

A 125-foot mural in the concourse of 45 Rockefeller Plaza features paintings from Colby’s 2020 series which copy 18th and 19th-century Crewel embroidery works from prominent public collections paired atop contemporary sticker sets. Colby’s research on Crewel embroidery has been a pillar of her practice for over 10 years. “Popular in Colonial America and Elizabethan and Victorian England, ‘crewel’ style is known for its pastoral floral imagery, bringing a connection between ‘natural history’ and gendered labor and aesthetics. The mural at 45 Rock will be the first time this dimension of my practice is highlighted and connected to larger, more complex works.” says Colby.

Murals displayed throughout Rockefeller Center feature additional iterations of They Consume Each Other through luscious close-up details and representations of Colby’s largest work from the series – a unique installation of 45 sculptures. In addition, images of several works from her Elegies series will greet visitors at 10 and 45 Rockefeller Plaza.

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