Brooklyn-based artist Oliver Jeffers has been selected as the commissioned artist for the 2020 holiday public art installation at Rockefeller Center. Jeffers’ large-scale printed vinyl murals will be displayed throughout the Rockefeller Center campus’ indoor and outdoor public areas. A free Rockefeller Center holiday map featuring Jeffers’ celebrated illustrations will be available to all who work at and visit the Center.
This presentation is the latest iteration of the Art in Focus public art program presented in partnership with the non-profit Art Production Fund. The public mural installation and free holiday map will be on view starting Wednesday, November 25.
Fans of Jeffers will also get the chance to experience an Instagram Live drawing and reading event on Thursday, December 3 on Rockefeller Center’s Instagram channel (@rockefellercenter). Jeffers will share his illustration process and read one of his best-selling children’s books.
Finding inspiration in the iconic holiday season at Rockefeller Center, Jeffers has created a series of illustrations depicting various cheerful winter scenes. Jeffers has found inspiration in maps and globes over the years and has explored their visual language into several ongoing series.
While Oliver's style is not destined to one technique, his collage and mixed media work is one that has carried throughout in nearly all practices from illustration to fine art to picture book. When discussing the concept for the Rockefeller Center map, Oliver was keen to use found paper and pencil-drawn elements to give the map a warm, home-made feel. With pops of neon reds, green, turquoise, and metallics, these were the visuals he connected most with the holiday season. Throughout the installation viewers will find illustrations of beloved Rockefeller Center landmarks such as the iconic Christmas Tree and the Atlas Sculpture, as well as drawings showing everyday Rockefeller Center visitors in festive winter attire.
"I've been making my own maps for some time - cartography is an early love of mine, as I'm fascinated to know where I am in relation to other things. More recently, these have been political or conceptual, so I'm excited to put together a more jubilant one for a favorite place of mine, my home, New York. No matter how crazy the world, the holidays will always be a season of festivities with our friends and family, eating too much food, and watching that Rockefeller Center Tree light up," says Jeffers.
Jeffers’ work will be seen in thirteen public locations throughout Rockefeller Center including inside 10 Rockefeller Plaza, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 50 Rockefeller Plaza and the street and concourse levels of 45 Rockefeller Plaza, as well as outside in Rockefeller Plaza. The free holiday map takeaway will be available at the information desk of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza lobby.
“Rockefeller Center is New York City’s quintessential holiday destination, and we present a number of traditions that New Yorkers and visitors come back to experience year after year, from skating at the rink and the Saks Fifth Avenue lighting display to the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. In addition to the annual staples, we strive to make each holiday season unique and create new traditions, and Oliver Jeffers’ incredible work is the perfect addition to this year’s festivities. Beloved by children and adults alike, his quirky and thoughtful art will delight all who visit the Center this holiday season,” said EB Kelly, Tishman Speyer Managing Director Overseeing Rockefeller Center.
“We are thrilled to present Oliver Jeffers as this year’s commissioned holiday artist at Rockefeller Center. Beloved by children and adults, Jeffers is the ultimate visual storyteller and we are excited to see the diverse representation of Rockefeller Center come alive through Jeffers’ playful illustrations,” noted Casey Fremont, Executive Director of Art Production Fund.
Jeffers’ work concludes the 2020 Art in Focus series at Rockefeller Center. Conceived to showcase artists who have lived in or been inspired by New York City, and who represent unique and diverse experiences in contemporary life, previous 2020 Art in Focus artists included Vanessa German, Ryan Flores, and Genevieve Gaignard. German’s presentation exhibited vibrant power figure sculptures that evoked elements of the human spirit: love, imagination, beauty, and nature. Brooklyn-based Flores displayed intricate and colorful ceramic sculptural works referencing Rockefeller Center’s architecture and design. Gaignard’s mixed-media self-portraiture explored the intersection of race, femininity, and class through a series of collage work inspired by historical representation of women in media.