Suspended in a sun-drenched corner of the Noguchi Museum’s indoor-outdoor gallery space, a cloud, seemingly caught inside a plate of glass, rocks back and forth, gently reflecting light and shadow onto the ground below it.
The outwardly dainty sculpture — made by etching cloud images into heavy glass — is one of two site-specific works created by artist Miya Ando for her exhibition “Clouds,” which is up through August 19.
“You can even think of the glass as like a specimen plate,” said the Noguchi Museum’s senior curator, Dakin Hart, of the cloud etchings. “I love the idea that there would be a giant flat file somewhere at the Smithsonian with cloud samples tucked into it this way.”
These cloud specimens provide a pleasing contrast to the large, textural Noguchi basalt sculptures scattered throughout the rest of the outdoor space. “The whole museum is really a relationship between the permanent and the ephemeral — or our perceptions of what’s impermanent and what’s ephemeral,” said Hart.
Ando’s work, which challenges our notions of what defines a cloud, teases this dichotomy and serves as an apt vehicle for discussing Noguchi’s sculptures within an environmental framework. “So much of Noguchi’s work really is conceptual, but it’s sometimes hard to get past the formal with him,” said Hart, “and contemporary artists are a great way to draw out some of the latent interest he had in other things.”
Here are six other outdoor exhibitions we’re excited about this season:
“Hedera,” Grimanesa Amorós
Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn
Through August 11
New York-based artist Grimanesa Amorós created “Hedera” to imitate the plant life at Prospect Park and foster community during the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. The installation’s pulsating lights are reminiscent of a beating heart, while flowing white tubing resembles the petals on a blossoming flower. Although the structure is best viewed at night, daytime visitors are invited to find relief from the sun underneath the crimson canopy and see their reflection in the piece’s elaborate interior.
“Built,” Virginia Overton
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Through September 3
Newly commissioned sculptures by Virginia Overton are on view in a parkwide solo exhibition at Socrates. The large-scale works incorporate found materials and address concepts of labor, land, economics and self-reliance. A gem-shaped sculpture fabricated from architectural truss systems and angle iron; a pick-up truck whose bed incorporates an aquatic garden; and a found pine joist suspended from a gantry are among the pieces on display.
“Indicators: Artists on Climate Change,” Various
Storm King Art Center, Cornwall, NY
Through November 11
Up in the Hudson Valley, 17 artists explore climate change in the expansive exhibition “Indicators: Artists on Climate Change.” From a large-scale installation of colorful aluminum bird eyes to tree stumps and acorns pulled from the adjacent woods and cast in bronze, the works placed across Storm King’s 500-acre campus present diverse perspectives on what it means to be living in a climate of environmental duress.
“Wind Sculpture (SG) I,” Yinka Shonibare
Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Manhattan
Through October 14
British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare’s massive, solid fiberglass sculpture captures the movement of wind in colorful form. Despite its imposing size, the twisting work, which is painted in the style of West African fabric, feels light and delicate, like a soothing breeze on a summer evening.
“Never Comes Tomorrow,” Jacob Hashimoto
Through October 3
Made up of hundreds of wooden cubes and large-scale steel funnels, Jacob Hashimoto’s “Never Comes Tomorrow” is a feat of engineering that combines the artist’s passion for architecture, history and cosmology. The vibrant pieces create a whimsical passageway from within the Liggett Hall Archway, drawing connections between the past and future of the island’s historic district. This is the first major public art exhibition in New York City for Hashimoto, who previously showed work at 57th Venice Biennale.
“Snowman,” Peter Fischli
In what is perhaps the coolest selection in this list, artist Peter Fischli has constructed a snowman composed of actual snow at the Museum of Modern Art. The work, which is encased in a glass-door freezer at the museum’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, is the centerpiece of an exhibition that features a selection of nearly 20 other outdoor sculptures handpicked by Fischli, all of which are meant to invite the viewer to ponder the question once posed by French artist Ben Vautier: “If everything is a sculpture, why make a sculpture?”
Top Image: Jacob Hashimoto’s “Never Comes Tomorrow," on view at Governors Island. Courtesy of Timothy Schenck.