Prismatic Park Opens June 13th

Madison Square Park will kick off a majestic summer-long celebration of art that will bring sculpture, prismatic glass, music, dance, poetry and other performance art starting June 13th. The project is named Prismatic Park and it is spearheaded by artist and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient – Josiah McElheny. This massive outdoor public art project will feature innovative choreographers, dancers, musicians and poets, and will include some truly unique workshops, performances and artworks created especially for this event. 

In collaboration with the non-profits Danspace Projects, Blank Forms and Poets House, Josiah McElheny was commissioned to form a unique program that would transform the park into a utopia for art. The main idea is to show how an urban park can become an extraordinary experience of artistic expression where individuals and groups can share their creative spirit. McElheny urged the artists in residence to allow their imagination to interact with the public space of the park and build on the inspiration it provides. 

Three intricate sculptures in painted wood and prismatic glass are the center pieces of the outdoor exhibition. These large-scaled sculptures have an architectural form which will effectively create new spaces within the park itself. Each piece presents a special kind of platform for different artistic displays; a curved, translucent blue sound wall is designed to house experimental music; a tall, luminous red and yellow pavilion is laid out for the reading of poetry; and a circular, reflective green floor makes for a fascinating surface for innovative dance and choreography performers. All of the architectural sculptures are very open and promote openness as a theme. The passersby are beckoned by the reflecting light to come closer and enjoy the scenery of the performance, while artists feel no isolation and distance from the surrounding crowds. 

Josiah McElheny is a prominent contemporary artist working in a variety of mediums ranging from sculpture and installation to film, writing and performance. Glass has been a dominant part of his artistic experiments as McElheny keeps discovering new ways of combining this transparent, sturdy, yet fragile, material with others. Prismatic Park emphasizes the artist’s view of Modernist art, architecture and philosophy. He hopes his sculptures will act as a foundation for all the other participating artists to utilize the space around them and create a unique urban experience for both the performer and the viewer. 

The bustling urban oasis of Madison Square Park will host a plethora of different artists for the Prismatic Park public art exhibition from June 13, 2017 through October 8, 2017. More than 60,000 visitors go through the 6.2-acre park, and this summer, it will be an experience like no other. 

Resident Artists

  • Music: Lea Bertucci; June 13–18, 2017
  • Dance: Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener; June 20–25, 2017; June 27–July 2, 2017
  • Poetry: MC Hyland; July 4–9, 2017
  • Music: Ánde Somby; July 11–16, 2017
  • Poetry: CAConrad; July 18–23, 2017
  • Music: Joe McPhee and Graham Lambkin; July 25–30, 2017
  • Dance: Netta Yerushalmy; August 1–6, 2017; August 8–13, 2017
  • Poetry: Joshua Bennett; August 15–20, 2017
  • Music: Shelley Hirsch; August 22–27, 2017
  • Poetry: Donna Masini; August 29–September 3, 2017
  • Music: Matana Roberts; September 5–10, 2017
  • Dance: Jodi Melnick; September 12–17, 2017; September 19–24, 2017
  • Poetry: Mónica de la Torre; September 26–October 1, 2017
  • Music and poetry: Limpe Fuchs and Patrick Rosal; October 3–8, 2017


Visit Madison Square Park for more information.

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