The thirty original drawings from the Central Park Portrait Exchange will be shown soon in a one day pop-up exhibition in Manhattan’s Central Park. The portable display is designed to emerge from a milk crate on wheels and unfold into an elegant display that gives park visitors – and the participating artists themselves – a chance to finally see all fifteen pairs of portrait exchanges simultaneously.
Built by project organizer and artist Peter Walsh, the “exhibition-in-a-box” will set up directly across the street from Grand Army Plaza’s Sherman monument in the southeast corner of Central Park on a spot that has recently become “off-limits” to artist vendors because of controversial new park rules instituted in 2010. Those rules have sparked several artist lawsuits against the city in both state and federal courts. Those new rules do not apply to the upcoming display of the Central Park Portrait Exchange since they explicitly impact only “expressive matter vendors” selling art in New York City parks and do not apply to artists who, as Federal Judge Richard J. Sullivan said at a court hearing in July of 2010, wish to participate in the “marketplace of ideas” by just displaying art.
Says Walsh: “This is an opportunity for a group of artists to reoccupy a part of the commons that is increasingly under attack from well-heeled interlopers who seek to reduce the varied ways in which a public park can be used by ordinary people. I can’t wait to talk to people in the park and see how they respond to the drawings. Showing art in an open public place creates incredible dialogues that go beyond what is shared in the cloistered space of galleries and museums.”
The date for the one-day show will be announced soon. For details of the ongoing construction of the exhibition, see the photo slideshow below.