Exhibition

Katja Novitskova’s New York Landing

Public Art Fund’s latest commission materializes sci-fi and the internet.

Katja Novitskova’s sculptures are usually displayed inside a white cube. But for her latest installation the artist opted for a change of scenery. “Earth Potential,” which opened June 22 (and runs through Nov. 9) in Lower Manhattan’s City Hall Park, marks her first outdoor public exhibition. “I’m intrigued by this juxtaposition,” she says. “When there’s a snail crawling on a sculpture it becomes another object in the environment.”

Photo: Jason Wyche, courtesy Katja Novitskova and Public Art Fund New York

As part of Public Art Fund’s 40th anniversary, the nonprofit commissioned Novitskova to produce seven flat-cut aluminum sculptures—she will join a prominent register of artists, including Olafur Eliasson, Sol LeWitt and Jenny Holzer, who have previously worked with the organization. The exhibition underscores the artist’s longtime reflection on technology’s role in the natural world. In pieces measuring six to eight feet tall, Novitskova transmutes internet images into 3-D sculptures: “It’s similar to how some artists use found objects,” she says. For this show, she collages images of celestial bodies and living organisms. The result is a sci-fi ensemble that reads and looks part real and part virtual—“an alien landing site,” she says. One sculpture pairs planet Earth with the underbelly of a lime-green lizard, another features a hydra—a biologically immortal creature—crawling around Venus.

Photo: Jason Wyche, courtesy Katja Novitskova and Public Art Fund New York

The installation also nods to Hollywood sci-fi films shot in City Hall Park: “I know the cinematic America more than the real America,” she says. Novitskova lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin. This year, the young artist represents her native country, Estonia, in the 54th Venice Biennale. And come late November, her next show, “Approximation (Storm Time),” returns to the confines of the square room at New York’s Greene Naftali gallery.

(Photos: Jason Wyche, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY)

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