April 18, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
Two pieces of public art will be installed in Sunnyside in coming months–one at the 46th Street/Bliss Plaza and the other at the 40th Street/ Lowery Plaza.
A 640-square foot vinyl floor will be laid down next month on the asphalt at 46th Street/Bliss Plaza, while a giant “Poetry Jukebox,” which residents can use to access literature at the press of button, will be installed at the Lowery Plaza in September. Both pieces will go up for less than a year.
The vinyl installation, a colorful piece created by Sunnyside artist Soonae Tark, will be 16 feet wide and 40 feet long, consisting of a combination of bold geometric shapes.
Tark, who studied at Dongduk Women’s University in Seoul and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, France, was chosen by a panel to display her art at this location.
The piece is part of the DOT’s community art program that began in 2008 with the mission to bring temporary art to public spaces across the city.
“The color, vigor, and energy conveyed in Soonae’s work is a great fit for Sunnyside and for our local transportation hub at Bliss Plaza,” said Jaime-Faye Bean, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines.
“We are especially glad to have the opportunity to work with a local artist on a project that will add interest and beauty to thousands of commuters’ lives for the next nine months.”
The second piece of public art coming to Sunnyside will be the Poetry Jukebox.
The jukebox will stand 6 feet tall and weigh about 500 pounds. It will feature a metal tube that contains 20 poems with content and authors relevant to the area, accessible by pedestrians by pressing a button.
This piece was created by Prague-based artist Ondřej Kobza, who has displayed the jukebox in countries such as the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Brussels.
The jukebox was first brought to New York in 2016 by Kobza and placed on Extra Place in the East Village where it stands permanently.
He built another Jukebox that went up in Greenwich Village on 6th Avenue in May 2018, which is the structure that will be relocated to Sunnyside. Kozbza built this one in three pieces so it could be easily moved, according to Jiri Duzar, the assistant Director of the Czech Tourism Board who facilitates Kobza’s work in the U.S.
Duzar said they jumped on the chance to place the piece in Sunnyside due to the different feel from Manhattan it provides.
“We are always looking for areas that are demographically and socially diverse,” Duzar said.
Duzar also said that this artwork is a way for Sunnyside residents to be exposed to poetry and literature in an environment where it otherwise may not have been as accessible.
“The jukebox allows people to explore the underrepresented field of poetry in the days where they are so overwhelmed with all things digital that they don’t have time to read books,” Duzar said.
“Reading poetry in an urban environment gives a new perspective. Hearing the sounds of the city creates an additional element and different experience for people.”
The poems for the Sunnyside jukebox, according to Bean, will be published works relevant to the area. They will be read and recorded by Sunnyside residents who will get to hear their neighbors’ voices.
Sunnyside Shines is accepting recommendations for poets to use for the installation at [email protected]
The installation, pending the approval of the DOT’s Community Commissions program, will begin installation in September and will remain in the Sunnyside location for 11 or 12 months.