New York City is awash in water tanks. Thousands of them perch on rooftops all through the 5 boroughs, and now round one hundred of the distinctive picket barrels are being reworked into momentary canvases for a public artwork initiative. The Water Tank Project requested dozens of artists, together with John Baldessari, Jeff Koons, Catherine Opie, Carrie Mae Weems, and Andy Goldsworthy, to create water-themed works on the tanks, which are supposed to change the best way individuals take a look at water consumption.

“Water is our most challenged however taken-for-granted useful resource. It’s throughout us however nearly invisible,” says Neville Wakefield, a member of the challenge’s curatorial workforce. “By drawing consideration to the water tanks, we hope to alert the world to the wastage of our most valuable commodity.”

Bronx-born filmmaker, artist, and activist Mary Jordan got here up with the thought for the venture whereas making an ethnographic movie in Ethiopia. “I noticed the individuals there preventing this fixed, every day battle for water,” she says. “Back in New York, I got here to see the water tank as a heroic determine—it’s like an altar up within the sky. They’re icons that everyone is aware of, and but they’ve by no means been used for one thing artistic.”

Jordan and curator Bettina S. Bryant tapped some nicely-related collaborators resembling Wakefield and philanthropists Agnes Gund and Toby Devan Lewis to safe participation from artists starting from Derrick Adams to Yoko Ono to the stencil-artwork duo ICY and SOT. Some of the tanks will showcase scholar works chosen from a contest carried out in partnership with Studio in a School, which brings artists into New York City lecture rooms.

Renderings of contributions to the Water Tank Project by ICY and SOT. ©2014 ICY and SOT

Renderings of contributions to the Water Tank Project by ICY and SOT.

©2014 ICY and SOT

“Aside from a number of metropolis tips that prohibit issues like profanity and nudity in a public area, we’ve allowed the artists to be free of their interpretation,” says Bryant. “Some artists have reacted to the fee in a really humorous method. Others have finished issues which might be deeply shifting, with stark photographs that basically get you to consider the plight that lots of people do endure.”

The organizers are protecting particulars of the designs beneath wraps till the works start to pop up across the metropolis subsequent month. An app will supply a digital tour of the tanks and encourage customers to scale back their water utilization. The tricked-out tanks are scheduled to stay on view via September. Adds Wakefield, “The largest problem is getting individuals to lookup.”

A model of this story initially appeared within the June 2014 concern of ARTnews on web page 15 underneath the title “Think Tanks.”

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