Last week I came across designer Justus Bruns who told me about his ambitious idea to temporarily transform New York’s Times Square into Art Square. “Times Square to Art Square is a very complex project with a simple goal: to turn all advertising on Times Square into art.” Although the official website is still in its beta phase, yesterday it went live. The online channel has a central role in the project, as this is the node where artists can send in and expose their works. Furthermore, fans and admirers can donate money for minutes to their favorite artists. When enough money is raised, the artists get exposure time on Times Square, depending on the extent to which their work is appreciated.
Yes, turning the world’s most famous urban screens into one big art exhibition is a brilliant, but very, very ambitious plan. Nevertheless, setting up a good online crowdsource machine is a smart idea in the first place. Moreover, media attention can be decisive. “We need to blow people away with our ambitions”, and “to bring art to Times Square, we’ll need close partnerships with billboard owners”, the initiators explain. True, true, a lot of work has to be done. Let’s start by spreading the word. Become a fan on Facebook, follow the project on Twitter.
Although Bruns’s Art Square plan intends to cover the whole Times Square, the idea made me think of the Times Square Alliance. This group works with a variety of arts-based curatorial groups to bring public art projects to Times Square in the form of screenings and projects aimed at “enriching the pedestrian experience”. Or the screening of Liz Goldwyn’s six minute film ‘Underwater Ballet’ on billboards in Los Angeles and at Times Square earlier this year, which was shown within the usual ad rotation program.
On Wednesday January 20, Justus Bruns will be talking about the Times Square to Art Square project at our Pecha Kucha Night Amsterdam, at the venue of Mediamatic — the organization that once turned a huge billboard on Amsterdam’s Rembrandt Square into an art screen… to be continued!