Downtown Alliance Launches New Public Art in Shadow of 4 WTC

Art lovers can now “walk” to “work” in Lower Manhattan. Only a few blocks from the international installation Walking Men 99™ is the newest outdoor public art installation, Men At Work, wrapping the base of Silverstein Properties’ fast-rising 4 World Trade Center.

This week, Men At Work–depicting nearly 150 iconic figures from street signs across the globe–was installed along 1,000 feet of construction parapets on the south and north sides of Liberty Street, between Greenwich and Church streets, stretching along the southern edge of the World Trade Center construction site.

Men At Work is the 28th art installation unveiled in the wildly popular Re:Construction program, which adorns construction sites in Lower Manhattan with whimsical, thoughtful and engaging pieces of art. Launched in 2007, Re:Construction is produced by the Downtown Alliance and funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

“Re:Construction is an ongoing opportunity for government, artists, curators, property owners and business people to work together to make something beautiful,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Downtown Alliance. “And what’s a better example than Men At Work. I encourage anyone who lives in, works in or visits Lower Manhattan to stop for just a moment and explore these wonderful pieces of art.”

Created by Maya Barkai, Men At Work features figures from 148 cities, and is the second project in New York City from the Walking Men Worldwide Initiative™. The installation offers a new look into the cultural presence of “working men.” The signs typically prevent passersby from entering active construction sites and thus become symbols of an environment being transformed.

“Maya’s work captures the spirit of Lower Manhattan and New Yorkers’ enthusiasm for rebuilding the World Trade Center,” said Larry A. Silverstein, President & CEO of Silverstein Properties, Inc. “It also pays tribute to the thousands of men and women involved in this historic effort.”

Walking

The installation is several blocks from the most celebrated piece in the Re:Construction collection, Barkai’s Walking Men 99™. Debuted in 2010, it is a site-specific installation that joins together 99 iconic pedestrian traffic-light figures from cities around the world, a photographic collage stretching along 500 feet of plywood walls that form three street façades facing Church and Barclay streets and Park Place.

The project was conceived as a collaborative effort of international photographers, each contributing a piece to the collage using an interactive platform created by Barkai. Learn more at www.walking-men.com.

Men At Work and Walking Men 99™ were curated by Ayelet Danielle Aldouby and Elinor Milchan from Artea Projects. You can learn more about Artea Projects at www.arteaprojects.com

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