51 years after it was first conceived, an interactive sculpture by the late Brazilian-American artist Hélio Oiticica will finally be realized in New York City. Oiticica’s
The original Subterranean Tropicália Projects would have been a massive multi-level structure with an almost maze-like interior where visitors “discover” works of art by Oiticica and other artists and have interactions with each other. Unfortunately, garnering financial support and permits from the city for such a large installation proved out of reach. PN15 reworks the project as a 40-foot-diameter circular structure of curving corridors offering visitors a multi-sensory experience full of plants and projected images. Throughout its run, the installation will also be a stage for interactive performances and workshops by Brazilian and queer artists.
The installation marks the first time an outdoor work by Oiticica will be displayed in the United States. The project is able to move forward thanks to the
“This is an artwork that is as radical now as it was in the 70s,” Aimé Iglesias Lukin, Director and Chief Curator of Visual Arts at the Americas Society, told
According to Iglesias Lukin, the exhibition offers a “re-reading of 1960s and 70s American art through the lens of
Oiticica first envisioned the work for display at Central Park, but as Iglesias Lukin notes, the Central Park of today is very different than it was in the 1970s. Installed within Socrates Sculpture Park, it will have more of the impact Oiticica imagined, seen and experienced mostly by everyday working class New Yorkers rather than tourists and wealthy Manhattanites. The park is a place where local residents hang out, play basketball, go on runs, and walk their dogs. Oiticica wanted Subterranean Tropicália Projects to foster “creleisure,” a term he coined for creative-leisure, offering a space for both planned and spontaneous performances.