Jeppe Hein: Please Touch the Art in Brooklyn Bridge ParkWednesday, June 10, 2015
Now that school's out and summer is in full swing, I'm taking every opportunity to be outside. Whether it's a picnic, al fresco dinner, or a quick a run, there's plenty to enjoy in these extended daylight hours and balmy temperatures.
It hasn't been effortless to get back into running after my grad-school imposed hiatus. Thankfully, there's a little something extra to motivate me to get out and pound the pavement in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Commissioned by Public Art Fund, Danish artist Jeppe Hein has filled the park with 18 pieces that call us to come close and play. Please Touch the Art is an 18-piece installation composed of an entrancing labyrinth of mirrors, delightful water fountain "rooms", and bright red modified "social" benches—all meant, not just to be looked at, but to be experienced.
The "Mirror Labyrinth" is about as much fun as being in a house of mirrors. My favorite parts are the angles that allow me to see swathes of the historic Brooklyn promenade set against the modern architectural marvels of Downtown Manhattan.
"Appearing Rooms" is good fun when there are children running through in glee. Hein engineered this installation with timed fountains that create "rooms" between the jets of water. According to the artist, one can remain dry by keeping to the individual rooms. I haven't quite gone in just yet; each time I've passed by there have been little children running around with gleeful abandon in their bathing suits and I couldn't bear to throw cold water on their fun (pun unintended).
The "Social Benches" are comparatively less elaborate, but I've come to enjoy seeing how different people interact with them. One child's playground is another man's meditation spot.
Perhaps that's why I keep coming back for another look. Every time I run past Hein's pieces, there seems to be something new to see, whether it's bright blue skies or sunset casting a new light on the mirrors or people using the benches in a different way. That's the beauty of interactive art; being able to touch the art ensures it remains a living and evolving thing.
Please Touch the Art will be in Brooklyn Bridge Park until April 17, 2016. As much as I love and wish summer would never end, I'm excited to see how Hein's pieces will evolve with the changing of the seasons!