Rockefeller Center launches 2022 public art program with 125ft mural and new roster of artists

Rockefeller Center and the Art Production Fund have announced the roster of artists for the fourth year of the Honoring art public art program, featuring various site-specific installations by a diverse group of acclaimed contemporary artists. This year Honoring art the artists follow in the footsteps of Sanford Biggers, Hiba Schahbaz, Hilary Pecis, Maurice Harris, Lisa Congdon, Oliver Jeffers, Genevieve Gaignard, Hein Koh, LaKela Brown, Lucy Sparrow, Ryan Flores, Vanessa German, Portia Munson and Angelica Hicks who have all participated in the program in past years.

Max Colby at Rockefeller Center. Photo by Daniel Greer, courtesy of Art Production Fund

The year-long public program consists of five separate installations and will begin on Tuesday, January 18 with an installation by a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist. MAX COLBY. After Colby are mixed media artists HUGO MCCLOUDNew York-based ceramic artist Emilie Mullinpainter ARGHAVAN KHOSRAVIand renowned photographer and installation artist ALEX PAGER which will create an immersive installation during Rockefeller Center’s 2022 holiday season. The 2022 Honoring art features artists exploring and reinterpreting materials as a means of capturing the human experience. A selection of painters, sculptors, photographers and more, these artists use materials in innovative ways to offer a closer look at the unique characteristics of people, objects and elements found in their daily lives.

“This year’s Art in Focus program deliberately spotlights artists across multiple mediums who use mixed media to represent their personal lives or inspirations in unexpected ways. Max Colby kicks off the 2022 roster of artists for our Art in Focus programming by pairing the intricate beadwork of his sculptures with a 125-foot mural, inspired by historic Crewel embroidery, for an eye-catching effect from afar and mesmerizing when seen up close.

Max Colby’s installation at Rockefeller Center can be seen from January 18, 2022 and presents a wide range of his practice, from sculpture and installation to painting and relief. Through lush, highly embellished, and material-rich work, she reframes traditional notions of domesticity, power, and gender from a trans, non-binary perspective. Colby’s activation of material is resolutely camp, providing space to reimagine our relationship to gender, class, and the mundane.

“The activation of Rockefeller Center is such a special opportunity. I have long admired its Art Deco architecture, but there is also a wonderful irony in the coupling – Rockefeller Center is home to many sites of American cultural production, popular television , shopping, etc. that reflect the conversations my work engages in. I am thrilled to bring this work to the public and provide unique opportunities for the generation of joyful new experiences,” says Max Colby..

In the lobby of 45 Rockefeller Plaza, visitors discover three custom installations of works from his “They Consume Themselves” series, comprised of 27 sculptures resting on custom glass pedestals in fully mirrored display cases. “They Consume Each Other” is his biggest and most ambitious work to date.

A 125-foot mural in the lobby of 45 Rockefeller Plaza features paintings from Colby’s 2020 series that copy 18th- and 19th-century Crewel embroidery works from prominent public collections paired on contemporary sticker sets. Colby’s research into Crewel embroidery has been a mainstay of his practice for over 10 years. “Popular in Colonial America and Elizabethan and Victorian England, the ‘crewel’ style is known for its pastoral floral imagery, linking ‘natural history’ to gendered work and aesthetics. The mural at 45 Rock will be the first time that this dimension of my practice will be highlighted and connected to larger and more complex works. said Colby.

Murals on display throughout Rockefeller Center feature additional iterations of They Consume Each Other through luscious close-up detail and depictions of Colby’s largest work in the series – a unique installation of 45 sculptures. Additionally, images of several works from his Elegies series will greet visitors at 10 and 45 Rockefeller Plaza.

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Kayleen C. Rice