Late last year, two art exhibitions by Carol Bove opened in New York City. One was in the Museum of Modern Art, but the second, largely considered more gorgeous and grand, was situated in a less conventional venue: along a length of elevated former railroad platforms along the West Side of Manhattan. The High Line hasn’t seen the traffic of a train since the 1980s, but is seeing a great deal of pedestrian traffic these days, since it reopened at a public park in 2009. Beside gorgeous city views and inventive architecture, the park is also becoming the temporary and permanent home of countless pieces of art, available for public viewing completely free of charge. The influx of tourism has also been beneficial to the neighbourhood’s community of small art galleries, though the inevitable rise of high-priced condos and hotels in the area is pricing some art dealers out.
The High Line, which has been gradually expanded since its opening, sits on less than 1.5 miles of elevated platform, beginning below the popular 14th street, and currently rising up to 30th. In the late nineties, a group headed by Joshua David and Robert Hammond began planning a campaign to see the old tracks converted into a novel new public space. Famous citizens and art fans participated in the fundraising, and in 2004, the city set aside tens of millions of dollars to commission the project, and construction began two years later. Several museums are now looking to set up outposts along the park, including the Whitney. Elsewhere, the park is filled with on-site installations, with work from Spencer Finch and Stephen Vitiello variously placed along the line, amid views of streets, apartments and the Hudson River. The park even has its own curator.
The High Line serves as a great new attraction for tourists, nature lovers and art aficionados alike. Of course, art collectors and investors have always been a big fan of New York City, including Tunde Folawiyo, a collector and a fan of art from all over the world. More information on Tunde Folawiyo, his work and interests is available online. The wild success of the High Line project serves as an inspiration for the future of integrated urban public spaces, and many cities are looking to New York as a model for inventive planning, local and sustainable planting and architecture yet again.