Artist Chakaia Booker Selected for Second Installation of the New York Avenue Sculpture Project

Internationally renowned sculptor Chakaia Booker has been selected as the second artist for the New York Avenue Sculpture Project, the only public art space featuring changing installations of contemporary works by women artists. Organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the New York Avenue Sculpture Project is a collaboration between the museum, the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID), the DC Office of Planning and other local agencies.

Based in New York, Booker (American b. 1953) works almost exclusively with recycled tires that are cut, shaped and folded, then woven into dynamic, highly textured sculptures. Her large-scale expressive works fuse ecological concerns with explorations of racial and economic difference, globalization, and gender.

“It is wonderful that the Women’s Museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2012 with a new installation of Chakaia Booker’s sculpture. Booker’s art, which transforms old automobile tires into monumental organic abstractions, is the perfect choice for a traffic median that has been turned into a sculpture island. We would like to thank our advisory board for selecting Booker’s striking black and steel works that incorporate her grand vision of ‘the street and the alley and the people between and the sky and the earth—it’s all one,’” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling.

Representatives from NMWA, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, DCBID, DDOT, DC Office of Planning, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Advisory Neighborhood Commission, local museums with outdoor sculpture programs, and public art experts make up the advisory board that selected the winning artist.

Booker has produced acclaimed shows in sculpture parks including Storm King in New York and Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, and has been included in important museum and gallery exhibitions including the 2000 Whitney Biennial.

The installation comprises four sculptures including a new work that Booker is creating specifically for the project. The sculptures, located in the median of New York Avenue between 12h and 13th Streets, N.W., will be dedicated on International Women’s Day, Thursday, March 8, 2012 and remain on view through 2014.

“When the New York Avenue Sculpture Project was first unveiled a year-and-a-half ago, it helped brand the corridor as a signature American street,” said Richard H. Bradley, executive director of the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID). “Such high-quality public space creates a more pedestrian friendly, urban experience and supports the type of placemaking projects and programs that we plan to expand and accelerate in the years ahead.”

The BID is one of the museum’s public-private partners on the sculpture project. It managed the preliminary design and engineering, shepherded the project through the approval processes of seven agencies, and took the lead in managing the construction project, including lighting, landscaping and signage. The Downtown BID Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance employees (SAMs) will once again help maintain the landscaping once the plantings are installed around Booker’s art work.

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