Urban Art Installations - 10 Intriguing Works

January 10, 2015

Urban art installations - three-dimensional objects set in an urban environment

It was an exciting couple of months during which we have been presented with a wide variety of art events organized all around the world, that exhibited latest installations created by some of the most renowned contemporary and urban artists. As great events started piling up in overwhelming numbers we have decided to make a cross-section of everything we have seen lately, and present you with our selection of ten most intriguing urban art installations showcased.. From bombs dropped by notorious D*Face at his West Hollywood show last September, to the amusing Sculpture tactile by the legendary Yves Klein and Kiefer's mesmerizing tall towers, here are the ten exceptional installations that absolutely stood out from the rest and easily caught our eyes.

Anselm Kiefer - Heavenly Palaces

Anselm Kiefer, famous contemporary painter and sculptor and one of the most important German artists alive, creates engaging art that often argues with recent history and confronts its taboos and highly controversial issues. In 2014 the famous Royal Academy of Arts from Central London hosted an extraordinary show which was the most significant UK-based exhibition of  Kiefer's exceptional art ever. The show covered his entire 40 year career and premiered some of his new inspiring work. Among many brave and provocative pieces there were Kiefer's uncompromising paintings and sculptures, as well as his monumental installations, astonishing tall towers, or heavenly palaces, made from cement slabs and, his favourite, lead elements that combine the Jewish tradition of the cabala with contemporary art forms. These astonishing structures of stacked concrete casts of shipping containers that stand so strong and overwhelm its viewers with their enormous power, are one of the boldest and most intriguing installation pieces we have seen in some time.

D*Face - Scars and Stripes

It was a sunny September night when urban art icon D*Face.showed up in West Hollywood in order to open his biggest solo exhibition to date. Titled  Scars and Stripes, and organized by PMM Art Projects, the show featured an exciting new array of D*Face's work, centered around portraits of celebrities all of whom lived fast and died young. With two additional stars of the show, both of them located outside the gallery: an eye-catching large scale mural painted on the wall of the gallery space and a life-size installation of an iconic American police cruiser crushed by the world famous D*Dog sculpture that landed on its windshield. The opening night was a sure winner with the infamous British urban art star posing around the astonishing installation surrounded by smoke effects and flashlights.

Hong Seon Jang - Minerals and prayer rugs

In 2014 the renowned David B. Smith Gallery, Denver's own popular art hotspot,  hosted its second exhibition of Hong Seon Jang, renowned American installation artist, titled Waxed/Waned. The show presented several extraordinary Jang's pieces, two of which we really liked a lot. First one was the Mineral installation which consists of small sculptures made entirely of aluminum foil shaped into crystal forms. The second and central piece of the Waxed/Waned exhibition was the Prayer Rug, mesmerizing piece of art presented as a colorful rug Jang created using hundreds of military ribbons, originating from a long list of countries. Usually awarded as recognition for outstanding military service and acts of bravery shown in the battle, military ribbons are here combined with the traditional form of the prayer rug, often used as a holy item in many cultures around the world.

Nick Gentry - Synthetic Daydream

Synthetic Daydream was the name of the latest Nick Gentry show which was held last November at the Robert Fontaine Gallery in Miami. Nick Gentry is a famous British urban artist, widely praised for his extraordinary paintings and installations made from contributed artefacts and materials, with a distinctive focus on obsolete media such as floppy discs, music cassettes and VHS tapes. The show presented selection of Gentry's critically acclaimed  collage paintings created from 35mm film negatives and X-rays on glass that were sourced directly for a social art project from members of the public. These exceptional portraits of everyday people and Gentry himself, that appear like they have been made out of memories stored on floppy discs, sure are some of the most intriguing pieces we have seen in awhile. 

Yves Kleine - Sculpture tactile

New York saw the inaugural edition of the Independent Projects, innovative hybrid art fair and exhibition, which took place in the former Dia Art Foundation space. Among many strong historical exhibitions on view during the fair, there was one installation that offered a real treat for the fair visitors. A tribute to Yves Klein, presented by the renowned Dominique Lévy gallery, was an extremely exciting and playful exhibition that featured some of the important works created by this extraordinary artist, showman and allround provocateur. Among them there was the first re-fabrication of the unique piece titled Sculpture tactile,  a project conceived by Yves Klein in the 1950s, but previously unrealized. The box, in which visitors were allowed to put their arms in order to feel the beauty hidden inside with their own hands, was animated as a complete work, with the inclusion of male and female nude models inhabiting the insides of the exceptional Sculpture tactile.

Robert Gober - The Heart is not a Metaphor

Robert Gober is a renowned American sculptor and installation artist, whose highly engaging and meticulously crafted works explore different subjects, from more personal like sexuality and relationships, to more global, and more troubling, such as environment, politics, and religion. In October 2014 MoMA opened one of its finest shows in  2014, The Heart Is Not a Metaphor exhibition which presents the most comprehensive survey of Gober's artistic career in the United States to date. There one could find over 130 artworks, and among them number of highly intriguing installations featuring sinks, doors, furniture, awkward bodies and body parts, all created with artist's painstaking attention to detail. It was very hard to pick only one to be named in this article, and we are going to leave it to you to pick your own.

Daniel Arsham - Bound Figure

It was a rather busy winter for Daniel Arsham, emerging American artist who is making big waves in the art world, as he participated in the critically acclaimed Post Pop: East Meets West group show and released his film Future Relic 02, featuring James Franco. In November 2014 Arsham opened his latest and extremely special exhibition at the renowned Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London, featuring a single but purely awesome installation titled Bound Figure. Using nothing more than fibreglass, paint, piece of fabric and a pair of old shoes, Arsham created a truly captivating and mind-bending piece of  installation art on the gallery wall, possibly one his best, and it wasn't the first time we saw Arsham create interventions like Bound Figure in different spaces before.

Egan Frantz - Mondays and Fridays

Egan Frantz is an extraordinary young American sculptor and installation artist, best known for his minimalist, philosophy-influenced installations that reflect his witty thoughts on modern world consumption and labor. Good example of these highly intriguing, three-dimensional thoughts were on display at the Michael Jon Gallery in Miami. Exhibition titled Egan Frantz: Monday and Friday, Tuesday and Friday, Wednesday and Friday, Thursday and Friday, Friday and Friday featured seven sculptural pieces, consisting of suspended slabs of heavy, dark marble. Installed decisively across the gallery, Frantz's powerful pieces invite their viewers to inspect them closer, only to reveal humorous traces of personal dry-cleaning receipts and low ghosts, Frantz's signature logos, juxtaposed to previous, overwhelming emotions.

Leo Villareal - Buckyball

Leo Villareal is a renowned artist from New York City, widely recognized for his exceptional LED light installations, often computer programmed in order to create illuminated displays. Villareal broke to worldwide fame with his mind-boggling, $8 million worth public light installation titled The Bay Lights, consisting of 25,000 LED lights which were strung on the vertical cables of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. His installation titled Buckyball is a star of his latest and ongoing exhibition at Sandra Gering Inc, a groundbreaking urban art gallery from Manhattan that also represents the artist. Composed of 180 custom made LED micro tubes, which are arranged in a series of pentagons and hexagons, rather unique and highly intriguing Buckyball LED installation features elements which became Villareal's recognizable style.

Luce. Diversità è Energia

Christmas of 2014 was extremely fun in Rome, especially in its more peripheral municipalities, as the city and public lighting company Acea realized a new artistic project titled Luce. Diversità è Energia (Light. Diversity and Energy). Urban art pieces, created by a respectable selection of nine prominent street artists, including names such as Halo Halo, Gio Pistone,  Never2501, Tnec, L’Atlas and Teddy Killer, were projected on the facades of three schools located in the residential city quarters. These captivating and uplifting light installations provided the city with a completely fresh and extremely arty look during the Christmas season, and we all know there is no better time for lighting up the streets. Mesmerizing Luce. Diversità è Energia project started on December 19, 2014, and it was repeated on daily basis  through January 4, 2015, with a final event which took place two days later.

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