10 Most Memorable Projects by the Art Production Fund

April 28, 2018

The Art Production Fund (or APF for short) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and commissioning public art all across the globe. Besides focusing on their primary goal, APF also looks to raise awareness and support communal participation through contemporary art.

Founded by Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen in 2000, The Art Production Fund enables artists to create large-scale, difficult-to-produce works which would be impossible to realize without their backing. In a vast majority of cases, the projects they decide to support are of multidisciplinary nature. These public art commissions challenge the artists behind them to work outside the limits of their normal practice, subsequently propelling their careers to the next level.

By bringing pivotal works to diverse communities, The Art Production Fund hopes to reach wide audiences and reduce the physical as well as the psychic distance of cultural, class, linguistic, racial and income barriers that hinder participation in contemporary art. Instead of taking place in the confines of a museum or a gallery, The Art Production Fund brings art directly to the people and their natural surroundings.

Today, we'll take a closer look at the ten most interesting commissions and site-specific projects that The Art Production Fund nurtured financially, technically and logistically from the early planning stages until completion.

Featured images: Art Ads by Chuch Close and Kehinde Wiley, 2011, Photo by James Ewing; Ugo Rondinone - Seven Magic Mountains, 2016, Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni; Rirkrit Tiravanija - Berlin Billboards, 2015, courtesy of Galerie Max Hetzler; Kiki Smith - Chorus, 2012, Photo by Billy Farrell Agency. All images courtesy of Art Production Fund.

Vanessa Beecroft - Show, 1998

Simply titled Show, this was a one-night-only live performance that occurred on April 23, 1998. Created by Vanessa Beecroft, Show featured twenty models stationed beneath the soaring rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Beecroft used this performance to bring her exploration of a woman as an icon further, not only in terms of art, but in the contemporary culture's general portrayal of her.

In that sense, Show was a living portrait of fifteen models clothed in red monotone outfits and high-heeled rhinestones, all designed by Tom Ford.

Featured image: Vanessa Beecroft - Show, 1998

Elmgreen & Dragset - Prada Marfa, 2005

Partnered with Ballroom Marfa, Art Production Fund presented a permanent public sculpture titled Prada Marfa on October 1, 2005. Created by artists Elmgreen & Dragset, this work was placed on the outskirts of Valentine, Texas, on a desolate ranching land with no other visible trace of civilization in sight.

From a distance, Prada Marfa appeared to be a large minimalist sculpture, but as the viewer got closer and closer, he or she saw a luxury boutique with a display of Fall 2005 high-heel shoes and bags. Yet, the doors were permanently sealed shut, turning the work into a true, impenetrable time capsule.

Featured image: Elmgreen & Dragset - Prada Marfa, 2005

Art Ads by Alex Katz, Yoko Ono and Shirin Neshat, 2010; Chuck Close and Kehinde Wiley, 2011

In January 2010, 500 taxis of NY were adorned with new tops donated for a city wide, one month, art intervention. This series of artworks were made by three major figures in contemporary art: Alex Katz, Yoko Ono and Shirin Neshat. Displaying images on the two sides of the rooftop advertising cones, Art Ads managed to transform a platform normally used for commerce into one for culture.

The second series of Art Adds was executed in 2011 and it allowed artists Chuck Close and Kehinde Wiley to have their own takes on this intriguing concept. Yet again giving the artists 500 taxis to work with, APF realized an exhibit in a constant state of flux, a show that was transforming with traffic patterns throughout the day.

Being on a constant display for a full month each, both series of Art Adds were seen by over 5 million New Yorkers each day of the campaign.

Featured image: Art Ads by Chuch Close and Kehinde Wiley, 2011, Photo by James Ewing

Kiki Smith - Chorus, 2012

On view from May 24th through September 4th 2012, Chorus was the third installation at The Last Lot project space on 46th Street and 8th Avenue in New York City. Designed by Kiki Smith, this piece displayed multicolored stained-glass stars clustered throughout the lot.

With sculptures ranging from 18 inches to six feet in height, Chorus evokes the glamorous heyday of Broadway and the current state of the Theater District surrounding the installation site, as explained by the artist herself:

As the sun shines through and glitters upon the translucent and opaque glass, the stars will contrast with the raw urban lot.

Featured image: Kiki Smith - Chorus, 2012, Photo by James Ewing

Ryan McGinley - Taxi TV, 2013

Yet another Art Production Fund project linked to the NY taxi circulation, Ryan McGinley's Taxi TV took place from January 9th through February 5th 2013. The piece was based on the idea of playing a 30 second version of McGinleyʼs original film for Icelandic band Sigur Rósʼ track Varúð on TVs in taxi interiors.

The ethereal video features a magical golden haired girl skipping throughout the streets of Manhattan in slow motion. This film was displayed on NBC screens in 3,000 taxis, screen that were primarily intended to be used for advertising and news.

Featured image: Ryan McGinley - Taxi TV, 2013, Photo by James Ewing

PAUSE with Tracey Emin and Laurie Simmons, 2014/15

Art Production Fund, in partnership with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, was really pleased to announce the launch of Tracey Emin’s project back in 2014. This performance, titled PAUSE, was based on a series of digital neon works called I Promise to Love You that were being shown hourly on all LED signage both in and outside the resort.

I Promise To Love You, comprised of six artworks around the theme of love, was featured every hour on 8 individual LED screens for more than three minutes. These unique moving images were glowing words, made of digital neon lights, that slowly spell themselves out, as if being written by the invisible hands of the artists themselves.

Featured image: Tracey Emin and Laurie Simmons - PAUSE, 2014/15

Rirkrit Tiravanija - Berlin Billboards, 2015

Rirkrit Tiravanija designed these public billboards in 2015, basing them all around the same question: Do We Dream Under the Same Sky? They were placed all over Berlin, Germany, and were a part of the Open Source exhibition.

The artist used these artworks to speak his mind about the existence of tensions and shifts in our economic framework, utilization of new technologies, ecological issues and the constant question of what comes after tomorrow.

Featured image: Rirkrit Tiravanija - Berlin Billboards, 2015, courtesy of Galerie Max Hetzler

Ugo Rondinone - Seven Magic Mountains, 2016

Taking place in the desert south of Las Vegas, Nevada, Art Production Fund and Ugo Rondinone created an unusual colorful anomaly - seven colossal stone forms were placed here, defying gravity with their formations. The shapes of Seven Magic Mountains, reminiscent of naturally-occurring hoodoos, looked like they are on a constant verge of collapsing.

These charming sculptures, rich with a sense of romantic minimalism, allowed the internationally-renowned Swiss artist to evoke the art of meditative rock balancing. Seven Magic Mountains also turned the artist into an interesting part of the often overlooked Land Art movement.

Featured image: Ugo Rondinone - Seven Magic Mountains, 2016, Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni

Jeff Koons - Seated Ballerina, 2017

Seated Ballerina was a large-scale art installation in NY, hosted by Tishman Speyer at Rockefeller Center from May 12 to July 17, 2017. Created by the contemporary art guru Jeff Koons, this inflatable nylon sculpture stood 45 feet high and depicted a seated ballerina initially made for the artist’s iconic Antiquity series.

Already accustomed to referencing historical imagery and found objects, Koons based Seated Ballerina on a small porcelain figurine. The sculpture is actually a contemporary iteration of the goddess Venus, and it symbolizes notions of beauty and connectivity.

Featured image: Jeff Koons: Seated Ballerina, 2017, © Jeff Koons / Photo: Tom Powel Imaging

Marilyn Minter at Westfield World Trade Center & Westfield Century City, 2018

This Marilyn Minter's ongoing video art program is presented across all of the large-scale screens at Westfield World Trade Center and Westfield Century City, starting from January 11, 2018. The program will consist of three installments, each of which will be on view for about four to six weeks, and will debut in January-February, May, and July-August.

Marilyn Minter, already well-versed in working with photography, painting and video art, created a hypnotic, slow-motion video that features two aluminum letters, "M" and "E", splashing into a bubbling pool of metallic liquid.

Featured image: Marilyn Minter at Westfield World Trade Center & Westfield Century City, 2018, Photo courtesy of Westfield

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