New York, New York,
17:40 PM

The Role of Public Art in Unearthing Buried Histories Explored in Madison Square Park Conservancy's Annual Symposium on June 3, 2022, at School of Visual Arts

Free and Open to the Public, Unearthing Public Art Features:

  • Keynote conversation, Excavating History: Landscape and Memory, with artist Cristina Iglesias, whose new installation, Landscape and Memory, opens at the park this June, and Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art
  • Panel discussion with artists Alice Aycock, Maren Hassinger, and Kennedy Yanko, and Ian Alteveer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Aaron I. Fleischman Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, moderated by arts and culture journalist and New York Times contributor Ted Loos
  • Presentations by Deborah Landau, Professor and Director of Creative Writing Program at New York University; Mark Wigley, Professor and Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University; and artist Alan Michelson

Madison Square Park Conservancy announced the program for its seventh annual symposium, which convenes eminent artists, scholars, and art world leaders to discuss critical issues and ideas in the fields of public and contemporary art. This year’s in-person symposium, Unearthing Public Art, investigates the central role of public art in exploring buried and manufactured histories in civic space. Inspired by Cristina Iglesias’ public art commission Landscape and Memory, opening at the park on June 1, the symposium considers why artists, curators, scholars, and cultural leaders are pushing into the public realm with influential work that asks viewers to look deeply at what is beneath the physical and metaphorical ground plane.

Free and open to the public, Unearthing Public Art is organized by Madison Square Park Conservancy in collaboration with the School of Visual Arts and will be held on Friday, June 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in the SVA Theatre.

The event is anchored by a keynote conversation, Excavating History: Landscape and Memory,  with artist Cristina Iglesias and Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. With her Conservancy-commissioned public art project, Landscape and Memory, Iglesias is unearthing Madison Square Park’s own history, installing five bronze sculptural pools deep within the park’s landscape to conjure the memory of an ancient stream now buried beneath the park. Landscape and Memory opens June 1 and remains on view through December 4, 2022.

Other featured speakers include artists Maren Hassinger, Alice Aycock, Kennedy Yanko, and Alan Michelson; Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Ian Alteveer; poet Deborah Landau; architecture theorist Mark Wigley; and arts and culture journalist and New York Times contributor Ted Loos. The Conservancy’s Brooke Kamin Rapaport will introduce the program.

Previous public art symposia organized by Madison Square Park Conservancy have included Greening Public Art (2021), Innovating Public Art (2019), Removing Public Art (2018), Accessing Public Art (2017), Dreaming Public Art (2016), and Explaining Public Art (2015).

Full program details follow below.


Unearthing Public Art

Date, Time, Location:

Friday, June 3, 2022
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

SVA Theatre 
333 West 23rd Street 
New York, NY 10011

Welcome and Curatorial Framing:

Sheila Kearney Davidson, Madison Square Park Conservancy Board Chair, New York
Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator, Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York

Panel Discussion:

Ted Loos, Arts and Culture Journalist, The New York Times Contributor, moderator
Ian Alteveer, Aaron I. Fleischman Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Alice Aycock, Artist, New York
Maren Hassinger, Artist, New York
Kennedy Yanko, Artist, Brooklyn

Keynote Conversation:

Excavating History: 
Landscape and Memory

Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator, Special Projects in Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Cristina Iglesias, Artist, Madrid


Deborah Landau, Poet; Professor and Director, Creative Writing Program, New York University
Alan Michelson (Mohawk member, Six Nations of the Grand River), Artist, New York
Mark Wigley, Professor and Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, New York

Free and open to the public, but an RSVP is necessary.

Please RSVP to



Ian Alteveer is the Aaron I. Fleischman Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His recent projects include retrospectives for Kerry James Marshall (2016), Marisa Merz (2017), David Hockney (2017–18) and Vija Celmins (2019), as well as the exhibition Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy (2018) and installation Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room (2021–ongoing). Alteveer is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. He serves on the boards of Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado, and the New York-based artist grant-maker Artadia and was a 2020 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

Alice Aycock is represented by Marlborough Gallery, NY and Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin. Aycock’s public sculptures can be found in many major cities, including East River Park Pavilion, NYC (1995/2014); San Francisco Public Library (1996); JFK International Airport, NY (1998/2013); Nashville, TN (2008); and Washington Dulles International Airport (2012). In 2014, a series of seven sculptures were installed in New York City, entitled Park Avenue Paper Chase. In 2016, she completed an entrance sculpture for MGM National Harbor, MD. A permanent large-scale installation was inaugurated at Pier 27 on the Toronto waterfront in 2017 as well as a second work there in 2021. In 2019, a retrospective was held at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany, and in 2020, six large-scale sculptures were installed in an outdoor solo exhibition at the Royal Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden. Most recently, an entry work to Des Moines International Airport entitled Liftoff was completed.

Lynne Cooke has been senior curator for Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC since 2014. Prior to that she was curator, Dia Art Foundation, 1991-2008, and from 2008-2012 Chief Curator and Deputy Director at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. In 1991 she was co-curator of the Carnegie International, and in 1996 director of the Sydney Biennial. Cooke has published extensively on modern and contemporary art, and lectured widely at universities and colleges within the United States and abroad. At present she is working on an exhibition, Braided Histories: Modernist Abstraction and Woven Forms, that will open in fall 2023 at LACMA in Los Angeles, and travel to the NGA in spring 2024.

Maren Hassinger (b.1947) has built an expansive practice that articulates the relationship between nature and humanity. Carefully choosing materials for their innate characteristics, Hassinger has explored the subject of movement, family, love, nature, environment, consumerism, identity, and race. Wire rope has played a prominent role in Maren Hassinger’s artistic practice since the early 1970s when, as a sculptor placed in the Fiber Arts program at UCLA, Hassinger used the material to bridge the gap between the two disciplines. The artist often takes a biomimetic approach to her material, whether bundling it to resemble a monolithic sheaf of wheat or planting it in cement to create an industrial garden. Maren Hassinger is the recipient of numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's Caucus for the Arts. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Baltimore Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, among others.

Cristina Iglesias, known for her site-specific installations on view across the world, has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions and commission projects. Her solo presentations include: Centro Botín, Santander, Spain (October 2018), Marian Goodman Gallery New York (2018), Musée de Grenoble, France (2016); BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2014); Metonimia, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2013); Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo, Brazil (2008); Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany (2006); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, England (2003); Museu Serralves, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2002); Carré d’art, Museé d’art Contemporain, Nîmes, France (2000); and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (1997). The Bloomberg commission, which opened in October 2017, followed the opening of her commission project at Fondación Botín, Santander, Spain (2017); Tres Aguas at Toledo, Spain (2014); Submerged Settings for the Mexican foundation of Environmental Education, Baja California, USA (2010); Bronze doors for the new wing of the Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain (2007), among many other permanent installations in international locations. She represented Spain at the 1986 and 1993 Venice Biennale and at the Sydney Biennale in 2012. She is the first woman to have ever been invited to exhibit at the Folkestone Triennial in 2011.

Deborah Landau is the author of four collections of poetry: Soft Targets (winner of The Believer Book Award), The Uses of the Body, and The Last Usable Hour, all Lannan Literary Selections from Copper Canyon Press, and Orchidelirium, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye for the Robert Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry. In 2016 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, Tin House, American Poetry Review, Poetry, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and included in prominent poetry anthologies. Landau was educated at Stanford University, Columbia University, and Brown University, where she was a Javits Fellow and received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature. She is a professor and director of the Creative Writing Program at New York University, and lives in Brooklyn with her family. Her fifth book of poems, Skeletons, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in spring ‘23.

Ted Loos has been covering arts and culture for 30 years and is a longtime contributor to the New York Times. He's based in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

Alan Michelson is an internationally recognized New York-based artist, curator, writer, lecturer and Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River. For over thirty years, he has been a leading practitioner of a socially engaged, critically aware, site-specific art grounded in local context and informed by the retrieval of repressed histories. Recent exhibitions include Greater New York 2021 at MoMA PS1, and he was featured in a recent profile in The New York Times. His solo exhibition Alan Michelson: Wolf Nation was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2019.  Michelson’s practice includes award-winning public art, and Mantle, his monument honoring Virginia’s Native nations was dedicated at the capitol in Richmond in 2018.  Michelson was co-founder and co-curator of the groundbreaking Indigenous New York series with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics in 2016 and 2017, which helped bring visibility to contemporary Indigenous art.

Mark Wigley is Professor of Architecture and Dean Emeritus at Columbia University. He is a historian, theorist, and critic who explores the intersection of architecture, art, philosophy, culture, biology, and technology. His books include Konrad Wachsmann’s Television: Post-Architectural Transmissions (2020); Passing Through Architecture: The 10 Years of Gordon Matta-Clark (2019); Cutting Matta-Clark: The Anarchitecture Investigation (2018); Are We Human? Notes on an Archaeology of Design (written with Beatriz Colomina; 2016); Buckminster Fuller Inc.: Architecture in the Age of Radio (2015); Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (1998); White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995); and Derrida’s Haunt: The Architecture of Deconstruction (1993). He has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Drawing Center, Columbia University, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Het Nieuwe Instituut, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Most recently he curated “Passing Through Architecture: The 10 Years of Gordon Matta-Clark” at the Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2019–20).

Kennedy Yanko is a sculptor and installation artist working in found metal and paint skin. Yanko deploys her materials in ways that explore the limitations of optic vision, underlining the opportunities we miss when looking with eyes alone. Her methods reflect a dual abstract expressionist-surrealist approach that centers the seen and unseen factors that affect, contribute to, and moderate human experience. Select solo exhibitions include Because it’s in my blood (Galleria Poggiali, Milan, 2020), Salient Queens (Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles, 2020), Postcapitalist Desire (Tilton Gallery, New York, 2021), and White, Passing at the Rubell Museum where she was the 2021 Artist in Residence (Miami, FL, 2021). Yanko's institutional exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; University of South Florida; Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA). Her work is included in notable private museums, namely: The Bunker Artspace, Espacio Tacuari, and the Rubell Museum.



Madison Square Park Conservancy cultivates and enlivens Madison Square Park, a dynamic seven-acre public park in New York City’s Flatiron District and one of the city’s most treasured greenspaces. Through its public art commissions, horticultural stewardship, and engaging programming, the nonprofit creates an urban oasis that welcomes a diverse community of over 60,000 visitors each day. Keats Myer is the Conservancy’s Executive Director.

Since 2004, the Conservancy has become a leader in commissioning new works of public art, curating and presenting over 40 major site-specific installations and solo exhibitions through its art programming. Led by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator, the program invites leading artists to push the boundaries of their practice and create risk-taking new works that experiment with materiality, scale, and theme in response to the park’s unique environment. The ambition of the commissioning program expands each year alongside the diverse range of innovative artists including Diana Al-Hadid, Tony Cragg, Abigail DeVille, Leonardo Drew, Maya Lin, Iván Navarro, Martin Puryear, Arlene Shechet, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.

In 2019, the Conservancy served as the commissioning institution for the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, marking the first time that an organization whose visual art program focuses exclusively on public art has received this honor. With Rapaport serving as Commissioner, the Conservancy presented new work by Martin Puryear.



School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers, and creative professionals for more than six decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, a dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. For information about the College’s 31 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, visit


Media Contacts:

Resnicow and Associates 
Juliet Sorce, 212.671.5158 or
Delaney Smith, 212.671.5160 or
Jenny Levine, 212.671.5189 or