The stone and glass of Midtown Manhattan has a new neighbor: electric yellow. The Lever House, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in 1952, is currently host to New York, New York, a temporary art installation by painter Peter Halley. Halley, who rose to prominence in the 1980’s, applied yellow film to the ground-floor lobby of the building. The second floor is the same bright hue. The result, remarkable from the exterior, is equally captivating inside the landmark.
In the lobby are six paintings by the artist, in acrylic, fluorescent acrylic, and a textural additive. “Peter's geometric compositions of "prisons," "cells," and their connected "conduits" are deeply related to urban structures in society, the rise of the digital age, and—rather appropriately for the setting of Lever House—modernist architecture,” curator Roya Sachs says.
The walls supporting the paintings contain a passageway, leading to rooms covered in custom digitally printed wallpaper, some collaged with images from the artist’s notebooks. At the heart of the installation, the artist’s diagrammatic work is lit only by black light. There, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra croon: New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town.
Lever House Art Collection, founded by real estate developer Aby Rosen and collector Alberto Mugrabi, is open to the public Monday through Friday 11:00am–7:00pm. New York, New York by Peter Halley is on view until December 31st.