When the new David Geffen Hall opens this October, music may be the centerpiece in the state-of-the-art theater, but contemporary art will also have a prominent place. Tens of thousands of square feet of new public space will allow the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center to expand the way that they engage and connect with the diverse community of New Yorkers.
Lincoln Center has commissioned two original works by acclaimed artists Nina Chanel Abney (above, right) and Jacolby Satterwhite (left) — in a partnership with The Studio Museum in Harlem and Public Art Fund — that will utilize much of this space and help inaugurate the new concert hall, while honoring New York City’s storied — and often complex — cultural history.
Abney, whose work “conveys a sense of expansiveness” (The New York Times), will create an installation for David Geffen Hall’s nearly 200-foot north façade, along 65th Street, one of the most visible areas of the building that has not previously been utilized for artworks. Her new work will be a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of San Juan Hill — the Upper West Side community that existed before Lincoln Center’s construction — and will feature portraits of its notable residents and scenes drawn from the daily life of that community, all rendered in her signature bright colors.
Satterwhite, who is known for his dreamlike digital animations that synthesize a wide variety of media, will create a new video displayed on the 50-foot Digital Wall in David Geffen Hall’s new lobby, viewable to the public at no cost. The video will feature performances by music and dance students from local New York City schools, composited onto fantastical landscapes along with archival footage from Lincoln Center’s history — a merging of past and present with an eye toward a more inclusive future.
“A guiding principle of the new David Geffen Hall is to open our campus to our community — through the structure of the building and by how we present the art we curate,” said Deborah Borda, the NY Phil’s Linda and Mitch Hart President and CEO. “The very public unveiling of these two dynamic pieces will announce to New York City and the world that we are back, and that we welcome all artists and all art lovers.”