Miguel Braceli receives a commission from the Percent for Art Program in New York
Miguel Braceli receives a commission from the NYC Percent for Art Program to develop a permanent work of public art on the Staten Island waterfront in New York; a large-scale project, generating a dialogue with the skyline of the city of Manhattan and global icons such as the Statue of Liberty.
Venezuelan artist Miguel Braceli received a public artwork commission from the Percent for Art Program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The project, to be located on the Tompkinsville pier in Staten Island, consolidates into a large-scale permanent work the artist’s research on geopolitical issues, local conflicts, and migration; until now developed through collective interventions and participatory projects.
Created in 1982, New York’s Percent for Art Program has commissioned over 430 art projects throughout the city. As a whole, its collection brings together a renowned and diverse list of artists, such as Alice Aycock, Sol Lewitt, Hanks Williams Thomas, Chakaia Booker, Lawrence Weiner, Jeffrey Gibson, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. It has also provided an entry point into public art for a wide range of early career and emerging artists.
For the Tompkinsville pier commission, Braceli was selected from among dozens of local and international artists considered by the Percent for Art panel, which included curators, artists, specialists, City representatives, and members of the community. Braceli's winning concept consists of a large-scale sculpture that addresses immigration issues and nature, on the Staten Island waterfront, which will draw a new landmark in the landscape of New York.
This piece will be part of the new architecture project "Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center", adjacent to the existing Lyons Pool. Once finished it will offer a variety of recreational amenities including sport courts, programming, fitness equipment, and more. In this new stage, the Center receives its name in honor of Mary Cali Dalton, who was Chief of Recreation at the New York Parks Department for Staten Island, and best known for being in charge of the “magic” as well helpful, cordial generosity characterized by making everyone feel welcome.
Here Lies a Flag. Miguel Braceli in collaboration with New Rochelle High School Students. New York, 2021
Braceli's proposal interrogates symbols of Nation-State's Imagery from a social and environmental approach to the land, which approaches these elements understanding that "nature and landscape are an unlimited continuum, an element made of nature substitutes the idea of a nation for the symbology of a territory without borders, like the land in its primary state,” as stated in the artist’s proposal.
From this premise of openness and welcome, the public art sculpture proposed by Braceli reopens the conversations on geopolitical structures, migratory rights, and current social conflicts about displacement, xenophobia, and immigration developed throughout his artistic practice. Subjects dealt with by Braceli in his projects, in which the interest in learning and collaboration are highlighted as a common foundation throughout recent works in the United States, as is the case of Flight of Labor (2022), Here lies a flag (2021), or Here we are (2019); and projects in Latin America such as Monumentos Horizontales (2020) and Enterrar las banderas en el mar (2019).
During the last 10 years, Miguel Braceli has brought together universities, institutions, and communities in the development of collective projects in public space, exploring geopolitical and local issues of specific places. As an artist, educator and organizer, Braceli addresses social and political identities from a communal perspective; creating alternative social structures to collectively rebuild the imagery of states, nations, and other forms of governmental territories.
Horizontal Monuments. Miguel Braceli. Espacios Revelados GDL. Mexico, 2020.
Thus, with this new commission, Braceli's work continues to develop his interests in the intersections of art, architecture and social practices in public space, based on the creation of self-organized structures, signified by “symbols of emancipated nature”. Interests that are now addressed in a permanent work whose meaning and scale seek to reflect the identity of Staten Island; establishing dialogues with the landscape of New York City, and icons such as the Statue of Liberty, a symbol that has been associated with welcoming immigrants. That "after more than a hundred years they have planted and put down roots, building a city under an identity as diverse as it is unique," says Braceli.
During this year Miguel Braceli will be working together with the team from the NYC Department of Design and Construction, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Design-Build team of Ikon.5 Architects and Kokolakis Construction, and the community of Tompkinsville in Staten Island. This project has the participation of the artist Risa Puno who received a commission for the development of a piece in the interior spaces of the new building. The work is estimated to be completed by 2025, a sculpture that adds to the prestigious collection of public art that over 40 years the Percent for Art Program has constituted in New York City.