Curator Lance Fung to transform Atlantic City into art parks

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Sunday 08 July 2012.

Curator Lance Fung to transform Atlantic City into art parks image

New York-based curator Lance Fung, known for his innovative approach to public art, has been commissioned to present an ambitious five-year program of large-scale collaborative exhibitions in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hired by the newly formed Atlantic City Alliance (ACA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reinvigorating the city’s tourism base, partially through cultural programming. Fung’s mission will be to transform large, underused parcels of land into public art spaces that will be available for the local community and visitors to experience and enjoy year-round.

In keeping with Atlantic City’s reputation for spectacle and its traditional role as “America’s playground,” Fung’s conception is both sweeping in scope and attentive to the needs and character of the community: a series of art parks, one debuting each year for the next five years, that will bring together internationally renowned and emerging artists, designers, and architects to create groundbreaking, interactive living art spaces. The first art park will debut in late 2012 in Atlantic City. The location will be announced at a later date.

These art parks will reimagine previously vacant areas as lively public meeting places and make each a nexus for social interaction. For each new exhibition, Fung will provide a unique theme reflective of Atlantic City’s environment, architecture, and history and will invite the participating artists and designers to develop projects specific to each site. In addition to orchestrating the design and construction of the five large-scale art parks, Fung will curate an ongoing series of smaller wide-ranging exhibitions that will be partnered with additional cultural events produced by the ACA.

As part of the Atlantic City Master Plan, the ACA, in close collaboration with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) and the City of Atlantic City, is making a significant investment in art. This sort of partnership between curatorial vision and civic enrichment provides an innovative model for contemporary art practice, but facilitating this type of collaboration is nothing new for Fung, who has made a career out of discovering creative ways to bring individuals and institutions together. His organization, Fung Collaboratives, takes as its explicit mission the goal of creating art without boundaries, breaking down another word here, division is very adversarial. How about breaking down silos between disciplines and institutions, and relentlessly questioning the distinctions that usually separate the fine-art world from the broader community. Fung’s previous curatorial projects—such as The Snow Show, which paired artists and architects to create collaborative installations from ice and snow, and the SITE Santa Fe 7th International Biennial—illustrate his ability to foster partnerships and collaborative relationships between local and international artists, a diverse group of civic institutions, places, and the public.

“When the public thinks of art, they usually think of the world’s great museums, but moving art into the urban environment and transforming the sky, the ocean, and the historic Boardwalk here in Atlantic City into a blank canvas can be a catalyst to reshape how people think about our city,” said Liza Cartmell, president of the Atlantic City Alliance.

“We know that the greater Atlantic City community will benefit from these distinct, unique public art projects,” said CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri. “Because of their size, scale, and interactivity, and because the projects will be designed to respect and reflect the heritage of our resort community, residents will benefit from the civic pride and improvement we expect as an outcome.”

“I am over the moon to be working in such an exciting and inspiring city such as this. The partnership with Liza and John and their team is amazing; we all have a common goal of bringing leading artists to work here as well as introducing a whole roster of emerging artists,” said Lance Fung.