Public Art

Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s public art program enlivens the East Avenue neighborhood with temporary, site-specific public sculptures and special projects. In partnership with Christ Church and other neighbors, artworks are avasilable to the public, free of charge adjacent to RoCo's 137 East Avenue location on the grounds of Christ Church.

RoCo seeks proposals for site-specific, temporary public art that will enliven the East Avenue neighborhood. Deadline: 5pm (EST) Thursday, February 15, 2018


Double Bench
December 1, 2017 - April 4, 2018
Opening Reception:
December 1, 6-9pm

Double Bench by Matthias Neumann (New York, NY) is part of an ongoing series of sculptural interventions that have been realized over the past 3 years. Installed in public spaces throughout the US, this series called “basics” is made of commonplace construction materials. Each public sculpture is unique and site-specific, yet the overall series of sculptures share a material and formal language.

"The constructive logic is such that regular two by fours are added to create a layered space that is articulated in its parts, and assembled as a whole.  The material is the most basic building material of everyday construction, and the wood will weather over time through exposure to the elements.  While the form of the structure derives its significance through manipulating and arranging the composition of the structural logic, the proportions, materiality, and placement within the site’s context, invite to inhabit the structure.

What interests me, is where the boundaries are, in what we perceive as a sculpture to look at, and a usable object that we inhabit. Basics blurs the line between usable object, that allows active use, and sculptural object, that demands a passive gaze. It allows a multiplicity of readings. This morphing character of the installation also reappears on a formal level.
Walk around the sculpture and note how its appearance changes from a slim dense object to a wide set of frames, that captures its surrounding, allowing for an almost kinetic experience in the perception of the work."

- Matthias Neumann

Neumann's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including venues such as Manifesta 8 (Murcia, Spain), the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Bucharest, Romania), and the former Public Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Some of his projects include a finalist proposal for the World Trade Center Memorial in New York (2003), various built projects in New York City, the temporary exhibition structure for the Spier Biennial for Contemporary Art South African Art (2007), among others. This is the first time that Neumann will show his work in Rochester.

Sponsored by:     Exhibitions at RoCo are funded in part by:
NYSCA The New York State Council on the Arts
The Farash Foundation
The Rochester Area Community Foundation
The Gouvernet Arts Fund
The Foster Charitable Trust
The John & Barbara Lovenheim Charitable Trust
The Samloff Family Fund
Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation
...and Members like you. Thank you!

  Step Around
June 2 - November 5, 2017
Opening Reception: June 2, 6-9pm

Opening First Friday, June 2 and on view through November 5, Rochester Contemporary Art Center will display Step Around (1976). The 18’ tall stainless steel abstract geometric sculpture is presented as the latest installation in RoCo’s new public art program. Also launching on June 2 and permanently on view, The Metropolitan will host Reprogression (1976) as part of a larger public art installation at Main & Clinton in Downtown Rochester. Both sculptures, installed 4 blocks from each other, will be available to the public, 24/7 free of charge.
Step Around and Reprogression were produced by William Sellers as part of a three artwork set intended to be installed together. A permanent installation site for all three large sculptures was never found, however Reprogression was exhibited at Pyramid Art Center (RoCo’s predecessor) then acquired by Sentry Group for the company’s growing art collection. In 2016, Reprogression was generously gifted to Rochester Contemporary Art Center by Richard Brush, former owner of the Sentry Group.

Additionally, Warren Phillips Fine Art will feature Bill Sellers: In Retrospect, a new exhibition of paintings, drawings, and small sculptures from the 1950s to 2015. This show will run June 2 - July 13 at Warren Phillips Fine Art located at 1115 E. Main Street, Rochester, N.Y. Opening reception will take place on First Friday, June 2, 5:30-8:30pm. Warren Phillips Fine Art is open to the public Tuesday - Friday 12-6pm and Saturdays 12-5pm.

William Sellers (Bay City, Michigan 1929) is a highly regarded sculptor in the Rochester area. First trained as an architect, he taught sculpture for several years at the Rochester Institute of Technology and was an assistant professor of Fine Arts at the University of Rochester. In addition to many regional shows, including a one-man show at the Memorial Art Gallery, his work has been included in two Whitney Museum Biennials and in exhibitions at the Stephen Radich Gallery in New York City, The Detroit Institute of Arts, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Colgate University, and Hofstra University. Sellers’ work is represented in numerous collections.
Sponsored by:     Exhibitions at RoCo are funded in part by:
NYSCA The New York State Council on the Arts
The Farash Foundation
The Rochester Area Community Foundation
The Gouvernet Arts Fund
The Foster Charitable Trust
The John & Barbara Lovenheim Charitable Trust
The Samloff Family Fund
Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation
...and Members like you. Thank you!

Sponsored by:  
December 2, 2016 - April 15, 2017
Opening Reception: December 2, 6-9pm

Pulse by Fitzhugh Karol consists of five totemic, undulating forms carved with chainsaw and handtools. The artist intends his pieces to be engaged with, touched, walked through and around. He uses scale, texture and repeating forms to connect visitors to the works. Karol uses tar to achieve the deep black surface. In addition to large sculpture, Karol also crafts jewelry with a number of iconic forms reoccurring across the different media. For the past 4 years Karol has focused on a growing body of large-scale outdoor pieces and unique commissions.
Fitzhugh Karol (b. 1982) was born in New Hampshire and currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Fitzhugh studied at Rhode Island School of Art and Design and Skidmore College. His artwork has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at A+E Gallery and Solomon Contemporary among others. In 2013 Karol was a visiting fellow at the Edward F. Albee Foundation and his public sculptures have recently been exhibited at Socrates Sculpture Park (Long Island City, NY) The LongHouse Reserve, East Hampton NY, The Wassaic Project, and Sculpture Fest (Woodstock, VT).

Leonard   The Tent of Casually Observed Phenologies
One Day Public Art Event: August 19, 12-8pm

Visit James Leonard as he travels the country, making one-day stops to give climate change divinatory readings inside a special, hand-sewn tent. This project invites the general public to consider their own rapidly changing landscapes.

The tent’s exterior looks like a cross between a post-apocalyptic wigwam and a children’s blanket fort. The rainbow interior is made of brightly colored recycled clothing. Detailed tea-colored ink paintings of different plant and animal species—each reportedly affected by climate change are pinned to the outside.
James Leonard is an internationally exhibited artist based in Brooklyn, NY. He recently finished a 2016 artist residency at MASS MoCA. In 2015, he was artist-in-residence at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Climate change readings last approximately 15 minutes each, on a first-come, first-served basis. Presented in partnership with Christ Church Rochester.


Underwritten by:  
  What You Put In
June 1 - September 30, 2016

What You Put In is a large sculptural water feature that investigates water use in relation to the largest system of fresh water in the United States, The Great Lakes. The artist reminds us not to abuse fresh water by bringing these large bodies of water down to a human scale. The piece resembles a series of large sinks. At each major polluting city a faucet pumps water into the lakes. Placing this artwork in a public, outdoor setting the artist encourages neighbors and passers-by to become the stewards of these surrogate lakes and The Great Lakes. 

Kevin Dartt is a recent graduate of Alfred University. He was an Open Studio Fellow with Franconia Sculpture Park in 2013. Recent exhibitions include Mt. Marcy Couch on the grounds of Governor's Island, NYC.

The 2016-17 public art program is dedicated to Sarah Collins and Mary Alice Wolf, two amazing women who were longtime friends of one another and generous supporters of RoCo. Both women recently passed away within weeks of each other. We celebrate their lives and their commitment to contemporary art with this year’s program.

July 15, 2016: Water, Art and The Great Lakes
Water, Art, and The Great Lakes is a panel discussion in conjunction with RoCo’s public art project currently on display, What You Put In. Comprising the panel is the artist, Kevin Dartt, the Executive Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Central & Western NY Chapter, Jim Howe, Alliance for the Great Lakes Watershed Project Coordinator for New York, Nate Drag, Executive Director of the Seneca Park Zoo Society, Pamela Reed Sanchez, and Democrat & Chronicle Reporter, Steve Orr. The discussion covers a range of topics relevant to water protection, including: the most critical issues the organizations face, the role of art and activism in raising awareness, and an overview of Great Lakes issues.

Poolastic   Poolastic
September 18, 2015

New Jersey-based Shua Group transforms 10,000 bottles into a swimming pool for all to enjoy! The resulting image - of kids and adults swimming in a pool of plastic collected in the streets of Rochester - is both festive and haunting, offering the viewer a metaphor of the excesses of consumer society. See for more information about the artists.

The Shua Group is directed by Joshua Bisset and Laura Quattrocchi. The group has presented with the New Dance Alliance, the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore), and at Rutgers University, among others. They have also received grants from multiple institutions, including the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Cubes   Cubes
June 29, 2015

Cubes is a 25 feet wide and 15 feet tall interactive light sculpture made of collapsible cubes, embedded with LED strips. Software allows Cubes to be played, and a human to computer interface gives infinite variations in both color and movement. The large scale piece has a constantly changing appearance. 
Alexander Green is an entrepreneur and light artist currently based in San Francisco and originally from Rochester, NY.


Sun Boxes
September 26 - September 28, 2013

Sound artist Craig Colorusso’s Sun Boxes is comprised of twenty speaker boxes operating independently, each powered by the sun via solar panels. Collectively installed adjacent to Rochester Contemporary Art Center Sept. 26-28 during the Rochester Fringe Festival, Sun Boxes will create a sound field for visitors to walk through and experience. Each visitor will hear and feel the piece, it’s “composition” differently. Sun Boxes uses a commonplace iconic technology, the speaker box, to gently and subtly illustrate how we are all reliant on the sun.

Craig Colorusso has been exploring the intersection of sound, lights, and space through sculpture since 2000. Sun Boxes has appeared at numerous art centers and festivals throughout the US including AMOA-Arthouse (now The Contemporary Austin) and Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville, AR among many others.