HUDSON SQUARE — Holland Tunnel traffic may reign on Varick Street — but a new piece of art there aims to add leafy beauty to the concrete jungle.
An exhibit by Brooklyn-based artist Maki Kaoru that was recently installed on fences on Varick and Canal streets will remain there for the next year, the Alliance for Downtown New York announced Friday.
The 265-foot-long work, called "half awake, half asleep," is printed on transparent mesh and shows leaves, flowers and rays of light in watery shades of green, gold and red.
Downtown Alliance president Elizabeth H. Berger said in a statement that the work was displayed in order to turn a construction site into a temporary art venue.
"Residents, workers and visitors in Hudson Square can enjoy artwork such as Maki Kaoru’s wonderful new addition to our [art] program, recasting construction sites as canvases for innovative public art and architecture,” she said.
The project is a collaboration between the Downtown Alliance, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Trinity Real Estate and the Hudson Square Connection, according to the statement.
Maki Kaoru, who is originally from Japan, said "half awake, half asleep" is intended to be an experience for viewers.
“I want to make work that allows viewers to ‘see’ not just through their eyes, but to experience ‘seeing’ perceptually — evoking an emotional response to nature," she said.
The fence on which the installation is displayed circles LentSpace, an outdoor area managed by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council that is open to the public from 7 a.m. to dusk.
Jason Pizer, the president of Trinity Real Estate, which owns the land where the art was installed, said he supports the project.
"We are delighted to provide a public showcase in Hudson Square for this creative work and continue our support of the Downtown Alliance's Re:Construction program as this site awaits development," he said.
The exhibition is part of a series of pubnlic art projects at construction sites in lower Manhattan, organized by the Downtown Alliance. The Re:Construction series is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, according to the statement. Since 2007, Re:Construction has installed 26 other pieces, half of which are in place now.
Trinity Real Estate did not immediately respond to a request about its future plans for the corner site.