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NoLita Exhibit Showcases 'Lobby Art' Outside the Office

By Andrea Swalec | March 30, 2012 12:12pm
A sculpture by Jeremy Holmes is made of wood from ash trees.
A sculpture by Jeremy Holmes is made of wood from ash trees.
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DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec

NOLITA — Upper East Side artist Jay Borbet has shown his bright, square portraits in galleries around the world.

But where he really loves to see his work displayed is in places people don't expect to find good art — like lobbies of office buildings.

A pop-up exhibit that includes paintings by the artist, who works under the name Borbay, is open on Mulberry Street all day Friday and aims to show viewers that large-scale "lobby art" can be surprising and beautiful.

Borbet, whose work has been shown in the city at an M&T Bank and inside TriBeCa office lofts, said offices can be surprising places to encounter quality art. 

"People's general conception of 'lobby art' is that you go into an elevator and get elevator music, and get out into the lobby and find lobby art, which can range from very good to stuff that looks like it was taken from a roadside hotel," he said.

The pop-up exhibition
The pop-up exhibition "Big Lobby Art" tries to show that lobby art can inject beauty into everyday life.
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DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec

"There are no real limitations to where you can show good art," he added.

"Big Lobby Art," which is on display at the Openhouse Gallery at 201 Mulberry St. Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., also includes a swirling, room-sized sculpture that viewers can walk through. 

Ithaca-based sculptor Jeremy Holmes said he likes to show his massive sculpture "Quarter Mile," which is made of wood from ash trees, in places where people don't think they will find art. 

"I like the idea of public art because anyone can just stumble upon it," Holmes, 27, said. "It's unexpected." 

"Big Lobby Art" was curated by the arts collective Streetwater