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Public Art Project Makes Waves on Fourth Avenue

By Leslie Albrecht | October 24, 2013 8:39am
 A public art project has been installed on Fourth Avenue near Fifth Street.
Public Art Project Makes Waves on Fourth Avenue
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PARK SLOPE — The least attractive street in Park Slope is getting some artistic flair.

Gritty Fourth Avenue, a road known for "depressing" architecture and dangerous traffic, is now the site of a public art project between Third and Fifth streets.

The piece, called "Unparallel Way," consists of yellow aluminum strips undulating in waves on the median. From a distance they look like lane markers that have come to life and decided to roll down the avenue.

The sculpture, which will be on display for 11 months, is part of the Brooklyn Utopias art project, which presents artists' interpretations of an "ideal" city.

"It hopefully will make people rethink the use of Fourth Avenue, maybe making it slow down and be a little calmer and thinking of it more as a potentially mixed used street," said Park Slope painter Katherine Gressel, curator of Brooklyn Utopias.

The Brooklyn Utopias project was started in 2009. The first year focused on urban utopias in general. Subsequent exhibits have addressed sub-themes such as urban agriculture and public parks. This year's theme is transportation.

In an exhibit at the Old Stone House, 19 artists address issues such as public transit fare hikes, "transportation deserts" in isolated neighborhoods, and the need for better transit between the outer boroughs and surrounding suburbs, according to the series website.

Gressel and other judges selected artist Emily Weiskopf for the Fourth Avenue public art project because her work wouldn't get lost on the bustling strip.

"It's in the middle of a really busy thoroughfare on the street," Gressel said. "It's not a great place to stop and contemplate a smaller work. It demands something big and bold."

The new art isn't the only change afoot on Fourth Avenue. The city's Department of Transportation recently completed a host of safety upgrades between Atlantic Avenue and 14th Street. Medians were widened to make them safer for pedestrians and some left turns were eliminated.

The DOT is also working on doing some beautification, and plans to install planters on some medians in the near future, a spokesman said.

A public unveiling of Emily Weiskopf's sculpture "Unparallel Way" is scheduled for Monday Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. on the Fourth Avenue median between Third and Fifth Streets.