Art Installation in Brooklyn

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

This past Saturday, Toby and I biked over to a new art installation featuring playful benches, fun fountains and a mirror maze. Danish artist Jeppe Hein created the exhibit, Please Touch the Art, which is peppered through Brooklyn Bridge Park. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

We first went to the Mirror Labyrinth. It was a trip to walk through it. Hein, who was there to celebrate the launch, told the crowd that he created the installation to help strangers interact — to strike up a conversation, or even just smile or gesture. Since the art is so playful, he explained, people loosen up and don’t feel as self-conscious. I loved that concept of social connection — and it really worked. Everyone was laughing and acting like a big kid.

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Then we headed to Appearing Rooms, a fountain that creates four “rooms” of shooting water. The walls take turns turning on and off every ten seconds or so, and, if you time it correctly, you can run into the fountain without getting wet. But you never know exactly when it will turn back on, so you might get splashed (or “sprinked,” as Toby would say).

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Everyone was shrieking and laughing as the water rose and fell. The kids, needless to say, were going ape. It was hilarious and nerve-wracking to watch men in pressed suits and women in silk dresses walk into the fountain and try their best not to get wet.

Art Installation in Brooklyn | A Cup of Jo

Finally, we played on the Modified Social Benches, which are scattered around the park. Some look like curvy slides, some have seats facing each other, one is even built around a tree. They’re bright red and look beautiful on the green grass, especially as the sun is setting.

If you’d like to visit, here’s a map (click “explore the exhibition”), and the show will stay up until April 17th, 2016. It’s really fun, I’d definitely recommend it!

P.S. swings, lost love and getting engaged to Prince William.

(Photos by Nicki Sebastian for Public Art Fund, except evening bench photo by KiKu Llama/Instagram and overhead water photo courtesy Jon Spence, Johann König and 303 Gallery, via The New York Times)

  1. This looks like a ton a fun!! Any idea how long this will be going on? We’re heading to NYC in a couple of weeks!

  2. This looks like SO MUCH FUN! Love the little girl in front of the ‘sprinkle’ installation! I’d love to hear all those shrieks of delight :)

  3. bean wagner says...

    where are your jeans from? those are the perfect “broken in” jeans!

  4. It looks so much fun! Nice little break from fast paced city life

  5. joana says...

    i was so happy to see the exhibition is on until april 2016! i’m going to NY this summer (i live in portugal :)) and will definitely add this to my list of things to see and do! :)

  6. Sara says...

    That looks like so much fun!

    I’m from Perth, Western Australia and Jeppe Hein has created a 9 room fountain in the middle of the city, but it is a permanent installation. We have very hot summers and most of the year it’s busy with children running around while parents enjoy a coffee or cool drink at the outdoor seating areas surrounding it. There’s a great buzz to the place and it’s really brought some energy to the area.

    Google “Jeppe Hein perth forrest place” to see.

  7. shafina says...

    so much fun!

    btw loving your new blog design. i was also super thrilled when i saw that my feed reader was showing full articles of your posts a few week ago, but now not anymore? it doesn’t even say in my reader that it’s just showing half of an article.

  8. I love art installations that encourage people to do more than merely stand back as passive observers. One of the most fun ones I ever encountered was by Hellicar & Lewis, featuring a live camera filming people in the room and projecting that image on a large white side wall—only as those people moved, a shower of rainbow-colored confetti in shapes like hearts and starts would follow them! It was SO awesome. I wish there were a ballet dancer there who could jeté across those wood floors of the museum…and I look back and wish I’d had the nerve even to do star jumps. It would’ve looked amazing—like being a live sparkler. :)

  9. Heather says...

    This looks like so much fun! And I love that you got some Toby/Mama solo time. As we approach our due date I often wonder what will become of the attachment I’ve forged with my son. I know that’s just anxiety and that I will still have a special relationship with him even when his sisters join us. I’m still going to have afternoons with him like this. Thanks for sharing!

    Question about biking: How are you biking with Toby these days? My son is on the threshold of being too heavy for his bike seat, but he’s still too little for his own bike – especially on the street. What’s a good interim option?

  10. Ana Martínez says...
    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good call!! love these images.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      toby did! i lucked out and stayed dry :)

  11. May says...

    Wonderful! The experience of community celebrating art in that way warms the heart, and makes Peace feel possible.

  12. Anna says...

    We have something similar with swings in Montreal. The more people swing, the more intricate the melody becomes!!!

    At Quartier des Spectacles, the colourful swings, suspended from white steel box frames, have been custom-designed by a six-person studio called Daily tous les jours. Back by popular demand for a third summer, 21 Balançoires (check out the video at, notes studio principal Mouna Andraos, comes complete with a musical score: The more people swing, the more intricate the melody becomes

  13. I spy my kids in the background of a couple of your photos. So so sad we didn’t get to meet. Aren’t the works just magical?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      no way!! what a small world. would have loved to meet!

  14. Joanna, Beautiful art and pictures!!! I think that doing this in a park is so beneficial and only brings good things to people, idyllic. Beautifully placed pieces in a park is such a good combination. Plus, art portrayed this way, is almost altruistic to me.

    The fact that you could bike to get there makes it even better ! The perks of living in Brooklyn!! Right?


  15. Love this! Definitely going on my must-do list for when we move to Jersey/NYC area in– eek!– two weeks!

  16. Beautiful!! We need more art & fun that is interactive for kids and adults! How fantastic! Luna would be going crazy happy!

  17. Meghan says...

    My 2 year old daughter and I went to see these on Monday. As we were waiting to take the ferry home, she saw everyone else taking turns sitting on the round bench to have their picture taken, so she insisted on taking her own turn! I loved that the pieces are so bright you can’t miss them. I took this picture because I loved how striking the orange was agains her purple outfit.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so adorable!!

  18. Lovely people-y additions, cities need ice breakers!

  19. Christine says...

    I was there on Sunday for Smorgasburg. The maze is gorgeous.

  20. Lisa says...

    Looks like so much fun! Ps love your sandals!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much! they’re only $17 on sale:

  21. Such a wonderful idea. I love the interactive nature; it’s a great way to get kids involved. :]