In February 2010 the Bloomberg administration announced it will make the closure of Broadway in Times Square permanent with renovations scheduled to begin in 2012. During the transition period of the next 18 months the Department of Transportation has selected Molly Dilworth’s design, Cool Water, Hot Island, to replace the current red epoxy adorning the square.
Dilworth, a Brooklyn artist, designed the green public artwork as an abstracted representation of Manhattan’s heat island effect, that extra blanket of warmth that plagues most urban areas. In addition to providing some visual oomph to the blasé square, the installation will serve somewhat like a white roof, reflecting heat instead of absorbing it and thereby making Times Square a little bit cooler of a place to hang out, if not exactly cool. The piece should be installed by mid-July 2010.
“This exciting new design for Times Square marks an important next step in the evolution of one of New York’s most storied streets,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a press release. “This temporary treatment will refresh Times Square and enhance its reputation as a place to see and be seen while we work on the permanent designs for the plazas.”
Dilworth is an appropriate choice for the project as she has a good bit of experience dumping paint on expansive urban sites. Much of her recent work consists of pour paintings on rooftops throughout the city and elsewhere, with the intended audience being satellites, particularly those of Google Earth. Following in the path of conceptual artists, there are rules to be followed, as detailed on Dilworth’s Flickr profile including that the paint must be recycled and available the day of installation and the shapes are not premeditated but determined by the flow of paint on an open roof.