NYC Parks' Pools & Beaches Highlighted in 'Spf16: NYC Pools And Beaches In Contemporary Photography'

The NYC Parks Arsenal Gallery celebrates the 2016 summer season with the exhibition "SPF16: NYC Pools and Beaches in Contemporary Photography." Curated by NYC Parks Deputy Director of Public Art, Jennifer Lantzas, the show features works by 12 artists who document the city's most popular warm weather amenities: its public pools and beaches. The exhibition is on view through August 26, 2016.

Every summer millions of New Yorkers beat the heat by visiting NYC Parks' 55 outdoor pools and 14 miles of beaches. When the temperature rises, people across the city grab their suits and towels, slap on sunscreen, and flock to the water, anticipating relaxation and adventure. These free public facilities are a lifeline for New Yorkers of all backgrounds, serving as local retreats. They embody the culture and energy of the five boroughs in some of the most democratic spaces in the city. SPF16 focuses on the relief-seeking parkgoers who frequent these urban oases.

"Our beaches and outdoor pools are treasured places for summer fun, and the perfect escape from the heat," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. "This new exhibit is a colorful, nostalgic and intimate look at some of these beloved spaces. Parks is proud to display such stunning works by a diverse group of artists who have each captured the wonder and natural beauty of our various bodies of water in unique ways. "SPF16" is the perfect reminder for all city dwellers that there's nothing like a New York City summer."

The exhibition includes photographs spanning three decades, from Christine Osinski's images of 1980s Staten Island youths at South Beach through the 2014 aerial photograph series by Tobias Hutzler. At first glance, Hutzler's large-scale pictures of McCarren Pool and Coney Island are vibrant, abstract mosaics, but closer inspection reveals hundreds of people lounging and swimming in constellation-like patterns. Juliana Beasley, Bruce Davidson, Greg Miller, and Wayne Lawrence share intimate views of park patrons in their portraits. DamIon Berger and Michael Kirby Smith dove into Astoria and Tony Dapolito pools for their aqueous photographs of swimmers. Rona Chang and Bruce Katz capture moments of quiet sunbathing, whereas Thomas Roma and Lauren Welles share scenes of roughhousing and recreation.

The history of NYC pools and beaches bridges the nineteenth-century social reform era, Robert Moses' massive public works projects, and the 2014 reopening of McCarren Pool, the last of the city's 11 WPA complexes. More information on pools and beaches in NYC can be found on the Parks website.

The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks and park history. It is located on the third floor of NYC Parks' Headquarters in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed municipal holidays. Admission is free.

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