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Art at the Blueline

July 15–July 31
City of Water Day: July 16

A one-time maritime hub. An enduring waterfront destination. The Seaport is proud to be the home of Art at the BlueLine, presented by the Waterfront Alliance with the support of The Howard Hughes Corporation and the South Street Seaport Museum. This free, outdoor art exhibition is a celebration of our waters and an opportunity to learn more about climate change and sea level rise through an artistic lens.

The third annual Art at the BlueLine—the future high tide line—kicks off on City of Water Day on Saturday, July 16 and will run through July 29. This year, three works will take center stage: “You Are Getting Warmer” by Matthew López-Jensen; “River Lab” by Mary Mattingly and contributing artists; and “Tomorrow’s Sea” by Sarah Nelson Wright and Edrex Fontanilla. Collectively, these artworks highlight the risk we all face from sea level rise and coastal storms while celebrating coastal resilience, waterfront access, and environmental justice.

Share on Social: Tag @theseaportnyc, @seaportmuseum and @waterfrontalliance in your photos of the installations on social media for a chance to be shared using the hashtag #SeaportArts.

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Matthew Lopez Jensen sitting in front of a banner that displays a heat map of the waterfront

You Are Getting Warmer by Matthew López-Jensen
Located on Seaport Square, between Piers 16 & 17

“You Are Getting Warmer” utilizes white vinyl sandbags, an icon of storm surge and climate change, as a site for artistic intervention. From a distance, the installation appears to be comprised of long, colorful photograph of the coast. Come closer and approach the work to reveal the structure and learn how and why the image is not just a “colorful” picture, but a representation of the area’s thermal energy. The color you see is the heat signature of the landscape.

Matthew López-Jensen is a Bronx-based interdisciplinary artist whose projects investigate the relationships between people and local landscapes. His work combines walking, collecting, photography, video, mapping, and extensive research. He is a Guggenheim Fellow in photography and his work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art and the Brooklyn Museum, among other institutions.

artists standing next to a virtual viewfinder next to East River

Tomorrow’s Sea: Interactive Virtual Reality Viewer by Edrex Fontanilla and Sarah Nelson Wright
Located on Seaport Square and Pier 16

Tomorrow’s Sea is an interactive media sculpture that transports viewers to five NYC shorelines threatened by climate change and rising sea levels. Come and experience a unique, artist-made, virtual reality viewer that uses the metaphor of a telescope to immerse viewers in remote places. The wooden viewer, designed to evoke maritime history and wooden boats, rotates 360 degrees to reveal panoramic views and soundscapes. For Tomorrow’s Sea, the artists will debut a new 360-degree virtual reality video visiting five endangered shorelines in New York City that may be underwater due to sea level rise by 2100. Fontanilla and Wright hope to inspire a meditation on both the resilience of nature and the urgent need for action on climate change.

Edrex Fontanilla is an experimental filmmaker and new media artist whose creative practice fuses sculptural and computational methods to explore perception, materiality, and temporality. Sarah Nelson Wright is a Brooklyn-based artist and educator who creates media projects about the urban experience that explore the changing city and investigate avenues for intervention. Her work encompasses video, installation, interactive media and public art.

artists standing in front of wood river lab structure

River Lab by Mary Mattingly
Located on Pier 16, in front of the Wavertree
Shaped like a drop of water, Mary Mattingly’s collaborative initiative River Lab is an interactive and “porous” structure that is in visual dialogue with the East River. When walking through, the city’s skyline and the East River can be seen through plants whose relatives once may have existed there like a portal into the Seaport in deep time. The East River is a saltwater tidal estuary in NYC and provides an important natural resource. Contributing artists to River Lab offer tools for multiple ways of accessing the East River, exploring the water through senses: looking at the river on a molecular level through different lenses, drawing workshops, workshops with riparian plant dyes, sound experiences, and seeing foods grown from the cleaned river water. The installation will be activated on the weekends with programming by artists, students, ecologists and docents. During the weekdays, people can access multi-generational narratives and information about the East River’s indigenous and local lives.

Mary Mattingly is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York. She is known for bundling personal objects into large boulders for performances about consumption and for large-scale public artwork like “Swale”—an edible landscape on a barge in New York City.