A Public Artwork that Reflects the Mood of the Global Financial Market

Ben Whine
Jun 23, 2016 6:49PM

Mika Tajima's project for the Long Island City waterfront, presented by SculptureCenter as part of an intensive program for high school students, provides a public amenity that encourages viewers to contemplate the changing price of gold.

Meridian (Gold), 2016

Meridian (Gold), a temporary public art project by Mika Tajima in Hunter's Point South Park in Long Island City (on view from June 9-Sept.  25, 2016), is an illuminated plume of water vapor whose color shifts between magenta and pale cyan. The color of the vapor corresponds in real-time to the global sentiment for gold, reflected in the price fluctuation of the commodity. Gold is a peculiar material that derives its value from the social perception of its qualities and collective "moods" toward geopolitical and economic events. The framing structure for Meridian (Gold) is a seating zone that references communal rejuvenation spas and here becomes a site to reflect on the fleeting materiality of contemporary life. The project was selected by participants in Public Process, SculptureCenter's intensive program for high school students that uses New York City's rich public art landscape to explore the history and impact of public art and its community influence.

Hunter's Point South Park, Long Island City, Queens.

Hunter's Point South Park is a waterfront park that was until recently an abandoned post-industrial area. Transformed into a space that offers fun and relaxation to locals and visitors alike, the park includes a central green, playground, dog run, bikeway, waterside promenade and ferry stop, basketball court, and a 13,000 square foot pavilion that contains comfort stations, concessions, and an elevated cafe plaza. Click here for directions.

Public Process is an intensive program for high school students that uses New York City's rich public art landscape to explore the history and impact of public art and its community influence. In July 2015, eight high school students participated in a two-week course providing interactions and presentations by seasoned professional curators, architects, local historians, and public art organization representatives, and opportunities to visit public art sites. Three artists were invited to make proposals for a public artwork in Long Island City and presented them to the students in their studios. On the last day of the course, the students made presentations and debated the proposals, ultimately selecting Tajima's project for the commission. 

The project is curated by SculptureCenter Executive Director and Chief Curator, Mary Ceruti.

Tag your photos of Meridian (Gold) @SculptureCenter #MikaTajima #MeridianGold to receive one free admission to SculptureCenter!

Mika Tajima, Meridian (Gold), 2016, installation view in Hunter’s Point South Park, New York. Pressurized water vapor system, networked LED bulbs, real-time gold commodity indexes, custom analysis program, wood, pigment, sculpted resin. 20 x 144 x 144 inches (50.8 x 365.8 x 365.8 cm). Commissioned by SculptureCenter, New York. Courtesy the artist, 11R, New York and Taro Nasu, Tokyo. Photo: Yasunori Matsui


In 2015, Tajima also produced a series of limited edition artworks for SculptureCenter, which are thematically linked to Meridian (Gold) as well as her previous works exploring the aesthetics and communal function of the spa.

Death in the Afternoon, 2015

Mika Tajima's work explores the way that the built environment shapes the body and our activities. She earned a BA from Bryn Mawr College (1997), an MFA from Columbia University (2003), and attended The Fabric Workshop and Museum Apprentice Training Program (2003). Her extensive exhibition history of solo and group shows includes many prominent national and international venues, including 11R, New York, NY; Taro Nasu, Tokyo, Japan; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; The Kitchen, New York, NY; Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; and Bass Museum, Miami, FL; among others. Her collaborative work has been featured at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; South London Gallery, London; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and in the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Tajima has been profiled since 2011 on New York Close Up, an Art21 documentary film series dedicated to emerging artists who live and work in New York City. Tajima is also part of the music-based performance group New Humans.

The Public Process program and Meridian (Gold) are presented with generous support from Charlotte Feng Ford and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ben Whine