Park update: The High Line – Moynihan Connector and the High Line’s Coach Passage and Spur at 30th St. & 10th Ave. will be closed on Wednesday, September 20.
Nina Chanel Abney creates paintings, prints, and large-scale mural installations that reflect the frenzied pace of contemporary life. In a single painting, she may merge influences from news and politics, celebrity culture and gossip blogs, social media, art history, and popular television shows, all layered together to express the overabundance of contemporary culture. Layering spray paint and acrylic paint, Abney composes scenes of everyday life with graphic, angular figures posed in narrative scenes against bright, geometric backgrounds. In one of her recent series of works, Abney sets out to realize a rural Black queer utopia, inspired by the time she spent escaping New York City during the pandemic.
For the High Line, Abney realizes NYC LOVE, a new mural that celebrates the feeling of first arriving in New York City. NYC LOVE is a whimsical take on New York City’s classic iconography. When the artist moved to New York in 2005, she would meander through the city streets from Chelsea to Times Square, seduced by the hustle and bustle, bright lights, and the idea of a sleepless city. All of the “touristy” icons that most lifetime and long-time New Yorkers take for granted were gratifying and glossy to Abney, a self-described Midwestern suburbanite. NYC LOVE is representative of Abney’s first years as a student and tourist in New York City—an ode to the feeling of newness and unfamiliarity that breeds excitement and possibility. Featuring the many icons of New York—pizza slices and the Statue of Liberty, plenty of pigeons, and one Big Apple—Abney’s mural rides the subway, floats along the waterfront, and takes in all the city has to offer. NYC LOVE graces the High Line, an icon in itself that welcomes millions of New Yorkers and visitors alike to enjoy the many offerings of the bustling metropolis.
Organized by Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art.
Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982, Chicago, Illinois) lives and works in New York, New York. Abney has presented solo exhibitions at ICA Miami, Florida (2022); The Contemporary Dayton, Ohio (2021); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts (2020); Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida (2019); and Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2018). Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions including Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth., National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (2019), traveling to Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, Washington (2019–2020); California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California (2020); and The Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma (2020–2021); 30 Americans, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2019–2020); and the 12th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2018).
Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen.
Major support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc., and Charina Endowment Fund. Program support is also provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Nina Chanel Abney, NYC LOVE, is made possible, in part, by an in-kind donation from Morgenstern Capital and Canvas Property Group. Additional in-kind support is provided by Overall Murals.
High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne Adams.