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Photo by Timothy Schenck

Olafur Eliasson

The collectivity project

May 2015 – October 2015

On the High Line at West 30th Street and 12th Avenue

May 29 – September 30, 2015
(Extended through October 12, 2015)
Daily, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. Eliasson strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. Art, for him, is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Eliasson’s diverse works – in sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installations – have been exhibited widely throughout the world. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects and interventions in civic space, such as his construction of four waterfalls at different sites along the East River in New York City. Presented by Public Art Fund, this public art project introduced a staggering juxtaposition of natural and man-made forces. In 1995, he founded Studio Olafur Eliasson, which today encompasses some seventy-five craftsmen, specialized technicians, architects, archivists, administrators, programmers, art historians, and cooks.

For Panorama, Eliasson presents The collectivity project, an installation of white LEGO® bricks that features an imaginary cityscape conceived and designed by the public. Visitors to the High Line are welcomed to play with the installation, building and rebuilding the structures over time. As the inevitable entropy of the piece begins to soften the hard edges of the designed structures, and mounds of loose pieces gather in the corners between buildings, a beautiful collective creation takes form. Installed in the growing shadow of the real estate development of Hudson Yards, the mutable, human-scale artwork provides a compelling counterpoint to the concrete-and-steel towers that form the project’s backdrop. The collectivity project has previously been installed in public squares in Tirana, Albania (2005), Oslo, Norway (2006), and Copenhagen, Denmark (2008).

Friends of the High Line in collaboration with local non-profit organizations, will offer free weekly public programs and educational activities. These programs will further activate the installation, by inviting the public to interact with the project and learn more about topics of urbanism, architecture, and the growth of our cities. Kids and family programs, teens and adult workshops, and other public programs will animate the installation, generating a democratic public plaza where the community meets, learns, and exchanges ideas.

For the first time, and unique to the context of the High Line, a selection of architectural firms involved in current or ongoing projects in the surrounding neighborhood – BIG–Bjarke Ingles Group, David M. Schwarz Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, James Corner Field Operations, OMA New York, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Selldorf Architects, SHoP, Steven Holl Architects – have been invited to collaborate by building one visionary structure or construction for the opening of the project. In the cooperative spirit of the project, these initial buildings will become part of the collective architecture that the public builds over the four months of the project’s installation.

Organized by Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator.

Photos by Timothy Schenck.

Artist bio

Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967, Denmark) lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France (2014 – 2015); Louisiana Museum of Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (2014 – 2015); Tate Britain, London (2014 – 2015); PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, Russia (2011); Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2010); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2009); and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2009 – 2010). Major public installations include Ice Watch, Copenhagen City Hall Square (2014); Your rainbow panorama, permanent installation, commissioned by ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (2011); The parliament of reality, permanent installation at The Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard), Bard College, New York (2009); and The New York City Waterfalls, Public Art Fund, New York (2008). In 2012, Eliasson launched Little Sun (, a social business that produces clean, affordable, and portable solar-powered lamps – bringing sustainable light to some of the 1.2 billion people worldwide without reliable access to electricity.



“The collectivity project,” part of the group exhibition “Panorama,” is made possible, in part, by a generous donation of LEGO® bricks from the LEGO Group.

“Panorama” is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, with additional support from Vital Projects Fund, Inc. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.