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Meta and its initiative Meta Open Arts have revealed a series of site-specific commissions by New York-based at the Farley Building in Midtown, due to open as the digital technology company’s home this fall. Existing across the office building’s public lobbies and central atrium, a total of five installations by the artists Baseera Khan, Esteban Cabeza de Baca and Heidi Howard, Liz Collins, Timur Si-Qin, and Matthew Kirk have completed on-site, reflecting both the artists’s singular styles and themes relating to local history, culture, and ecology.
Within the 1914 Beaux-Arts structure (formerly New York’s United States Postal Service headquarters), five floors will be devoted to Meta’s workspace, while the remainder of it stays devoted to public shopping, dining, an active post office, and the Moynihan Train Hall. While some of the works are enjoyed by the thousands of employees working within Meta’s private levels, others are accessible to commuters and patrons of the building’s more public spaces. Conceived in a collaborative effort between Meta Open Arts curators and the artists, each work has two facets: a response to the site in which they were installed and a tribute to the Indigenous communities and natural land that existed on-site long before the building came to be.
“The commissions for the Farley Building are some of our most ambitious to-date, bringing the relentless innovation and energy of New York City into our shared working spaces,” said the Head of Meta Open Arts, Tina Vaz. “The office integrates seamlessly within the rest of the Farley Building, and several of these commissions will be visible to the public, complementing the existing dynamic public art program in the building.”
In Meta’s main lobby, a vibrant installation from the creative duo Esteban Cabeza de Baca and Heidi Howard, Nature Remembers Love, inspires an empathetic connection with nature. It includes two idyllic triptychs painted with the state’s natural terrain and four murals dedicated to the wildlife of the four corners of the United States. Meanwhile, from Baseera Khan, the office’s second-floor central space holds a two-part installation featuring an immersive mural and a monumental sculpture. The sculpture calls on the structure of a Corinthian column and handmade silk rugs from Kashmir to evoke dialogue on systems of power and colonialism, while the mural takes the intricate patterns of the rugs and enlarges them in hand-painted motifs, highlighting how traditional craft can reconnect us to things lost through these harmful structures.
Working in digital art and employing technological mediums like VR, AR, and 3D scanning, Timur Si-Qin’s Sacred Footprint is a two-ton stainless steel and aluminum sculpture based on the Tree of Life, which can be found suspended in the office’s central atrium. Si-Qin’s process included scanning various native tree species and using their form in a digital rendering, which then came to fruition through 3D printing, molding, and painting—for a result that mimics life inside the skylit enclosure.
Viewable by all in the train hall is Liz Collins’s 100-feet-long Every Which Way, featuring the artist’s brightly-hued signature textiles calling on the city’s street signage and roadways to inform a series of zigzag textiles. Installed by way of upholstered wall panels, the Brooklyn-based artist’s installation also offers a narrative on technology and the globalized world. And finally (also accessible to those passing through the Farley Building’s public spaces) comes the largest paintings to date by the Navajo nation artist Matthew Kirk—A Shadow of a Shadow and A Distant Lie. Kirk’s grid-structured installations allude to Navajo rugs, with hundreds of tiny paintings featuring imagery about the building’s purpose as a hub for communication.
“One of our goals whenever we work with artists on commissions is to give them the space and support to explore new ideas, techniques, or tools that can expand their practices,” said Matthew Israel, Commissions Lead at Meta Open Arts. “Each of the artists commissioned at Farley took inspiring and bold new approaches to their works, most of them creating their largest and most complex projects to-date. We hope that the ambition, creativity, and thinking within these works will inspire and inform all of the activities taking place in this new building, as Meta creates the future of technology.”