By Alex Palmer
The Sky View Center just became a bear market. The largest retail space in Queens added an extensive new bear-themed art exhibit to its shops and restaurants in late June that will offer visitors some colorful visuals to feast their eyes on while they shop and eat.
The exhibit, designed by Spanish pop artist dEmo, consists of 30 neon glass bears of different bright colors, measuring from 2- to 6-feet tall. While it may look like giant Gummi Bears have invaded Flushing, the exhibit is meant to be both fun and enriching. Fittingly titled “The Bears,” the exhibit has traveled throughout the world, perhaps most notably showing at the Venice Biennale in 2010.
“Everyone will enjoy this kind of Pop Art,” said Ed Hilla, general manager of the Sky View Center, 40-24 College Point Blvd. in Flushing. “They are colorful, bright, different, and people can go up and get right next to them. It’s not like a museum where they have to stand 4 feet away and can’t touch anything.”
Exhibited on the center’s B, C and D levels, this is the first art exhibit to be displayed at Sky View, and marks the next step in Hilla’s efforts to create more of an experience for those visiting the center. Recently, Hilla and his team have helped to celebrate a range of holidays by decorating the mall in different ways.
During Chinese New Year they put up some 200 Chinese lanterns of all different sizes. A few months after that, decorative fans were exhibited throughout the space. Sky View currently has a range of colorful pop flowers on display.
According to Hilla, the addition of The Bears, which will be featured through Aug. 31, is a way for a commercial space like Sky View to elevate itself to something more and at the same time it gives the art more exposure than it might otherwise receive.
“We look at Sky View as more than just a mall. It’s a place where the community gathers, and where they come to linger. We have some amazing lounge and seating areas, making it a great place to beat the heat during the summer,” said Hilla. “What better way to share art as well than to bring it to a retail space like Sky View Center?”
DEmo’s other public art pieces share the colorful aesthetic of The Bears. Chickens, cats, and hearts have all been subjects of his other projects. On his website, dEmo says of his work, “My fauna, i.e. my teddy, my cats, my cows and my pigs, come to elicit a call on the necessity of ecological conservation.”
“It’s something we wanted to do not just for the regular customer, but for those that maybe haven’t come here before,” said Hilla. “If it’s successful, I think it’s something we will continue to do.”
IF YOU GO
dEmo’s The Bears
Sky View Center
40-24 College Point Blvd.
Through Aug. 31