The sculptures at the Sky View Center in Flushing are not reasons to visit the mall on their own, but nevertheless represent a nice perk of a trip to buy shoes or escape 100-degree temperatures.
The 30 large scale, neon plastic bears by Spanish artist dEmo are scattered throughout the shopping space. These shiny teddies have traveled the globe from the 2010 Venice Biennale to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Cuba and to the Drissien Gallery of Munich, among a long list of locations.
“They look a little like gummy bears,” a spokeswoman for Sky View Center, Erin Lagasse, said
“It’s bright, engaging and brings a smile to everyone’s face,” artist Eladio De Mora, known as dEmo, said.
Sometimes the bears, which stand 2 and a half feet up to 6 and half feet tall, blend in with the colorful signs and storefronts in the mall, but for the most part the bears make their presence known from high above a one-story tall pedestal or neatly standing in a line staring down at shoppers walking in the front doors.
The bears on the ground floor give patrons a more face-to-face experience with the works.
“You experience the art more than if they were in a gallery space,” General Manager Ed Hilla said.
Although not encouraged, many kids like to hug the bears, said the show’s curator, from Flushing’s Crossing Art, Maria Boobis. Lagasse said she remembered as a kid her sister would be bored to tears at art galleries. The dEmo bears, she said, are a way to introduce the little ones to art without having to drag them there.
The bears are the 80,000-square-foot mall’s first art program, which enhances a rotating plethora of seasonal decor displays. The new art and decor programs are an effort to keep the mall fresh, so visitors want to come back to see what new detail might be added, Hilla said.
“Shopping is so much more than just shopping, and as managers we need to be aware of this,” he added.
The mall also will enact a Facebook campaign intertwined with the bear exhibit, which will ask patrons to find how many pink (or small, or green, etcetera) bears there are and submit an answer with the hopes of winning a gift card.
Before moving inside, the bears got some fresh air earlier this month in an exhibition in the outdoor park area at the luxury condominiums attached to Sky View Center.
When: untill Aug. 31, mall hours.
Where: Sky View Center, Flushing
40-24 College Point Blvd.