The Brooklyn Art Exhibit is a handball court you can actually play on

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, BROOKLYN — A new art exhibit coming to Cadman Plaza Park this spring won’t just be for viewing. The north side of the park will soon host a public art installation in the form of a handball court on which visitors can play during the 10-month exhibition.

The new handball court will be created by Brooklyn-based Belgian artist Harold Ancart, who was inspired by the “ubiquitous handball courts” of New York City, according to the Public Art Fund, which will commission the work. It will be presented at the north end of the park from May 1 to March 1, 2020.

“Ancart’s immersive painted sculpture brings new context to this quintessential New York City game, fusing contemporary art and recreational sport to create an engaging and inclusive experience,” the art fund said in a statement.

Ancart has been inspired by handball courts since he first moved to New York in 2007. He noticed the “democratic walls, waiting for murals” while walking around his Brooklyn neighborhood.

There are over 2,000 handball courts throughout the city.

The piece will be titled “Subliminal Standard” refers to the standard set of colors used to paint the playing area of ​​the courts, which Ancart will refer to with his murals on the walls of the court. It will also attempt to emulate the “inadvertent abstract compositions” that are created when city courts are repaired or repainted to hide graffiti and wear.

The courtyard will be Ancart’s first public art commission in the United States.

His works typically blur the lines between sculpture, painting and drawing, the art fund said, and are known for “his characteristic style of irregular gestural marks and graphic bands of color.”

To prepare the final concrete pitch, Ancart created several small painted plywood handball courts. The final 16-foot-tall structure will arrive at the park in April, when Ancart will begin painting on it so the public can experience the piece being created.

“Harold Ancart paints in a very physical and meditative way, almost like an athlete absorbed in his sport,” said Public Art Fund Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer. “There is always a direct force to his work that captivates the viewer in his compelling compositions. By bringing his practice into a public space, we can now physically experience Ancart’s immersive painted environment with equal vigor, as participants actively engage through play.”

Rendering courtesy of The Public Art Fund.