Only in NYC can a 6th Avenue building lobby be beautifully interrupted by the pastel madness of giant melting ice-cream cones and lollipops. Only in the capital of the world can you catch the latest artistic offering of a legendary Lower East Side graffiti king inside the same 38th Street edifice that banks call home. Thus it might seem fitting that it took the tireless efforts of a born-and-bred Gotham girl to make the vision of these artistic oases a reality.
She is Cindy Farkas Glanzrock, a true New York character, the personification of Pollock’s controlled chaos—fast, frenetic, colorful, passionate. A commercial real estate executive by trade, Farkas Glanzrock is also the founder and creative director of the Building Art Curatorial Program, which connects artists and spaces, tailored to specific buildings within a select real estate portfolio. Launched earlier this year, BACP is designed to discover, expose and lease (with the option to purchase) art to commercial clients for their lobby spaces.
“Lobbies are often dull and cold, once you move from the chaos of public transportation and the busy streets,” said Farkas Glanzrock. But her spaces are essentially transformed into galleries, replete with glossy, full-color flash cards providing background information on the art and the artist. “My idea was to transport people and offer a pleasant experience before they enter into the elevator and begin their workday…There is a lot of great art out there that is not seen. And a lot of empty lobbies.”
This past spring, BACP curated space at 1001 6th Avenue with “Meltdown” and “Delicious Mess,” the lollipop and ice-cream eye candy confected by pop sculptor Desire Obtain Cherish (DOC). The 23-story high-rise near 37th Street has a larger lobby, which Farkas Glanzrock said is perfect for showcasing DOC’s substantial pieces. “I have gotten a very positive reaction from ownership, management, tenants,” she said.
In addition to the DOC exhibit, Farkas Glanzrock and BACP designed two other lobby galleries in Manhattan. Since March, the vestibule at 29 west 38th Street, a smaller, more intimate setting, has boasted pieces by Angel Ortiz, better known as LA ROC or LA2. Ortiz, who was a close friend and collaborator of iconic street-artist Keith Haring, was a prolific member of the royal family of 1980s downtown New York City artists, working and exhibiting with everyone from Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf to Richard Hambleton and Alexander Calder. “I’m kind of the last of the Mohicans,” Ortiz said as a tenant breezed through the lobby, pausing to tell him his piece “is such a pleasure to see every day.”
And just blocks from Union Square, inside the recently renovated 915 Broadway, tenants, visitors and curious passersby can catch the work of Sen2, the Puerto Rican-born, South Bronx-raised artist who also cut his teeth on spray paint and markers in the 80s and 90s. Relying on his street-art foundation, the married father of four now incorporates elements of pop into his pieces, which have been displayed at the Smithsonian, Boston Center for the Arts and the Rammelsberg Museum in Germany, among other locations. “I’m super-excited, super- happy,” Sen2 said of seeing his art in the lobby. “Never in my life did I expect to see my work in these buildings, in Manhattan.”
Peek into Farkas Glanzrock’s past and it’s easy to see how she arrived at this point as art advocate and matchmaker. Her father, Sanford “Sandy” Glanzrock, is a legend in the menswear industry. Her mother, Francine Glanzrock Farkas Sears, was a retail fashion director, designer and importer. And her stepfather, Alexander Farkas, ran the Alexander’s department store chain. As Farkas Glanzrock noted, all of these influences and personalities “contributed to her business DNA.”
Summers in Westhampton also contributed to Farkas Glanzrock’s affinity for art. “There was always interesting dialog, including with one of my favorite collectors, my grandmother Ruth Farkas (President Richard Nixon’s ambassador to Luxembourg). Her homes were filled with great art, including Renoir, Cassatt, Dalí and de Chirico…she actually knew many of the artists personally.”
Up next for the constantly moving Farkas Glanzrock is expanding BACP, possibly into Brooklyn and a residential building in Coney Island, and curating her blog, Real Art Muse. She believes everything can be traced back to the insatiable inquiring mind she nurtured as a child growing up in the Big Apple—that eternal flame of curiosity indigenous to the natives. “I never really understood the expression ‘Curiosity killed the cat,’” said Farkas Glanzrock, trying to stifle a giggle. “But I figured that he got so curious he decided to cross the road…and a car hit him!”