Giant Illuminated Rabbits Take Over Downtown N.Y. in Public Art Installation

A novel public art installation from Australia to bolster retail traffic.

Rabbit with Artist1 Final ResizedFrom the land down under to downtown New York, a group of larger-than-life, illuminated nylon rabbits have ventured halfway around the globe. Easter and April Fools’ Day are a distant memory, and the rabbits aren’t in the Big Apple to celebrate a holiday. Instead, they’re here to draw crowds for a cause. Since their arrival on Sunday coincides with the Tribeca Film Festival and New York’s upcoming presidential primary, the spotlight on these bunnies will be even brighter.

Intrude sign lamppost Final2After appearing in selected Australian and European cities, the cottontails traveled stateside for their “Intrude” tour of North America. In New York they’re on view around Brookfield Place, a luxury retail space at 230 Vesey Street overlooking the Hudson River that reopened a year ago. Arts Brookfield, the cultural arm of real estate company Brookfield, commissioned the work, and PRNewser previewed the scene late last week.

Arts Brookfield started over 25 years ago focusing on residential tenants, explained marketing and communications director Patrick O’Herron. Since then, the redevelopment of downtown Manhattan has drawn more office workers and tourists to the area. The organization often hosts free exhibits, like the annual Canstruction sculptures and contest at the property’s Winter Garden atrium. One of the entries last fall was a likeness of Donald Trump made out of tuna fish cans.

Rabbit Roof Right1 Final ResizedAustralian artist Amanda Parer (pictured in white, above) created the Intrude project, partnering with producer Chris Wango. At the test inflation event, Parer noted that rabbits may seem playful and make an endearing connection with viewers, but her sculptures are meant to convey a serious environmental message. On her home continent they cause natural damage and are seen as intrusive. “Rabbits were first introduced to Australia for sport and game, but they’ve gone into every nook and cranny. We track their adverse impact on the ecosystem,” she said.

Two new rabbits making their debut this spring measure about 2-stories high: one is 39 feet long and the other is 39 feet high. Since the rabbits’ presence is weather-contingent, they’re spread out, with three in the glass atrium and four on the Waterfront Plaza. At night those outside are deflated and placed under branded tarps. But during the day local residents may want to keep close tabs on their gardens and terraces for the next two weeks while they’re on display.

Upcoming stops on the tour include Houston, Denver and Los Angeles. There they’ll be rolling out large white carpets as each rabbit strikes a different pose.