New York Ave Sculpture Project

  • View of New York Avenue showing a tall, totem-like sculpture made of four stacked truck tires, painted and carved
    Betsabeé Romero, Huellas y cicatricez (Traces and scars), 2018; Photo by Mara Kurlandsky, NMWA
  • View of New York Avenue with installed sculptures. The one in the distance is a tall totem made of stacked halves of tires; in the foreground are two carved and painted freestanding tires.
    Betsabeé Romero, Movilidad y tensión (Mobility in suspense) (background) and En cautiverio (In captivity) (foreground), 2018; Photo by Mara Kurlandsky, NMWA
  • View of New York Avenue at night, showing how the tire sculptures are illuminated from within
    Nighttime rendering of New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Betsabeé Romero; Courtesy Betsabeé Romero Art Studio

The New York Avenue Sculpture Project is the only public art space featuring changing installations of contemporary works by women artists in Washington, D.C.

The Sculpture Project illustrates the museum’s long-term commitment to the artistic beautification of New York Avenue, fostering a vibrant new identity for the neighborhood just east of the White House. Established in in 2010, the evolving public art program is a collaboration between the museum, the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID), the DC Office of Planning, and other local agencies.

see previous sculpture projects

On View Now

SEP 28 2018–SEP 20 2020

Betsabeé Romero

The dynamic works of Mexico City-based Betsabeé Romero (b. 1963) form the next chapter in the New York Avenue Sculpture Project. To create her four sculptures developed expressly for this installation, Romero assembled carved and painted tires into totemic structures that speak to themes of human migration and the natural environment. She embraces materials and techniques relating to popular culture. Using a process similar to tattooing, she carves figures and intricate patterns into the sidewalls and treads of tires, and then fills in the motifs with gleaming metallic paint. Romero’s sculptures are the first works featured in the Sculpture Project to incorporate interior lighting, which gives each piece an otherworldly glow.

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Betsabeé Romero is made possible with funding provided by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Public Art Building Communities Program, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, with support provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund. The exhibition is organized by the museum in partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) and with assistance from the Embassy of Mexico’s Cultural Institute.



Previous New York Avenue Sculpture Project Installations

SEP 27 2014–SEP 27 2015

Magdalena Abakanowicz 

This installation included a range of figurative works by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. Her monumentally-scaled sculptures of grouped human figures and birds in flight exemplify issues universal to humankind: the power of nature, the force of destruction and the resiliency of hope. Abakanowicz’s art is often inspired by her experiences and observations during World War II and its repressive postwar climate.


MAR 08 2012–APR 27 2014

Chakaia Booker

Internationally renowned sculptor Chakaia Booker works almost exclusively with recycled tires that are cut, shaped and folded, then woven into dynamic, highly textured sculptures. Her large-scale expressive works fuse ecological concerns with explorations of racial and economic difference, globalization, and gender. The installation comprised four sculptures, including a new work that Booker created specifically for the project.



APR 28–NOV 07 2010 & MAR 26–OCT 30 2011

Niki de Saint Phalle 

Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculptures on view showcased the ancient art form of mosaic in a new, exciting way. Combining dynamic color and form, de Saint Phalle created vibrant, lively figures, which are partly inspired by the famous Barcelona-based architect Antonio Gaudi (1852–1926). Her figures take on a life of their own: their large scale and active lines create motion and vigor.