Carlo Sampietro. Megalopolis


Street Scraper Figment NYC

Street Scraper Figment NYC


The continuous unveiling of identity is so often constructed by surroundings.

However these surroundings are simultaneously undergoing the same process,

defining and redefining their own spatially determined self, shedding classical brick

and concrete for utopian glass and steel.

New York, with its rapidly evolving population has long since been a canvas for

those seeking to identify the state, offering a multitude of difference to compliment.

This haste of change has cycled New York through and back adolescent curiosity

and mature ambiguity, erasing its constructions as soon as they are erected.

From its attraction of graffiti artists so fantastically glorified in the age defining Beat

Street, to the mobile museum established by MTA Arts & Design, to the tailored 7-

Eleven coffee ads insulting your sup, New York’s most receptive public artworks

reflect the exchange between megalopolis and city dweller, resulting in a unique

documentation of a sweetly strained relationship.


The Street is in the House

The Street is in the House



Carlo Sampietro a native to Italy, living in New York for the past seven years has

taken up the practice of revisiting New York’s former identities to invoke modern

day usefulness. Debuting in 2010 Sampietro’s The Street is in the House project

focuses on revamping objects of the megalopolis, exposing their dual nature by

transforming taxi headers to radios, underground piping to seating and free

newspaper bins into incubators of sorts for entertainment and personal devotions.

A majority of these works emit the same fluorescent lighting consistently following

us throughout the city, now as home décor.




Taxi Radio

Taxi Radio

Cloche sofa Sewer Pipe

Cloche sofa Sewer Pipe


Sampietro’s Taxi Tunnel turns taxi lights to both lamp and radio, recycling

timepieces from the 60’s and onward, extending beyond past and future in their

familiarity amongst city viewers.

The remnants of time that New York holds remains recognizable across generations and cities

as its traits develop but its innate character remains.

The metropolis’ tendency towards sociability gets lost between isolation and over

inclusion, a disparity Sampietro addresses in his works aiming to tie people together

by what already has, the city itself. His installation in conjunction with Figment,

Street Scraper, invites viewers to a round of mini golf, employing everyday street

obstacles as the course’s foundation.


Street Scraper Figment NYC

Street Scraper Figment NYC


Carlo Sampietro’s invitation to the public through objects of the public performs

interactive public art, as it should be, an open and slightly familiar interaction with

space for enlightenment.

Art’s tendency towards focusing on respectability from the

art public without regard to The Public is what has resulted in the censure of Serra’s

“wind breaker,” the white washing of Five Points. However when the two begin to

meld, when public interplay is considered in combination with art practice the artist

allows the space and viewer to reconcile.


Amanda Acosta: What is the most important element of public art?

Carlo Sampietro: This is its delivery as a clear message that can be read by everyone (art expert

and general public) without falling into a banal declaration.

AA: We’ve spoken of these different publics, how has creating public art

allowed you to address either or both? Do you feel pressure to appeal to one

more than the other?

CS: Impressively, art is able to reach a wide variety of audiences — from old to

young, from woman to man, from businessman to student. Art has a very relevant

impact and influence on our daily life and culture.

A good piece of public art should speak by itself, should be very well executed, and

have a strong idea relevant to the society that is being described with a sharp,

different angle. This allows my work to communicate and be reviewed by both


AA: What do you hope people will take away from your interactive works?

CS: ART is a very distinct way of communicating. A sophisticated language, which

can be explicit or complex… It disturbs and challenges your worldview so that you

look at the world differently. I hope that people start to see, from a different angle,

the same daily life we live in.

AA: How much potential do you believe art has to bring a place as large and

often socially disjointed as New York City together?

CS: Art has the power of generating provocative thought and conversation, good

public art has the potential to bring people together. The problem in New York is

that most of these events are reserved to an elite class of artist and people. The cost

to produce these pieces by resident artists closer to the local reality becomes too

expensive. There are a lot of empty areas that can be dedicated to artists within each

different burrow, but the process to get the permits is too slow.

AA: Favorite piece(s) of public art?

CS: My favorite place for public art is Inhotim Center and Botanical Gardens in

Brasil. Each artist not only needs to think about their installation, but to greatly

consider the kind of building that contains it.

My favorite pieces are Matthew Barney’s De Lama Lâmina and The Gates by Christo

and Jeanne Claude.


Carlo Sampietro: The Street is in the House at Ca’ D’oro Gallery, New York, March 1-31st


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by Ruth Green
in Focus on the American East

Wed Development by Digital Art Factory