Roosevelt Island, in New York’s East River, was once a kind of dumping ground for the city’s unfortunates: in the 19th century, it was home to a penitentiary, a smallpox hospital, and the NYC Lunatic Asylum. Today, though, the island isn’t quite as grim–especially thanks to a new technicolor swimming pool, painted by Minneapolis-based installation artist Hot Tea, which opens this weekend.
Hot Tea (aka Eric Rieger) titled the pool “Asylum,” as a nod to the island’s history and because it’s a technicolor escape from hot, sweaty summer in the city–and also because “the act of creating it pushed my mental and physical endurance so far that I wasn’t sure I could complete the task,” as he tells Brooklyn Street Art. The psychedelic design’s neon rainbow gradients add bursts of color to a cityscape of glass, concrete, and brick.
Hot Tea is best known for his public art installations made from suspended strands of neon yarn. When commissioned by K&CO and Pliskin Architecture to design a whimsical pool, part of an ongoing makeover of Roosevelt Island’s Manhattan Park, he translated his signature gradient technique into paint form.
The pool opens this weekend in Roosevelt Island’s Manhattan Park.
[via Brooklyn Street Art; all photos © Jaime Rojo for Brooklyn Street Art)