Nobuho Nagasawa Artwork on Display at New York City Hall and MoMA

Nobuho Nagasawa, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Art, currently has one of her major installations featured at two prominent New York City institutions including New York City Hall, and as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) new series, Architecture Now: New York, New Publics.

Nagasawa’s “Luminescence” was chosen as a featured project to be displayed in an outdoor exhibition at City Hall, as part of a new installation celebrating the 40th anniversary of the City’s “Percent for Art” program recently unveiled by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Design and Construction.

Nobuho Nagasawa.
Nobuho Nagasawa.

On view until Fall 2023, the installation — featured on a construction fence surrounding the steps of City Hall as they undergo renovation — includes images of more than 40 of the permanent public artworks commissioned through “Percent for Art” since the program was established. 

On view through July 29, the Architecture Now: New York, New Publics series exhibition brings together features a wide variety of design proposals ranging from waterfront parks, networks of public pools, and cultural spaces, to local community gardens, subway stations, and virtual monuments for underrepresented populations. Each project reimagines the uses of civic infrastructure, sharing of private resources, and the potential for new technologies to create virtual spaces for political engagement. Models, sketches, drawings, and photographs are featured alongside full-scale architectural components, prototypes, and an augmented-reality installation. 

Nagasawa’s “Luminescence” was purpose-designed for Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park to fulfill the park’s mission of becoming an international model of urban ecology and a world laboratory for innovative sustainable thinking.The installation consists of seven sculptures that emulate the seven phases of the moon; each moon sculpture is cast in white Portland cement in a six-foot diameter domed mold. 

“I designed and realized an environmental work that responds to the site-specific ecology,” Nagasawa said. “ ‘Luminescence’ relates metaphorically and poetically to the tidal rhythm of the East River, corresponding with nature to create a sensory experience that is eco-friendly.” 

Artwork by Nobuho Nagasawa.

Using NASA topographic survey data collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the surface of each moon depicts a stylized but accurate representation of the moon’s surface of craters, mountains and valleys. At night, each phase is illuminated by a phosphorescent polymer integrated into the moon’s surface. The placement of the moons creates a natural vista where people may observe the water, the sun, the moon and the sense of time passing against the Manhattan skyline.

In 2016, “Luminescence” and the Hunters Point South Waterfront Park project received the Excellence in Design Award by the City of New York, and in 2018, the “Luminescence” installation was selected as The Best Public Art in NYC.

It also received the Best Urban Landscape Masterworks Award in 2019 and was recognized in Women-Designed NYC, a catalog published by the Mayor’s office on the occasion of a ceremony honoring women whose work has shaped the public realm. 

More information on the 40th anniversary of the New York City “Percent for Art” installation can be found at

Architecture Now: New York, New Publics is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation and supporter of programs that look to a more sustainable future. Learn more at the MOMA website

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