11. James and Karla Murray’s ‘Moms-and-Pops of the L.E.S.’

Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray

James and Karla Murray’s exhibit Moms-and-Pops of the L.E.S. is part of 10 Uniqlo Park Expressions that are on view across the city. This piece is a pop-up that debuted last month in Seward Park on the Lower East Side. Moms-and-Pops is a life-sized structure that displays four large photographs of mom-and-pop ships that have closed in the Lower East Side, such as Cup & Saucer and Chung’s Candy & Soda Stand.

The installation seeks to highlight the disappearance of small businesses like bodegas, coffee shops, luncheonettes, delis, and newsstands that used to be numerous in the Lower East Side. The artists state that the piece seeks to represent the “small businesses that were common in the Lower East Side and helped bring the community together through people’s daily interactions.”

A combination of metal and wooden materials makes the sculpture weather-proof and capable of lasting the entire year, perhaps a nod to the legacy of these now extinct businesses of the Lower East Side.

James and Karla Murray also have an exhibition that just opened at The Storefront Gallery in the Lower East Side and on Friday, August 3rd, the photographers will be hosting a workshop at an exhibition they curated with multiple artists inside the Jefferson Market Library. You can RSVP for the free event here, which will feature refreshments served including pastries and cookies from Veniero’s Pasticceria, cheese platter from Murray’s Cheese, assorted candies from Economy Candy, Cold brew coffee from Joe Coffee, and chocolates from See’s Candies and beer from Lagunitas.