The 2020 Met Roof Garden Commission by Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour. Photo courtesy of the artist.
September offers a resurgence of new public art installations throughout New York City — quite the contrast to the subdued year it has been so far due to the coronavirus pandemic. New works started to appear in the month of August, as you may have discovered in last month’s public art guide and now the city is buzzing with significant new works. From the delayed Met Roof Garden Commission, which usually opens earlier in the year, to the world’s largest bronze gorilla, to the highly anticipated Women’s Rights Pioneer Monument in Central Park to the return of the Frieze installation, there’s a lot to see. So without further ado, here are the public art installations on display in New York City this September:
1. King Nyani at Hudson Park
The largest bronze gorilla statue in the world has arrived in New York City. Since last week, King Nyani has been on display at Bella Abzug Park in Hudson Yard. The statue is designed to raise awareness about the endangered mountain gorilla species, of which only around 1000 remain worldwide, and to change the perception of gorillas among New Yorkers. Instead of terrorizing New York City atop the Empire State Building, this gorilla will be giving out free hugs to any willing New Yorkers. In fact, its giant hands are designed to hold 2 to 3 people at a time.
King Nyani is a continuation of a series of works by Gillie and Marc, donated to place around the world, which have highlighted endangered species as part of their initiative Love the Last. Their statues of the last three northern white rhinos were on display in Astor Place in 2018 (now only two of the rhinos remain). King Nyani is based on an actual gorilla, the head of a family of mountain gorillas that Gillie and Marc met on a trip to Uganda. It is almost 23 feet long, 8.5 feet high and weighs 4,766 pounds. See more photos here.
2. Met Roof Garden Commission, Lattice Detour
The 2020 Met Roof Garden Commission by Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled several new exhibits, including this year’s Roof Garden Commission by Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour. From a distance, Lattice Detour looks like an abstract sculpture, its material construction not completely obvious. What’s apparent is the disruption it provides to the view so traditionally celebrated and embraced by past exhibitions. But this move is deliberate. According to the Museum, Zamora “intends for us to have this initial response: such is the impact of barriers that thwart access to open, expansive outlooks on the world.” It perforates our view but intrigues us, and its position on the roof, invites visitors to go around it.
The terra cotta bricks, made of Mexican earth, which form the basic unit of Lattice Detour are open to allow for light and air. It is meant to reference “celosia“, “openwork brick structures found in vernacular architecture of the Middle East, Africa, Iberia, and Latin America that provide shade and ventilation,” states the museum. See more photos here.
3. Central Park Women’s Rights Monument
Central Park is perhaps New York’s best-known, albeit unofficial, sculpture park, featuring famous sculptures like The Angel of the Waters in Bethesda Fountain, the Egyptian obelisk Cleopatra’s Needle, King Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland, and Alexander Hamilton. Yet, among Central Park’s 23 statues of historical figures, none honor a woman; among the only women featured in the park are the fictional Alice in Wonderland, Juliet (with Romeo), and Mother Goose, yet not a single historical statue depicts a woman.
Last week, the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument depicting Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony was unveiled on Literary Walk, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. The sculpture depicts the three women gathered around a table for a possible strategy meeting, with Anthony standing in the middle holding a pamphlet that reads “Votes for Women,” Stanton on her left holding a pen, and Truth in the midst of speaking. All three women are not only Women’s Rights pioneers but also New Yorkers. See more photos from the opening ceremony here.
4. Frieze Sculpture Park at Rockefeller Center
R.M.M. (Power Broker Purple)and R.M.M. (Organ, Organ, Organ Red) by Lena Henke. Photo: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer.
Starting today, Rockefeller Center will be transformed into a free public sculpture park for the second iteration of Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center, a large-scale public art installation presented by Frieze New York and Tishman Speyer. There are site-specific works from international artists including Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez, Andy Goldsworthy, Lena Henke, Camille Henrot, and Thaddeus Mosley.
This year’s Frieze Sculpture Park is inspired by the site at Rockefeller Center and the city’s natural materials of earth, rock, and plants, and by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the original date when Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center was scheduled to debut.
5. New Sculpture Paying Homage to Harlem
Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation.
The New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program, Harlem based non-profit, the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and New York-based artist Kenseth Armstead recently unveiled the Boulevard of African Monarchs monument. Located at 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd/St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan, the sculpture features representations of the multiple African kings. The sculpture itself is equally grand, a 10′ x 10′ x 10′ monument made to emulate the style of Tiebele house paintings, a style of artwork made by African women long before the transatlantic slave trade began its cruel existence.
Boulevard of African Monarchs is the first sculpture in Armstead’s Sankofa_series. The works are meant to celebrate Africans and their diaspora and to proclaim that Black Lives Matter with bold, three-dimensional artwork. The work is a monument to Black beauty, and is free for all to view in public.
6. Yoko Ono-Designed Banners at The Met
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In anticipation of its reopening, The Metropolitan Museum of Art unrelieved a timely new work of art on its Fifth Avenue facade. Designed by the iconic Yoko Ono, DREAM TOGETHER offers a powerful message of unity and hope to world. The piece also marks the first time that the facade of The Met – a space traditionally used to display exhibition banners – will now display original artwork itself. Created by the artist in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two banners, measuring 24 x 26 feet, are composed of black letters on a white field, with the word “DREAM” and “Together” both displayed.
Yoko Ono had the following to say of the new piece. “When we dream together, we create a new reality. The world is suffering terribly, but we are together even if it can be hard to see at times, and our only way through this crisis will be together. Each one of us has the power to change the world. Remember love. DREAM TOGETHER.”
7. #IfThenSheCan in Central Park
A preview of the #IfThenSheCan exhibit is on display in central park from August 17 through October 31. The exhibit features 3D printed statues of notable female scientists who have made tremendous contributions to their fields of work. The six women who will be displayed are Kristine Inman (wildlife biologist), Rae Wynn-Grant (ecologist), Dorothy Tovar (microbiologist), Jess Champ (shark researcher), Earyn McGee (herpetologist), Kristen Lear (bat conservationist).
The project represents a collaboration between the Central Park Zoo and the If/Then organization. The Central Park Zoo has recently reopened at a reduced capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and only visitors who have previously reserved tickets online will be able to enter. Even with these extra measures in place, the exhibit is meant to inspire women by celebrating women who are already extremely successful in a wide array of STEM fields. See more photos here.
8. Hudson Yards Unveils New Outdoor Public Art Installation
Photo by Dave Siedler.
Hudson Yards’ popular public art exhibition #HYxOffTheWall is coming to life outdoors with renowned, local artists hard at work. New large-scale murals will be visible outside on the walls of the Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards.
The outdoor art installation is produced by the art agency Muros and features the work of a diverse group of artists, including notable muralist Key Detail and street artist Elle. With the specific location of Hudson Yards in mind, all artwork relate back to the site’s past, present, or future. The original works will occupy more than 5,000 square feat of walls along 11th Ave. and celebrate inclusion and togetherness. The large scale pieces also welcome interaction which will allow visitors to engage directly with the art.
9. Midnight Moment Returns to Times Square
In Your Absence the Skies Are All the Same (2013), Kambui Olumi. Photo courtesy of Project for Empty Space, Newark, NJ.
Times Square Arts has officially announced the return of their signature art exhibition, Midnight Moment. The piece is the world’s largest and longest running digital art show, and is displayed nightly on the electronic billboards of Times Square every night from 11:57pm to midnight. The program’s fall season will give New Yorkers the opportunity to enjoy free, site-specific works by renowned artists, including Mabui Olujimi, Optical Animal, and Zina Saro-Wiwa. September will kick off with Kambui’s In Your Absence the Skies Are All the Same, a kaleidoscopic compilation of over 40 views of the sky from all around the world.
This news comes as New York City reopens, and the once bustling Square begins to see more foot traffic. Where the iconic space once saw thousands of visitors a day, the pedestrian count has fallen to record lows. However, as the city reopens more people are starting to return to the famous intersection, just in time for the return of Midnight Moment.
10. Within Reach at Coolvines Powerhouse
Photo by Laia Cabrera
“Within Reach,” on view at the Jersey City at theuntil September 30th,is an interactive art installation about transformation, reconnecting with the origin, nature and our relationship to it, created by filmmaker Laia Cabrera and visual artist Isabelle Duverger in collaboration with interactive designer Aniol Saurina Masó and composer Nana Simopoulos.
One of the objectives of the video installation, Duverger tells Untapped New York, is for “Within Reach” to be “visible from outside, so at nightfall and all night, it is visible from thestreet… and during th day until 10pm, while still being visible from outside, people can come inside and interact with it.” Conceived as a seamless projection mapping design with full gesture responsive interactivity, “Within Reach” invites audience to actively enter the heart of the piece creating a story that unfolds across a series of immersive interactive scenarios. The installation is a sensory experience thought the elements, from the earth to the skies, from liquid shapes to seeds and visual metaphors, and the principle of change and transformation, where the line is blurred between the physical and the digital world, between the real and the imaginary.
11. A Monumental New Piece at Socrates Sculpture Garden
Jeffery Gibson; ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House; 2020; Courtesy the Artist; Socrates Sculpture Park; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; Kavi Gupta, Chicago; Roberts Projects, Los Angeles; Image by Scott Lynch.
A massive new piece, named Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House, is now on display at Socrates Sculpture Garden in Queens. The vibrantly colored sculpture was created Jeffery Gibson, recipient of the 2019 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.” It is meant to serve as a monument to inclusion and diversity.
Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House draws inspiration from and pays visual homage to Indigenous North American peoples, pre-Columbian Mississippian architecture, and to modern-day queer camp aesthetics. The multi-tiered structure is a reference to the architecture of the ancient city of Cahokia, the largest city of the North American Indigenous Mississippi people. In addition to the sculpture, Gibson and the Socrates Sculpture Garden have curated a series of Indigenous led performances that will take at the park in the coming months.
4. Mother Earth at Rockaway Beach
Kris Perry stands with pieces of Mother Earth outside of his studio. Photo by Daniel McCabe.
On August 12, a new, 35-foot-tall steel sculpture named Mother Earth was unveiled at Rockaway Beach in Queens. The installation is the brainchild of artist Kris Perry. It is a part of NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks, a program that brings both experimental and traditional pieces of artwork to public locations throughout the five boroughs.
The towering statue is made of Corten steel, a material that is meant to evolve and change with the seasons and the site. Mother Earth will be located at the Beach 98th Street entrance to Rockaway beach, two blocks away from the A Train. Rockaway Beach is also serviced by the NYC Ferry.
13. Reverberation at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Photo: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY
Reverberation, a new piece by sculptor Davina Semo is now on display along the waterfront in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The large-scale installation is made up of interactive bells and is meant to evoke public modes of communication that harken back to New York City’s maritime history. Located adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge, the piece explores our relationship to industrial material and the built environment. And yes, park visitors can ring the bells!
The installation is supported by the Public Art Fund and was curated by Daniel S. Palmer. The Public Art Fund uses contributions from individuals, corporations, and private foundations to support works of art throughout the five boroughs, including the artwork at LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B.
14. Floating MAiZE at the Winter Garden
Photo by Ryan Muir, courtesy of Brookfield Place.
A new piece of vinyl artwork named Floating MAiZE is currently on display at the Winter Garden in Brookfield Place. The installation is the latest piece from the innovative artist Jean Shin. Shin is known for transforming cast-off materials into elegant expressions of place and identity. Floating MAiZE fits the bill in this regard by using recycled vinyl to comment on sustainability in everyday practices as well as within the global ecosystems.
Floating MAiZE engages audiences in a conversation about plastic waste, dietary choices, and environmental stewardship. The installation consists of recycled plastic bottles suspended above the grand staircase in the Winter Garden. The material is arranged to look like an elevated cornfield (hence the name Floating MAiZE) and gives viewers the experience of traveling to an artificial landscape. Shin’s piece is part of the River To River 2020: Four Voices festival.
15. Simone Leigh: Brick House on The High Line
Simone Leigh, Brick House, 2019. A High Line Plinth commission. On view June 2019 – September 2020. Photo by Timothy Schenck. Courtesy the High Line
For about two months, Simone Leigh’s Brick House has been admired from afar as it loomed over 10th avenue. This month, visitors can get an up close look at the giant sculpture when the Spur, the newest section of the High Line opened on June 5th. It is the first sculpture to be displayed in the new space, which will host a series of rotating exhibits.
Brick House, a sixteen-foot-tall bronze bust of a black woman. Her head is adorned with an afro and cornrow braids along her hairline. The figure sits atop the Plinth, a new exhibition space at on the plaza of the Spur. Brick House is the first work in the series Anatomy of Architecture by Simone Leigh. The series of sculptures will intermingle architectural forms from West Africa to the American South with the human body. Brick House has been extended until Spring 2021.
16. 74 Wythe Familiar Faces
Photo Courtesy of 74 Wythe.
74 Wythe, a newly opened multi-level event space in Williamsburg, recently unrelieved a large-scale art installation in tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and the inspiring people fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The installation, named #74wythefamilarfaces, is a collage of portraits based on recent photographs and events. The piece wraps around the 15,000-square-foot exterior of the building and can be viewed outside while maintaining a safe social distance.
The installation was conceived and directed by Angela Redai of Artine Advisory in partnership with the illustrator Arianna Margulis. The artwork is one of the multiple ways in which 74 Wythe (which was slated to open this summer) is trying to give back to the Brooklyn community. The event space is donating one percent of all profits to various charities such as Black Lives Matter, the Brooklyn Comunity Foundation, and the Stonewall community foundation, and is offering meeting space free of charge to local groups involved in organizing the Black Lives Matter movement.
17. Blessing of The Boats at Battery Park City
Artist rendering of Muna Malik’s Blessing of The Boats: River To River in Belvedere Plaza, Battery Park City, produced by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and co-presented with the Battery Park City Authority as part of River To River 2020: Four Voices, courtesy of the artist
Blessing of The Boats at Belvedere Plaza in Battery Park City is another piece of the River To River 2020: Four Voices festival. Co-presented with Battery Park City Authority, this event and art installation invites New Yorkers to directly engage with and contribute to the installation. Participants are encouraged to fold a piece of paper into an origami boat and on it, write your answer to the prompt, “We have an opportunity to set sail towards a new future. What society would you build and how do we get there?”
You can see an instructional video online to learn how to fold the boat. Bring your boat to Belvedere Plaza between August 15th and August 18th to add it to the installation created by Muna Malik. Malik’s piece will create a quiet and meaningful place to commit to the rebuilding of a more just, equitable, and sustainable future.
18. Liberty Bell in Rockaway Park
Photo by Neil Rasmus/BFA, courtesy of Art Production Fund.
A new public art project utilizing augmented reality is currently on display at Shirley Chisholm Park in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. The piece, named Liberty Bell, is the work of artist Nancy Baker Cahill. The Rockaway piece is one of six Liberty Bell experiences available throughout the country this summer. Liberty Bell uses its unique technological premise to comment on the tumultuous nature of American history and the nation’s current state of inequality and injustice.
Taking visual inspiration from the historic Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania and its famous crack, Cahill’s piece features richly textured brushstrokes and bell sounds that grow more and more turbulent the longer they are viewed. The visuals and audio are meant to reflect the evolution and transformation of liberty over time and the complex reality of America today. The art is experienced through augmented reality technology viewed using the free 4th Wall app. The piece was commissioned by the Art Production Fund, in partnership with 7G Foundation and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy.
19. “Hope Wanted” Outdoor Exhibition at New York-Historical Society
Last month, The New-York Historical Society opened its doors to visitors with “Hope Wanted,” an outstanding outdoor photo installation, which is capturing the experience of living amid the global deadly pandemic. It is focused on the toughest of times New Yorkers had faced in April, at the peak of the coronavirus.
“Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine”, the first curated exhibition New-York Historical Society presented in the outdoor space, features 50 large format photographs by photojournalist Kay Hickman and several oral histories recorded by political activist, poet and journalist Kevin Powell, who originated the whole project. On April 8 and 9 the two of them visited all five boroughs, and, while risking their own health, captured pictures and talked to people from all walks of life about their experience of the pandemic. See more here.
20. Outdoor Exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York
Courtesy of Museum of the City of New York
On August 1, the Museum of the City of New York will unveil its first outdoor exhibition, New York Responds. The photographic exhibit features images that document the coronavirus pandemic as a singular and monumental event in the city’s history. The powerful images also capture New York’s response to police violence. More than 15,000 images were submitted to the Museum’s open calls for stories and photographs.
Using the hashtags #CovidStoriesNYC and #ActivistNY, New Yorkers made history in real-time. Submissions are reviewed by the museum’s curatorial team on a rolling basis and may be featured on the museum’s social media feed and/or included in the exhibition. New York Responds is the first in a planned series of exhibitions at the museum this year meant to tell the story of 2020 as it unfolds. The public can view New York Responds on the exterior walls and entrances of the Museum of the City of New York.
21. Guerrilla Street Art Plaque for Frontline Workers
Photo by Rich Garr, tour guide for Gotham Sidewalks.
While there are many official tributes to healthcare workers throughout New York City, one of the most endearing was created by the community. Outside of Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, you can now find a faux-plaque designed in the style of the blue and yellow historical markers that dot the city.
The piece is the work of local artist Norm Magnusson and is a tribute to the efforts of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sign reads, “ON THIS SITE STOOD GROCERY WORKERS, NURSES, HOSPITAL STAFF, DOCTORS, MAIL CARRIERS, IMMIGRANT LABORERS, AND OTHER TRUE HEROES OF OUR PANDEMIC LIVES.”
22. Black Lives Matter Murals
Black Lives Matter mural in Lower Manhattan
The Black Lives Matter movement has been driving the national conversation on racial justice and has left its mark throughout New York City. In recent months, eight Black Lives Matter murals have been created throughout New York City, with at least one mural in each of the five boroughs. The latest mural to be painted, with the help of Mayor DeBlasio, is on Jamaica Avenue near 150th Street in Queens.
In Manhattan, three murals can be found, one in lower Manhattan near Foley Square, another in Harlem on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, and the last in Midtown directly in front of Trump Tower. Brooklyn has two murals, one on Joralemon Street and another on Fulton Street. The mural the Bronx is on Morris Avenue and the mural in Staten Island is on Richmond Terrace near the Staten Island Ferry.
23. NYPL Lions and Rockefeller Center Sculptures Get Giant Masks
The two famous lions that stand guard in front of the New York Public Library (named Fortitude and Patience) have joined in the city’s pandemic fighting efforts. Each of the lions has been fitted a large mask to remind passerby on Fifth Avenue to do the same. The lion-sized masks are a staggering three feet wide and two feet tall, making sure to fully cover the mouths and noses of the stone creatures.
The gigantic masks are yet another event in what has been a momentous year for Patience and Fortitude. The two lions were restored last November, celebrated their 109th birthday in May, and were given oversized versions of some of the library’s most popular books to read in February. In other exciting news, the New York Public Library has reopened some of its branches for grab-and-go service. Like the lions outside though, masks will be mandatory.
Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer.
Not to be outdone by the New York Public Library’s famous lions, the statues at Rockefeller Center have also been fitted with masks. Statues like the iconic “Atlas” and his globe, the “Mankind Figures” (Maiden and Youth), and the golden “Prometheus” watching over the ice skating rink are all staying safe and wearing masks. Organized by the real estate investment firm Tishman Speyer as part of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), the initiative is meant to remind New Yorkers to wear their own masks and observe social distancing.
Rockefeller Center has been the site of several initiatives since the pandemic began, including the installation of a giant “New York Tough” logo on the ice rink in April and 30 Rock lighting up in blue for essential workers.
24. Low Life’s: An Upside Down Love Letter at Rockefeller Center
Photo by Dan Bradica, courtesy of Art Production Fund.
The work of Brooklyn-based artist Ryan Flores will be showcased all summer long at Rockefeller Center in a new exhibition entitled Low Life’s: An Upside Down Love Letter. Flores works primarily in the medium of ceramics and uses vibrant colors to attract viewers and play with their expectations. The Low Life’s exhibition will feature three of Flores’ ceramic installations inside of the glass display cases of 45 Rockefeller Center.
Additionally, other examples of Flores’ art will be displayed as large-scale images throughout the Rockefeller Plaza concourse. The exhibition is part of Rockefeller Center’s ongoing Art In Focus series and is produced in partnership with the Art Production Fund.
25. Echo Exhibit in Seaport District
Photo by Ian Douglas.
Scattered throughout the Seaport District and Pier 17, you can now find a series of poems written based on telephone conversations held by individuals in Lower Manhattan during the months June and July. The display of the poems was designed by Shannon Finnegan. The poems, which together are named Echo Exhibit, are meant to serve as lasting evidence of the conversation between strangers during the quarantine, capturing the unique qualities and emotions of the situation.
Echo Exhibit is a part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s (LMCC) summer festival, an event created in the aftermath of 9/11 to help heal and celebrate the area’s resiliency through the power of art. The festival continues to celebrate resiliency this year as the exhibits are all imbued with the context and meaning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
26. Little Manila Mural in Woodside
Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts, Courtesy The Laundromat Project.
In the Woodside neighborhood of Queens (also known as Little Manila), artists Xenia Diente and Jaclyn Reyes are creating a series of community art pieces to celebrate the area’s Filipino Community. The brightly colored mural on the side of Amazing Grace Restaurant and Bakery, at the corner of 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, says “Mabuhay.” This Filipino expression can mean “welcome,” “cheers” or “may you live.”
The two artists are working with Filipino-American residents, local businesses, the Laundromat Project, and other organizations in the neighborhood to create colorful and celebratory murals. Over half of New York City’s Filipino community lives in the borough of Queens. The new mural on Roosevelt Avenue is meant to celebrate the richness of the Filipino experience in Queens and aims to put Little Manila in dialogue with nearby immigrant communities from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
27. Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency and Hope at Flushing Town Hall
Courtesy of Flushing Town Hall
Flushing Town Hall is currently taking the term “public art” very literally with its new Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency and Hope exhibit. Functioning as an ongoing dialogue, the installation is asking anyone to create their own pieces of art to display on the fences outside of the building, so long as it matches the general themes stated in the title. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the larger fight for racial justice, the exhibit aims to have the community reflect on these events together.
The families, professional artists, and amateurs are all invited to create artistic expressions of grief, resiliency, and hope to share in the exhibit. Details about submissions are available on the Flushing Town Hall website.
28. Poster House and Times Square Art PSA
Photograph Courtesy of Maria Baranova
Since April, Poster House and Times Square Arts have partnered on an ongoing series of PSAs displayed throughout 1,800 screens in New York City. Powered by LinkNYC and Times Square Alliance in partnership with For Freedoms and Print Magazine, the city-wide public art project displays messages related to COVID-19 intended to spread New York pride and gratitude for frontline workers.
The messages are featured on 1,774 LinkNYC kiosks and Silvercast billboards like the one above the Lincoln Tunnel. The colorful designs were created by a variety of artists including Milton Glaser, Jessica Hische, Joe Hollier and many more.
29. Stop Telling Women to Smile – Lenox Ave in Harlem
A series of display cases on Lenox Avenue and 125th Street in Harlem contain an exhibition by Brooklyn artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a Black/Iranian visual artist who is the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ Public Artist in Residence. The series, Stop Telling Women to Smile, is a continuation of a movement started by the artist in 2012 that can be found on walls all across the world. Her artist residency here in New York City aims to “present the experiences of anti-black racism and sexual harassment experienced by New Yorkers through public art.”
Stop Telling Women to Smile showcases portraits of women on each display case, with captions on the back that speak directly to street harassment offenders. One of the cases shows actual written responses on postcards Fazlalizadeh placed in locations around the city, with questions like “What assumptions to people make about you because you are black?” and “What do you want to say back to your harassers on the street?” As Fazlalizadeh writes on the website about the project, “Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women worldwide.
This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street – creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe.” The work will be up until at least August 2020. Fazlalizadeh also has another exhibition, Respecting Black Women and Girls in St. Albans, in Queens at the Daniel M. O’Connell Playground.
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