Engaging Artists Week One

Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2014

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Our 2014 Engaging Artists residents. Bottom, sitting from left to right: Christina Sukhgian Houle, Jamie Grove, Anne Peabody, Flavia Berindoague, Sue jeong Ka, Corinne Cappelletti, Anthony Heinz May. Top, standing from left to right: Anna Adler, Kate Weigel, David Wallace, Fanny Allié, Dato Mio, Travis Fairclough, Julia Ann Frances Rooney, and Emily Miller.

Our Engaging Artists residency program officially kicked off on Thursday, June 12th! We are honored to have fifteen amazingly talented artists who are committed to serving the community and working with the homeless. Each week Engaging Artists will convene at Judson Memorial Church for a series of workshops, activities, and peer to peer collaboration. These meetings will take place Thursday nights beginning at 6:30pm. The first portion of each session (approximately 90 minutes) will consist of speakers who are experts on topics such as art therapy, activism, and homelessness. This portion is free and open to the public. The second half of each session will consist of workshops and discussions for our fifteen artists as well as homeless artists and individuals.

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Michael and Charise, who participated in Residents of New York, our public art exhibition with Andres Serrano, joined us for a discussion with Andres about the project and their experiences living on the streets of New York. It was really amazing to share stories, hopes, and encouragement together. Michael and Charise are exceptional human beings who are full of love and hope for a better tomorrow. They are two of the many people nationwide who have fallen on hard times due to a massive widening gap between the rich and the poor. The cost of life in American cities is getting extremely expensive and many hardworking Americans are receiving paychecks that are well under the amount that they need to live and provide for themselves. It is difficult for couples especially with limited space and resources provided by the city. See our previous feature on Michael and Charise: here. Michael and Charise will be joining us again for our workshops (a list of which you can find here) and will work with our artists in residents on collaborative socially engaged projects.

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After our discussion with Andres Serrano, we all went underground to view Residents of New York. Michael and Charise saw their portraits for the first time at the West 4th Street Subway Station!

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We were also fortunate to have Ravindra in attendance last night. Ravi is a homeless musician and spiritual leader from the Camba Shelter in Brooklyn. Ravi instantly hit it off with our resident artists and we’re thrilled to hear that he will be collaborating on a few projects! Our artists will also get to take part in the homeless organizing efforts that he’s a part of!

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Ravi talks with Jason Maas (Founder and Director of the Artist Volunteer Center).

We are looking forward to our next session of Engaging Artists, when we will have an evening of Art Therapy with Karen Gibbons, and Martha Dorn! We will be doing an experiential activity! Todd Lester (founder of freeDimensional) will lead things off with a brief keynote address on activism, social justice, and leadership!

It all begins this Thursday, 6:30pm at Judson Memorial Church’s Assembly Hall (239 Thompson St, New York, NY)!

Art Walks: Bushwick

Posted on Monday, June 9th, 2014

Thank you to those who joined us over the weekend for our Art Walk in Bushwick, Brooklyn. If you couldn’t make it don’t worry, we have the whole thing covered!

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Our walk began at Justin Berry’s studio. Justin collaborated with More Art in 2009 and worked with students from the Clinton Middle School in Chelsea. He asked students: “what would you want to put in a gallery?” He then created a 3D model of an art gallery and collaborated on a curated exhibition of their artwork.

Currently Justin makes things that exist a little in reality and a little in virtual space or the imagination.

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The series in his studio at the moment is a collection of video game photos, screen-capped landscapes, which are then stitched as layers in Photoshop. These odd landscapes are redolent of Hudson River School or Ansel Adams.  Another series he has consists of Book covers he created. He removed characters, leaving only landscapes so that they were open to viewers’ interpretations. Justin explained that these landscapes are like stereoscopic images in that they show time passing.

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The next stop was Justin’s solo show, Lorem Ipsum, which is up through June 15th at Interstate Projects at 66 Knickerbocker Avenue.

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The 56 Bogart building has become a mecca for emerging galleries over the past few years. It is also home to several non-profit organizations including Momenta Art. We visited Momenta Art, a space dedicated to the promotion and scholarship of emerging artists, and saw Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen’s first US solo exhibition titled Space Fiction & the Archives.

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Photographer Meryl Meisler guided us through the history of the neighborhood. Meryl taught public school in Bushwick in the years that followed the infamous ’77 blackout. The image above is from Bushwick’s past as a brewery town.

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We also visited a historic Opera House…now converted into lofts.

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We concluded our day at Meryl’s solo exhibition A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick at Bizarre (12 Jefferson Street). Meisler’s photographs beautifully juxtapose two completely different but concurrent lifestyles within New York City.

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We hope to see you on our next Art Walks! Full details will be announced soon for our walks in Chinatown/SoHo and Long Island City!

Residents of New York Posters Sighted in the East and West Village

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Last week posters poppud up throughout the East and West Village containing images from Residents of New York. It was interesting to see the juxtaposition of the guerrilla marketing ad-space with Serrano’s portraits of the homeless. Similar to the exhibition at the W. 4th Street Subway Station, these posters are an alternative to the constant barrage of commercial ad space. It’s evident that these images are not selling anything and that there is a message that seeks the viewers attention. If these posters make you stop and think about homelessness, poverty, and elicit feelings on the subject, then they have done their job. While we were looking at the images, a man in a wheelchair named John spoke with us. John (asked not to be photographed) became homeless because of a motorcycle accident. He is also a diabetic and his insurance company wouldn’t cover the costs of his medical bills. John recognized most of the individuals that participated in Residents of New York. John’s story could happen to anyone. Healthcare is a major issue in this country. It is an outrage for someone to lose their home because they cannot receive adequate and affordable care and are neglected by the system that they are reliant on to protect and serve them. The cost of life is higher than ever in New York City, and yet not enough has been done to make life livable for a vast majority of residents.

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A man ponders the meaning of the posters.

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Be sure to view Residents of New York at the W. 4th Street Subway Station, LaGuardia Place (between W. 3rd and Bleecker St.), and on Phone booths around the city!

Residents of New York Opening Reception

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2014

On May 21st we had our public opening for Andres Serrano: Residents of New York at La Guardia Place in the West Village. The weather was perfect and the plaza was filled with great conversation, and of course the stunning images from our collaboration with Andres Serrano. There was a performative element to this event, images were affixed to sign posts and were held throughout the night.

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Residents of New York Phone Booth Campaign

Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014

On Sunday (May 18th) you will be able to see the West 4th Street Subway Station transform into a public arts exhibition called Residents of New York in collaboration between More Art and Andres Serrano. We will have an opening reception for the public at LaGuardia Place (btwn W. 3rd and Bleecker St) on Wednesday, May 21st from 6 to 8 pm.  Our collaboration with Andres Serrano is in full speed! Currently you can see some of the images from Residents of New York, on public phone booths (courtesy of Van Wagner) around Manhattan! If you see one on your daily walk/jog/bike ride around the city feel free to tag it on instagram, twitter, or facebook using the hashtag #ResidentsofNewYork. Below is a list of locations where you can find our Residents of New York phone booths:

Canal St & Broadway
Broadway on Reade St
Chambers St & Westside Hwy
Wall Street / City Hall
Broadway & Walker St
Broadway on Beaver St (off Broad st)
Wall Street / City Hall
Sixth Ave & 21st St
Sixth Ave & 21st St
Broad St & So William St
Sixth Ave & 24th St
Centre St & Worth St
Water St & John St
Third Ave & 19th St
Third Ave & 16th St
Second Ave & 26th St
Second Ave & 27th St
Third Ave & 15th St
Park Ave S & 24th St
Second Ave & 19th St
Fifth Ave & 18th St
Fifth Ave & 17th St
Park Ave S & 20th St
Second Ave on 21st St
Third Ave on 25th St
Tenth Ave & 57th St
Second Ave & 32nd St
Second Ave & 33rd St
Second Ave & 28th St
First Ave on 28th St
First Ave on 39th St
Columbus Ave & 94th St
Columbus Ave & 95th St
Columbus Ave & 94th St
Broadway & 104th St
Broadway & 105th St
Broadway & 105th St
Amsterdam Ave & 101st St
Broadway & 106th St
Columbus Ave on 96th St
Columbus Ave & 96th St
Columbus Ave & 94th St
Broadway & 78th St
Broadway on 80th St
Broadway on 84th St
Broadway on 89th St
Broadway on 67th St
Columbus Ave & 82nd St
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Columbus Ave & 83rd St
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Residents of New York: Charise and Michael

Posted on Thursday, May 8th, 2014

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Left: Andres Serrano, Residents of New York (Charise M. Paschall), 2014; Right: Andres Serrano, Residents of New York (Michael Pilgrim), 2014

Charise and Michael are a homeless couple that has been together for four years. Charise (a.k.a Egypt) is from New Jersey, Michael is from Manhattan.

We stop and talk to them frequently on our daily commute and despite their circumstances, they are incredibly positive and outgoing. They are passionate about art, Charise draws and loves color. They are two of the many people Andres Serrano photographed that we’ve had the pleasure to get to know.

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“It’s important to stay strong. Things can’t stay the same forever. It’s not easy but we’re trying to make the best of everything. It’s harder for a couple than it is for single people out here. Human compassion goes a long way. When we get help from people it blesses them and it blesses us…We are not invisible, this (homelessness) is a real problem in this country right before our eyes…People wonder: ‘how is this happening in America?’ Why is this country more concerned with the problems around the world than the problems that affect us at home?”

See Charise and Michael in Andres Serrano’s Residents of New York opening May 19th at the W. 4th Street Subway Station, LaGuardia Place, and at phone booths and various locations throughout the East and West Village.