More Art supporters event November 19, 2013

Posted on Friday, December 6th, 2013

Here are some of the pictures taken at More Art’s supporters event on November 19, 2013. Thank you to everyone who came that day. Our work would not be possible without your continued support.

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A Tribute to Gramsci by Thomas Hirschhorn

Posted on Monday, September 16th, 2013

Thomas Hirschhorn’s Monument to Antonio Gramsci closed on Sunday, September 15, 2013, ending a ten-week stay in the Forest Houses Housing Project in the Bronx.

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The project, produced by DIA Art Foundation, featured a hand-made wooden complex that housed a museum, resource and arts center, radio station and lecture theater, all celebrating the words and mind of the great Italian 20th Century philosopher, who stood up against Fascism and wrote most of his opus from jail (Prison Notebooks).

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We are particularly partial to Gramsci, a man who famously proclaimed that “Every human being is an intellectual” and that even more pertinently to our times wrote, “I live, I am a partisan. That is why I hate the ones that don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent.” Indifference is indeed the plague of our times, and we are all, in a big or small way, culpable.
Part celebration, part workshop, the public art project encouraged interactions at every level. Local residents helped building and will help tearing down the large plywood structure, decorated it with murals, run a café, a child art room, a newspaper and a radio station, and used onsite computers with free wi-fi. Artsy Manhattanites though were the ones seen attending the sometime very intellectual lectures.

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Hirschhorn like to play with the messiness of life, with big ideas in poor packagings, and never is his approach more effective than in a project where real interaction takes place. As Gramsci pointed out in the 1930s, “An idea is not efficacious unless it is expressed in some way artistically.” Art makes concepts approachable, and we we could not agree more.

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Public Art Workshop

Posted on Saturday, June 8th, 2013

We completed our final workshop of the academic year last week at Chelsea LAB School. Ofri Cnaani led the workshops on the history of Chelsea as a integral component to her upcoming public art installation with More Art. Ofri engaged the students in a series of research-based sessions investigating the multiple transformations undertaken by Chelsea’s famed Meatpacking district over the last century. The workshops culminated with the students constructing a two-dimensional map of the area on the classroom floor after which they placed images of historical events and captions in the appropriate locations. The activity granted a dynamic understanding to the historic narrative and provided the students with a comprehensive and cohesive timeline of their neighborhood. After an animated brainstorming session, students came up with a list of ten questions to ask long-time Chelsea residents about their relationship to the neighborhood and the changes they had personally experienced. The answers to these questions will be used as research material for Ofri’s commission, opening in September 2013. More to come!

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Ofri and kids

Exploring Spaces: More Art’s recent collaboration with Ofri Cnaani rediscovers the history of New York’s Meatpacking District

Posted on Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

More Art is excited to be working with internationally acclaimed, multi-media artist Ofri Cnaani for our latest project. As a dimension of the project, Cnaani has been working with a group of talented students from the Chelsea LAB School. Together, they have been re-envisioning the history of the Meatpacking district through a series of interactive, research-driven workshops. The knowledge garnered from these efforts will ultimately lead to a public art installation by Ofri in the fall, commissioned and produced by More Art. To celebrate this effort, here are some extracts from what’s been discovered.

Fort gansevoort

Built in 1808 for defense during the War of 1812, Fort Gansevoort was the first large structure built in what is now known as the Meatpacking district.

west side cowboys

In 1847, rail cars driven by horses are replaced by a street-level engine-driven railroad. 10th Avenue soon became nicknamed “Death Avenue,” due to the resultant pedestrian deaths. The West Side Cowboys—a group of men given the responsibility of riding horses preceding the trains—waved red flags during the day and red lanterns at night to keep pedestrians safe.

nabisco bridge

In the 1890s, eight bakeries combined to become the New York Biscuit Company. This company merged with the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company to become the National Biscuit Company—or, Nabisco (comprised of buildings which now host Chelsea Market and Milk Studios). The first Oreo was produced here in 1912.

rail highline

In 1934, the High Line is built to transport refrigerated carts of meat, dairy, and vegetable products. The rail connects directly to warehouses and factories.

rms carpathia

Survivors of the RMS Titanic were dropped off at Pier 54 on 12th Street by the RMS Carpathia in 1954. The Titanic would have docked at the Chelsea Piers, had it not sank.

old high line

The High Line carries its last load—frozen turkey—in 1980.

A letter from NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn about City Services to Veterans

Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Council Votes to Increase Access to City Services for Veterans

Legislation formalizes and enhances the City’s veteran coordinator program

The Council votes to crack down on operators of gaming cafes and arcades – known as “internet sweepstakes cafes” – that offer cash prizes.

Today, the City Council and I voted to improve the delivery of services available to veterans by formalizing and enhancing the veteran coordinator program at all City agencies.

The Council and I also voted to crack down on operators of certain gaming cafes and arcades – known as “internet sweepstakes cafes” – that offer cash prizes. This practice is illegal under City and State law.

As the intercity bus business has grown exponentially in the past several years and accidents involving these buses are far too common, the Council and I voted on a bill to allow greater access to bus safety information.

Additionally, the Council and I voted to enhance reporting requirements for youth in Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) non-secure and limited secure placement facilities.

Establishing Veteran Liaisons at City Agencies
A 2008 Executive Order requires each agency to designate a coordinator to work with the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs (MOVA) to provide information on the agency’s available services for veterans and its personnel policies that apply to veterans. However, subsequent Administrations are not required to follow Executive Orders, and the informal program has become largely ineffective.

Today, the Council and I voted on a bill (Intro 480-A) to require each City agency to appoint a liaison responsible for connecting veterans to the benefits and services it offers. Appointees would also be required to assist the 7,875 veterans and more than 1,000 reservists employed by the City with personnel matters related to their veteran status. This initiative would ensure that veterans’ needs are addressed regardless of whether they contact MOVA or an agency directly.

This Memorial Day, as we honor those heroes who have fallen in the line of duty, we also have an obligation to honor the heroes who are still with us. We hope this legislation will help to alleviate any burdens veterans have faced in the past when navigating City government and allow them to seamlessly access the services they need and deserve.

Resolution Calling on the New York State Legislature to Enact the NYCHA Real Property Public Review Act
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) recently announced that it intends to lease property for private development in certain locations. These plans were formed without resident or stakeholder input, and NYCHA has been reluctant to meaningfully engage these stakeholders.

The Council and I support the NYCHA Real Property Public Review Act, which would require the agency to comply with the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure before selling or leasing its property. This would ensure that any such plans go through a transparent review process in which residents and community stakeholders have the opportunity to meaningfully impact proposed plans and ultimately shape their own neighborhoods.

State Education Resolutions
The Council and I voted on a Resolution calling on the New York State Department of Education to immediately stop all stand-alone field testing for students.

Each year, the State assigns schools to administer stand-alone field tests to students, of which the sole purpose is for the testing company to try out questions for future tests.

These tests are not designed to measure students’ learning, do not count toward students’ grades and parents and students never see the results.

The Council and I also voted on a Resolution calling upon the State Legislature to pass a bill amending the New York State Education Law to afford houses of worship equal access to school property.

Internet Sweepstakes Cafes and Arcades
The city has recently seen a proliferation of internet sweepstakes cafes, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, which blatantly advertise the chance to win money. While it is currently at the discretion of the DCA Commissioner to revoke licenses of gaming cafes or arcades illegally offering cash rewards, this bill (Intro1035-A) will now require the DCA to revoke the license of any gaming cafe or arcade operator who does so.

Several states have taken steps to stem the spread of internet sweepstakes cafes, most recently Florida and Ohio. New York City already has a licensing structure in place for gaming cafes and arcades, but this much-needed bill will strengthen it by facilitating stricter enforcement by the DCA.

Intercity Bus Bill
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a website that provides information about the safety of intercity bus companies. However, the information is difficult to access. Today, the Council and I voted to require DOT’s website to link to FMCSA’s website.

Specifically, the bill (Intro 591-A) would require a listing of federal passenger carrier safety ratings, a link to an explanation of these ratings and a link to the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System.

ACS Juvenile Facilities Reporting Bill
Last year, Governor Cuomo enacted the “Close to Home” initiative which allows ACS to operate non-secure and limited secure placement facilities for adjudicated juveniles in New York City so that they may be placed in facilities closer to their families and communities. Today, the Council and I voted on a bill (Intro 981-A) to require ACS to report demographic and safety data for youth in the new facilities pursuant to Close to Home.

Additionally, the legislation requires the reporting of two very important metrics. Currently, ACS does not collect data when youth are targeted because of their LGBT status. This bill requires the agency to report such information if it is voluntarily reported by a child. This data will allow ACS to identify any patterns of maltreatment and to explore ways to better serve this at-risk population. The bill would also require ACS to publish data on the number of youth who transfer between facilities. There is little information about transfers between juvenile facilities, and this data could be useful for policymakers to examine in order to improve services for youth under ACS care.

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Art in Japan Workshop

Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

This weekend we held our last saturday workshop of the season. Ten students from the LAB Middle school had the opportunity to discover Japanese arts and culture. In the morning, we visited the Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints exhibition at the Japan Society in Manhattan. Then, students took part of a workshop at the School of VIsual Art led by Japanese Calligraphy master Masako Inkyo who demonstrated basic techniques in Shodo painting. Everybody got to experiment and produced beautiful ink drawings.

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