NEW YORK CITY, June 30, 2020 ~ The Public Art Fund’s “Art on the Grid” exhibition puts the work of fifty emerging artists on New York City bus stops and LinkNYC kiosks from June 29 to September 20, 2020.
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When things get tough, New Yorkers get creative. Artists process the ups and downs of life by making art. It’s what we do. The concurrent crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism have focused all New Yorkers on getting through this and reimagining our city, our communities, and our selves.
JCDecaux, the global French outdoor advertising firm; NYC & Company (our official tourism agency); and the Public Art Fund joined forces to use our public spaces for healing instead of making money.
The first round of Art on the Grid features the work of ten artists starting on June 29. A second round on July 27 will unveil forty more artworks.
Art on the Grid is curated by Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Curator Daniel S. Palmer, and Public Art Fund Assistant Curator Katerina Stathopoulou.
As New Yorkers, we tend to hurry through life. But it’s worth stopping to take a look at how artists are processing the challenges we face. Why? Because artists tend to see the future before others do.
Art on the Grid June 29
The first group of ten new artworks unveiled on June 29 are by Firelei Báez, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Rafael Domenech, Chase Hall, Doron Langberg, Sharon Madanes, Emily Mae Smith, Cynthia Talmadge, and Andre D. Wagner.
Firelei Báez is a Dominican New Yorker in the Bronx.
“On rest and resistance, Because we love you (to all those stolen from us)” contemplates the 70,000 Black women and girls currently missing in the United States. She based her painting of two women resting in support of each other, on a photo of Freedom Riders from the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
One of the big lessons of our double crises is that we must be our brother’s and sister’s keeper. Sickness in some becomes sickness in all. Injustice for some becomes injustice for all.
Báez is represented in New York by James Cohan gallery.
Rafael Domenech is a Cuban New Yorker in Manhattan.
“Peripheral poem 68 (countermonument pavilion)” contemplates how the web of human interactions changes a place.
The work uses the words “without community there is no liberation.” Domenech makes a good point. Everything is connected in ways we don’t even see. Our experience of these double crises reminds us that trouble in one area ripples through supply chains into other unexpected areas. The term “supply chains” comes from manufacturing, but also applies to life. Every supply chain includes good government and community participation.
Let me explain supply chains with a personal story. We had an unusual flood in the back alley recently that knocked out the electricity for several days. Looking for the problem, we found that members of the community had thrown garden trash in the alley and the government never cleaned the trash or cleared the drains. The flooding damaged our generator. So failures in government and community reduced our resilience to the next disaster. That’s an example of how problems ripple through supply chains.
The COVID-19 crisis comes from a failure of government leadership (“I’m not responsible”), and a community failure to participate (no masks, etc). The crisis of systemic racism combines the government’s failure to protect and nurture its citizens with the same failure in many communities to protect our fellow citizens from bad government.
Across the Latin world, when governments fail, the people survive by getting together. Domenech is right that without strong communities, we will never be free.
Art on the Grid July 27
The second group of 40 new artworks to be unveiled on July 27 are by Nina Chanel Abney, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Kamrooz Aram, Leilah Babirye, Chloë Bass, María Berrío , Elizabeth Bick, Zach Bruder, Jordan Casteel, Sara Cwynar, Jeremy Dennis, Marley Freeman, Ivan Forde, Chitra Ganesh, Oto Gillen, Baris Gokturk, Lucia Hierro, Esteban Jefferson, Yifan Jiang, Cheyenne Julien, Adam Khalil, Baseera Khan, Andrew Kuo, Sophie Larrimore, Nate Lewis, Joiri Minaya, Willa Nasatir, Jordan Nassar, Madhini Nirmal, Stephen Obisanya, Danielle Orchard, Anna Ostoya, Anna Park, GaHee Park, Jamaal Peterman, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Adrienne Elise Tarver, Salman Toor, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, and Wong Kit Yi.
The Public Art Fund web site includes more information about the artists and a map of the installations.
Thank you for helping us rise.