Page 1


900 GRAND CONCOURSE


SOUTH BRONX


Intersecting Imaginaries

considers mapping as a method for understanding place, time, and identity. Including borrowed and commissioned works by Bronx-based and tri-state area artists, this site-responsive exhibition and related public programming explore a complex vision of the South Bronx, while drawing parallels with cities around the world. The title of the exhibition draws from the philosophical concept of the social imaginary, which considers community to be composed of human interaction and perceived connection. Intersecting Imaginaries melds this abstract understanding with an acknowledgement of external circumstance, presenting a constellation of works that speak to memory and lived experience as composite parts of a map, and as the binding fibers of community.  Facing the Bronx Supreme Courthouse, and mere blocks from Yankee Stadium, the storefront sits in a highly frequented intersection of the South Bronx. These landmarks, each controversial in their own right, arouse singular stories within a diverse borough that inform the cultural and sociopolitical discussion at the heart of the exhibition. The site has served many functions: it was once a ballroom as part of the Concourse Plaza Hotel, a diner, a thrift store, and now stands empty, sharing walls with housing provided by the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizen Council. Remnants of its former lives are evident in the raw space, serving as inspiration and context for works that navigate body politics, racial identity, communities in flux, and the natural environment as both separate and intersecting realities.

Photo: Tom Powel Imaging Left to right: Bronx Photo League, Anne Percoco and Ellie Irons, Manuela Viera-Gallo, So Yoon Lym.


Intersecting Imaginaries es una exhibición de arte que considera métodos de mapeo para contemplar temas relacionados con el lugar, el tiempo y la identidad. Al incluir obras prestadas y encargadas de artistas del área tri-estatal y del condado del Bronx, la exposición y programación pública explora una visión compleja del South Bronx de una manera que responde al sitio en particular, encontrando paralelismos con ciudades mundiales.

El título de la exposición se basa en el concepto filosófico del imaginario social, en lo cual se considera la comunidad como resultado de la interacción humana y la conexión percibida. Intersecting Imaginaries combina este entendimiento abstracto con una mirada hacía las circunstancias externas. Presenta una constelación de obras que consideran a la memoria y a la experiencia vivida como partes integrales de un mapeo social, y como tal, representan las fibras que unen a una comunidad. Frente al edificio principal del Tribunal Supremo del Bronx, y a sólo unas cuadras del estadio de los Yankees, la fachada del edificio se encuentra en un cruce altamente frecuentado en el South Bronx. Estos puntos de referencia, cada uno representando una polémica en su propio derecho, hablan de historias singulares dentro de un distrito sumamente diverso, e informan el debate cultural y sociopolítico esencial en la exposición. El sitio ha gozado de varias funciones: en alguna época fue un salón de baile del Concourse Plaza Hotel, un restaurante, una tienda de segunda mano, y ahora se encuentra vacío, compartiendo paredes con una vivienda provisto por el Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council. Los restos de sus vidas pasadas son evidentes en el espacio de exposición, y sirven de inspiración y contexto para las obras, las cuales navegan temas relacionados a la política del cuerpo, la identidad racial, las comunidades en proceso de cambio, y el entorno natural; estos temas son realidades independientes y conectadas.

Photo: Tom Powel Imaging Left to right: So Yoon Lym, coversation wall, Amy Pryor.


Curators Natasha Bunzl Dalaeja Foreman Paola Gallio Mary Kay Judy Eva Mayhabal Davis Lindsey O’Connor Walter Puryear Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle


Artists Elia Alba Arthur Avilés and Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Bronx Photo League Linda Cunningham Josué Guarionex Giorgio Guidi Ariel Jackson So Yoon Lym Laura Napier Anne Percoco and Ellie Irons Amy Pryor David Shrobe Manuela Viera-Gallo


PUBLIC PROGRAMS Connecting to and learning from the community November 19, 2015 Preview for Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council Opening Reception: Intersecting Imaginaries November 21, 2015 #NLEMeet: A social media event with artist Elia Alba December 02, 2015 Come Mรกs Bronx Cuisine with Randal Wilcox The Bronx Trolley: First Wednesday Arts & Culture Tour Stop December 04, 2015 Artist talk with Ariel Jackson, Amy Pryor and Bronx Photo League December 10, 2015 Panel Discussion: How Can We Unite to Preserve Our Communities? December 12, 2015 #NLEMeet: A social media networking event Closing Reception


THE CONVERSATION...

As guests in this neighborhood, we support community efforts to preserve the histories and cultural identities of the South Bronx. We hope that this space serves as a platform for engaging conversation for those who enter.


Photo: Tom Powel Imaging Left to right: David Shrobe, JosuĂŠ Guarionex, Bronx Photo League, Manuela Viera-Gallo.


1

3

2

5

4


6

7 8

9

10


11

13

12

14


15

16

17


18

19


CHECKLIST 1. Arthur Avilés and Nicolás Dumit Estévez A Gentle Act of Men in Hunts Point, 2015 Part of Performing the Bronx Duration: 22 minutes Courtesy of the artists Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 2. David Shrobe Tight Rope, 2015 Oil, ink, metal, wood, tile, paper, mixed media 73 x 65 inches Courtesy of the artist Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 3. Josué Guarionex Coffee Break, 2014 From the series The Pursuit of Power Wooden gun and bullets, coffee machine 10 x 12 x 5 inches Courtesy of the artist Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 4. Laura Napier project for a street corner (Yankees), 2011 Video Duration: 29 seconds Courtesy of the artist Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty


5. Bronx Photo League Jerome Avenue Workers Project, 2015 15 photographs Photographs silver gelatin prints 24 x 20 x 1.5 inches each Courtesy of The Bronx Photo League Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 6. Giacomo Francia Jerome Avenue Workers, 2015 Video Duration: 25 minutes Courtesy of The Bronx Photo League Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 7. & 9. Manuela Viera-Gallo Morir Matando, 2013 Part of the series Domestic Violence Cotton rope, broken ceramic plates and glasses Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 8. & 10 Anne Percoco and Ellie Irons Next Epoch Seed Library, 2015 Seeds from spontaneous plants, collected from Bronx & elsewhere; wood; paper seed packets; pamphlets Dimensions variable A commissioned work for NLE Lab Photo: Eva Mayhabal Davis Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty


11. & 12. Ariel Jackson Home AKA Media Lab, 2015 Video installation, sculpture, collage Including video works: What Are the Blues?, 2015 Duration: 1:04 minutes Blue Notes: Feelings 01, 2015 Duration: 0:15 loop The Origin of the Blues, 2015 Duration: 4:17 minutes B.A.M. aka By Any Means Inc., 2015 Duration: 4:15 minutes The Confuserella Show (AKA I Need A Shrink), 2012 Duration: 5:14 minutes Installation dimensions variable A commissioned work for NLE Lab Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 13. Giorgio Guidi #2, 2015 #1, 2015 #3, 2015 All works mixed media on paper 20 x 30 inches each At the Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse: The Forum, 2015 Wood, oriented strand board, paper All works commissioned for NLE Lab Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 14. So Yoon Lym Left to right: Anthony, 2010 Angel III, 2011 Jhonathan, 2010 All works acrylic on paper 30 x 20 inches each Courtesy of the artist Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty


15. & 16. Elia Alba Larry Levan Live!, 2006 Video: Masque (Larry Levan Live!) Duration: 22 minutes Photographs: Larry Levan (Dominicano) Larry Levan (Blow) Larry Levan (Snake) Larry Levan (Two Larrys) All photographs RC photographic print All masks photocopy transfers on muslin, fabric, thread, acrylic Courtesy of the artist Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 17. & 18. Linda Cunningham Surviving Then and Now: South Bronx Sagas, 2015 Found construction elements, collage, dry wall, canvas, photo transfers, pastel, acrylic, mixed media Installation dimensions variable A commissioned work for NLE Lab Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty 19. Amy Pryor Sky above 40°45’6”N 73°59’39”W, 2015 Laser print Installation dimensions variable A commissioned work for NLE Lab Photo: Whitney Browne Courtesy of No Longer Empty


Image credits: NLE Lab Fall 2016


Curatorial Lab Fall 2016 Dalaeja Foreman is a curator, community organizer, first generation Caribbean-American and Brooklyn native. Her curatorial practice seeks to combat misconceptions of oppressed people and resistance through direct action, cultural esteem and the arts. Dalaeja graduated from the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY. Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle graduated from Columbia University, where she studied English and Art History. She is most interested in research-based work that honors histories and thinks critically about contemporary society. Emilia approaches the arts as a vehicle for community building, and views it as an essential tool for education and change. Eva Mayhabal Davis is a curator, educator, and producer dedicated to creating multifaceted, bilingual, and inclusive experiences in art spaces. Davis has worked through art education at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Henry Art Gallery as well as in curatorial at the Bronx Museum of Arts. Lindsey O’Connor Lindsey O’Connor’s research focuses on identity and community in public art, social practice, and visual culture. She has held positions at the American Federation of Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Biennial of the Americas, Denver Art Museum, and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.


Mary Kay Judy is an Architectural Conservator and cultural heritage consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. Her diverse practice focuses on both the documentation of architectural history and technical conservation treatments for longterm, sustainable preservation. www.marykayjudy.com Natasha Bunzl Natasha Bunzl has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Italian from Cornell University. She is interested in how education can broaden access to Art and Literature, and how together they can amplify voices that are not often heard.

Paola Gallio is an independent curator from Italy. Her work’s focus is the rearrangment of the art scene post-2008 economic crisis and the interaction between the institutional art system and the independent art scene. She was the Director of Neon>FDV Space, coordinator of “Short Show”, she curator of “Spacioux” at the Lambretto art project, Milan, “De©obstruction” Micamoca, Berlin Biennale, for Mariano Pichler collection and “Grand Tour Low Cost”, an art space sharing projects between Milan and Brooklyn. She works and lives in Brooklyn. Walter Puryear is a producer, and since 2012 has served as Director of The Andrew Freeman Home (AFH), a cultural center in the South Bronx. His current play, The Fall of the Kings, suits the AFH mission of bringing artists to the Bronx to create art that impacts the community.


Notes On Exhibitions, Curating, Art‌ Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle an exhibition is: a forum a classroom a mirror a window a corporeal site a reactive space a work of art It is physically impermanent and its meanings are malleable (site-responsive). It references history and the present, sociopolitical and cultural happenings, and reflects our communities. It responds to sight and to touch. It presents connectivity and dissonance, and thrives on discussion. It holds truths and subjectivities, and accrues both throughout its run. a curator is: a teacher a student a storyteller a listener a writer a thinker an artist She culls a diversity of artists and works of art. She unites creative forms under a relevant theme, and fosters conversation amongst them. She sees poetic value and formidable power in art, architecture, nature, and people; she links them across time and space. She learns from visitors – her essential collaborators who enter the exhibition with novel eyes, and imbue the space with knowledge and stories. She embraces the relative ephemerality of her work and welcomes a multiplicity of interpretations.


Lindsey O’Connor Working in the South Bronx is both challenging and rewarding. How do you respectfully take up temporary residence in a neighborhood where you weren’t invited? How do you perform field research in an unfamiliar context without seeming opportunistic? How do you engage disparate communities in a dialogue without making assumptions or speaking on their behalf? In the end, what are your motives? Whether we navigated these problematics successfully is perhaps not for us to decide. The South Bronx is at a precarious moment, as the ethos of Manhattan permeates the outer boroughs and dissolves the fibers of particularized place. The results of this shifting topography may be visible in months, or years, or decades; but what is certain is that the Bronx—as well as cities around the world in similarly unpredictable situations—is primed for change, either positive or negative. While it was our goal to crystalize the contentious and complicated nature of the current moment, as relative outsiders, it would be presumptuous for us to definitively assert the results of our exhibition. Instead, it’s our job to listen.


Pensamientos en proceso... Intersecting Imaginaries... Eva Mayhabal Davis Navegue idioma. Navegue carreteras, navegue charlas de oficina, navegue llamadas telefónicas, pagar las cuentas, hacer los impuestos, las visitas al médico. Al navegar y aprender fue por medio de la traducción y el aprender. Constantemente viajar y pasar es el constante del inmigrante. El momento a través del lenguaje, miradas, palabras, pensamientos. El poder de las imágenes, aquí la imagen es vital. ¿A dónde voy, ¿qué digo, ¿qué puedo hacer yo aprendo a leer .... Esa señal. Esa imagen, no tan lejana a la de nuestros antepasados que navegaron con las estrellas, que navegaban por la tierra. Las constelaciones, carreteras y señales...Nuestros ojos nos llevaron aquí - ese mapa del tren numero cuatro, el camino hacia el centro, el verde, y las líneas de personas. Todos estamos en un estado constante de la navegación con una existencia, algunos más que otros, algunos resisten, algunos alentadores, otros en resistencia a resistir y otros alentando la resistencia. Nos cambiamos, para navegar mejor, creamos nuevas herramientas, y creamos nuestras propias señales visuales, y por lo tanto la creación de un nuevo espacio para navegar y navegar entre fronteras.


Mary Kay Judy It was a privilege for our “Intersecting Imaginaries” exhibition to be held in the former Concourse Plaza Hotel at 900 Grand Concourse. We only began to reveal its storied past, and barely scratched the surface in understanding its full historic and social significance, which is still evolving today. In its early history, even after the completion of the Grand Concourse in 1909, the South Bronx remained predominantly rural, undeveloped and marked by its dramatic topography. On the naturally high promontory that became 900 Grand Concourse two small wooden houses remained on the site until 1921 that would soon be replaced by the “Bronx Boosters” with a grand, ambitious 10-story hotel. The hotel was built to coincide to with the construction of Yankees stadium a few blocks away, also completed in 1923. For decades after its completion it was the centerpiece of the Bronx, playing a integral role in the borough’s diverse social, civic and political life. By the 1970’s, the hotel’s luxury status had sharply declined and many local Bronx residents who lost their homes to arson and other hardships moved into the hotel. At the same time, in response to infrequent use of the ballroom and other formal spaces for high profile events, a popular disco and music club was created on the ground floor called “The Tunnel.” The success of the club led to neighborhood complaints and opposition until it was closed down by the city authorities. Soon afterwards, the once grand ballroom was gutted and the city began facilitating the conversion of the hotel into senior housing which is remains today. But the former Grand Concourse Plaza still has many stories to tell and secrets to be revealed.

Sources: The New York Times “Concourse Plaza Hotel” archivial articles 1921- 1982 accessed November 2015 Robinson 1885 Bronx County Map Bromley 1921 & 1965 Bronx maps Sanborn Bronx map 2012 New York City Tax Photo collection from1940 and 1980


Dalaeja Foreman Throughout this curatorial lab process, I’ve been awarded the opportunity to further discover and rediscover myself and my zeal for the curators role. While developing our program “Panel Discussion: How can unite to preserve our communities?”, I realized, tangibly what art spaces can do to influence and encourage change. While working on Intersecting Imaginaries, gentrification was at the forefront of my mind, like it always is. Being a Brooklyn native, I’ve experienced first hand the trauma this catastrophe insights. I’ve seen businesses, cultural hubs and bits and pieces of identity be stripped from under our feet. This exhibition worked to represent this very conversation, the relationship between self/community an self/place are inseparable especially as our communities are one of the very few spaces of comfort, of freedom. During the panel we discussed how the arts have worked for and against these changes, what can can we do to reclaim art spaces as community spaces versus pillars for gentrification? Also, what organization tenants can look to for support as well as changing the mentality of what change looks like by tenants claiming the responsibility of this change. Creating tenat associations, cooperatives, having political education study sessions and fostering revolutionary community spaces. We also discussed the discomfort of people that unintentionally benefit from gentrification. We exposed how being an ally is impossible without compromising some privilege and truly listening to the oppressed. If we are going to engage in revolutionary thought, we need to also engage in revolutionary action. Which may mean discomfort, discomfort that breeds progress. The question becomes, how do we get people to care deeply about something they were’nt concerned with? And how do we transfer that concern into action? The arts are one of our many devices for change and talk can only get us so far.


Paola Gallio Ho lavorato come curatore indipendente per anni, nel mio spazio, nella mia città, con artisti che conoscevo, i colleghi, nel mondo conoscevo e che avevo studiato. Poi tutto è cambiato, dicevano “La crisi”. Forse sono cresciuta, o ne ho riconosciuti i limiti, ed ho fatto quello che avrei dovuto molto tempo prima: sono partita. Sono diventata un immigrato, con tutti i vantaggi di essere bianca, donna ed europea, con il lusso di poter viaggiare su un mezzo privilegiato invece di camminare il deserto, o di attraversare le acque. Ho preso un aereo, le mie lauree, la mia esperienza, la mia spocchia e l’ho portati con me, ma varcato il confine una volta di troppo, l’immigrazione ha rinchiuso me e tutte le mie sciocchezze in una stanza, terrorizzandomi con assurde domande e ipotesi di reato. Ho immediatamente capito che disfarsi dei pesi in eccesso avrebbe evitato in naufragio, ed ho abbracciato la condizione di “ALIENO” senza passato. Ci sono voluti anni per resettare i preconcetti, le prese di posizione unilaterali e l’idea malsana di qualcosa di dovuto, e gradualmente ho lasciato che i ganci alla mascella ricevuti quotidianamente, si trasformassero in un inizio. Ho imparato di nuovo. Il primo giorno di lavoro nel Bronx, camminando stanca e assonnata verso l’Andrew Freedman home, ho fatto una sosta in un Deli per un caffè. L’uomo dietro al vetro alla cassa, incorniciato in una miriade di lottery tiket d’orati, mi lancia un’occhiata sospettosa chiedendomi: ”….prima volta nel Bronx, vero?” Ho risposto la verità. Ho pensato che fosse per il mio cappello…. Ho preso un caffè in quel Deli per quindici settimane ed ora l’uomo mi riconosce e sembra meno preoccupato. C’e’ un modo comune di preservare ciò che ci caratterizza, cio’ a cui apparteniamo, ma la vita è in una relazione aperta con il mondo, si tratta solo di trovare il modo di godersela. Durante la mostra un visitatore ci ha raccomandato di continuare a organizzare mostre, di far circolare l’arte “…perché il mondo ha bisogno di più arte e non di armi!”. Era il giorno dopo la sparatoria di San Bernardino.


Natasha Bunzl In my 30 hours of gallery sitting at 900 Grand Concourse, I have listened to many fascinating conversations: between visitors to the space, my co-curators, and even the works on display. These conversations have taught me to understand our work in a far more interesting and nuanced way. Only now do I have the words to explain that the maps under discussion in our exhibition are not exalted depictions of the unknown, but rather they are re-examinations of spaces all too familiar- teaching us new ways to navigate places which we already know. The dialogue between the works reveals itself at first quickly, and then more slowly. Immediately, one might see the distortion of celestial wonder at play in both Ariel Jackson’s video installation and Amy Pryor’s commissioned star map. However, only after time, does the complicated relationship between revealing and concealing in the videos of Elia Alba and the artist pair Arthur Avilés and Nicolás Dumit Estévez come through. Though exceedingly different in feel and look, each of these videos celebrates queer existence, bringing underground identity to light. The pieces in this show ask us to reexamine everyday experience, and challenge us to see what objects guide us through space without getting any credit. We see familiar sights from the surrounding Bronx neighborhood in the works of the Bronx Photo League and So Yoon Lym, depicted using time-intensive techniques. BPL documents the workers of Jerome Avenue with Hasselblad cameras, a medium-format camera from the 1940’s that requires keen knowledge of technical film photography. So Yoon paints hair salon “menus” with photographic detail, requiring that the viewer look closely to believe that they are not the work of a camera. It would take another 30 hours for me to recount and explain all the things that I have “heard” in this exhibit. Fortunately, we have had many returning visitors over the duration of the show; I imagine the works have been speaking to them as well. Sunday, December 13th will be a sad day when these works say goodbye to one another, but if you’ll forgive the slightly spiritual nature of this piece, I think they will remain enriched by the dialogue that they enjoyed together.


Special Thanks To: Andrew Freedman Home Bronx Council on the Arts Bronx Museum of the Arts Charlie Crowell Deborah Cullen-Morales Ed GarcĂ­a Conde Jeffrey Walkowiak Jennie K. Lamensdorf Joshua Holloway Kwame Sorrell Larisa Leventon Lindsay Smilow Manon Slome Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council Miguel Luciano Naomi Hersson-Ringskog Patra Jongjitirat Rachel Gugelberger Residency Unlimited Sara Guerrero Shaun Leonardo Sneha Ganguly Friends and Family


DESIGN: Eva Mayhabal Davis Dalaeja Foreman Paola Gallio Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle Cover Image Credits: Lehman College Library (CUNY) Collections New York Times image archives Vintage Grand Concourse Hotel postcards


NLE Curatorial Lab (NLE Lab)

is a professional development program of No Longer Empty for emerging curators interested in gaining practical experience curating a site-responsive exhibition. NLE Lab is designed as a socially conscious platform for experimentation in curating. The 2015 NLE Lab is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the Dedalus Foundation and Puffin Foundation.

NLE Curatorial Lab (Lab NLE) es un programa de desarrollo profesional impartido por No Longer Empty para curadores de arte emergentes interesados en ​​ adquirir experiencia práctica realizando una exposición site-responsive.

El NLE Lab del 2015 cuenta con el apoyo de Dedalus Foundation, Puffin Foundation y con fondos públicos de New York City Department of Cultural Affairs en colaboración con el City Council.


M4

E 167 ST

ANDREW FEEDMAN HOUSE

GRAND CONCOURSE

E 161 ST

MD

B

INTERSECTING IMAGINARIES 900 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY, 10451 (at the Corner of 161st)

From November 19th to December 13th 2015 ELIA ALBA SADIE BARNETTE BRONX DOCUMENTARY CENTER LINDA CUNNINGHAM NICOLAS DUMIT ESTEVEZ AND ARTHUR AVILES ARIEL JACKSON JEROME AVE. WORKERS PROJECT GIORGIO GIUDI

OPENING RECEPTION November 19th 7 pm to 10pm HOURS WED TO FRI 2 TO 8 PM SAT TO SUN 12 TO 6 PM contact email: lab@nolongerempty.org

JOSUE GUARIONEX SO YOON LYM LAURA NAPIER AMY PRYOR ANNE PERCOCO AND ELLY LEONS DAVID SHROBE MANUELA VIERA GALLO

DIRECTIONS Public Transportation Bus: BxM4/Bx2/Bx1/Bx6/Bx13 Subway: DB

NLE Lab: Intersecting Imaginaries  

An exhibition zine produced by the 2015 class of NLE Curatorial Lab.