After a competitive jury process, we have selected five finalists for the inaugural FABLES Public Art project! FABLES is a public art series produced by FABnyc to explore the Lower East Side’s living cultural heritage, rich historical legacies, and current issues in public storytelling through visual art. The five finalist artist/teams are: Lexi Bella, Tamara Gayer, Theresa Loong & Laura Nova, Levan Mindiashvili, Miguel Trelles & Juan Fernando Morales-Nazario. Semi-finalists also included Paul Brainard, Scott Simon, Greg Spielberg & Rich Tu, and Margaret Inga Wiatrowski.
The first installation will open in April, with subsequent installations through August 2014, and will be a featured program of the inaugural Lower East Side History Month in May 2014. Each exhibition will be on view between one and three months at multiple locations in the neighborhood, including: Ideal Glass (East 2nd St, btw Bowery & 2nd Ave), First Street Green Park (corner of 2nd Ave & Houston St), Centre-Fuge (East 1st St, near 1st Avenue), and City Lore (56 East 1st Street).
Artists of the final projects have lived, worked, or have deep roots to the Lower East Side (LES), and have proposed pieces that draw on the stories and history of the LES and its residents. “The Lower East Side has one of the most diverse and rich cultural histories in New York City,” says Lexi Bella, an artist who will be focusing on notable, yet under recognized women of the LES. “It is my heart, my home, and the birthplace of my daughter. I am so excited to express, educate, and pay homage through my art to the great women who are the past and the future of my favorite part of NYC.”
Theresa Loong and Laura Nova met at the counter of Shopsin’s in the Essex Street Market. A restaurant known for its one of a kind chef and provocative philosophy on food, Theresa and Laura quickly connected on topics of digital media, food, and art. Feed Me a Story is the resulting collaboration, consisting of food stories gathered in part from their work at the LaGuardia Senior Center, shared with the public through visual and audio installations. “We are thrilled to be a part of the FABLES Exhibition. This project will enable us to shine a spotlight on senior citizens and reflect diverse tastes and traditions in the neighborhood.”
By applying sign vinyl directly to glass, artist Tamara Gayer is designing a new stained glass inspired storefront space on the windows of City Lore. The artist explains, “First Street between First and Second Avenue is a beautiful block, exemplary of the diversity and history that are still evident on the Lower East Side. It would be hard to find a more perfect ‘canvas’ than the windows of City Lore.”
Artistic team Miguel Trelles and Juan Fernando Morales-Nazario will bring a lively, Loisaida-centric variant of their exhibit Posters on the Wall, Our Nuyorican Story to actual walls in the neighborhood. According to the artists, the exhibit will revisit the striking and historical Nuyorican poster, “which lavishly illustrates the cosmopolitan sophistication of Puerto Rican artists in New York amalgamating traditional Puerto Rican culture with life and activism in the City.”
Levan Mindiashvili, whose project will investigate gentrification and its effects on architecture and sense of place, describes, “With the mural ‘Ghost’ I want to contribute to a raising awareness in the importance of historical heritage and outline the overwhelming expansion of gentrification and generalization in the contemporary world.”
Updates, progress and further information can be found by contacting FABLES@fabnyc.org or by visiting www.fabnyc.org/fables.php.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts/ Art Works and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in participation with The City Council. FABLES is presented in celebration of LES History month, the inaugural celebration of the rich and diverse history of the LES, taking place during May.