Last Wednesday, I had a meeting with the fine arts curator at Montefiore Medical Center. Through a mutual friend, the curator learned about my work, liked it, and was interested in meeting me to discuss a potential collaborative project. Hence, my meeting at Montefiore last week.
Montefiore’s Fine Art Program recently launched a rotating exhibition space called the ArtViews Gallery, which will exhibit original work from artists in the New York City area. The gallery is a 60 feet-long heavily used corridor, which I examined during my visit there.
I have a lot of freedom with regard to the exhibit’s theme and the images I would like to include. I’m supposed to submit a proposal by mid-August with the intention of the exhibit opening in January.
Following my recent exhibit at the Poe Park Visitor Center, this would be another great opportunity. Stay tuned!
High Bridge: Rebirth of the Harlem River, a group exhibition in which I was a part, concluded yesterday with an artist panel discussion. Yesterday’s final day coincided with the High Bridge Festival, a public celebration of the recent reopening of the High Bridge.
The turnout was small for our panel discussion yesterday, which was in sharp contrast to our exhibition reception the week earlier in which about 70 people attended. Even the Deputy Commissioner of NYC Parks stopped by and posed with Wes, Nathan, and me.
The response to our exhibit has been very positive. Everyone has seemed impressed and happy. Throughout this journey, we made wonderful contacts at NYC Parks and elsewhere which are, of course, invaluable. We were even featured in a small piece by BBC World Service, which was broadcast on NPR this past Friday, July 24th.
Now that it’s over, we’re looking for new venue where we can possibly continue our exhibit if not in total than maybe in part.
Come see my exhibition! It just opened this past Wednesday, July 1st, at the Poe Park Visitor Center.
The past two weeks have been incredibly busy getting ready for the opening. Pretty much around the clock preparation, but in the end, it seems to look really good. I look forward to hearing people’s feedback.
I was fortunate to be interviewed about my Harlem River project by writer and photographer, Nathan Kensinger, for his most recent Curbed NY article: New York’s Once-Neglected Harlem River Experiences a Rebirth. I am so grateful to have gotten in contact with Mr. Kensinger, a gifted chronicler of New York City’s peripheral waterways and infrastructure, who was so generous of his time and knowledge with me.
In my interview with him, I learned that Bridge Park, the newest park to be constructed and the first Bronx waterfront park since Mill Pond Park between 149th and 153rd Streets was opened, is open though not officially. I’ve been busy photographing others locations, but I look forward to getting around to exploring this newest park just north of the Washington Bridge soon.
Yesterday I had the thrill of attending the opening reception of Basove/Bridges: Transporting the Metropolis at the Noble Maritime Collection at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island.
The beautiful exhibition focuses on her famous paintings and sketches of New York City’s bridges. Her style of art is mesmerizing and I’ve been a fan ever since I first learned about her work in her book, Stone and Steel: Paintings and Writings Celebrating the Bridges of New York City. Her images run the gambit of the city’s iconic spans, such as the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges, as well as its lesser known ones, such as the Ward’s Island and Macombs Dam Bridge.
Macombs Dam Bridge
Bronx Whitestone Bridge
Bayonne Bridge II
It was a delightful day to take the long trip to Staten Island via the ferry.
Definitely check out her show!
A few days ago, The New York Times published a fantastic short documentary – Living City: A Tale of Two Bridges – which looks at the history of the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. Definitely worth watching!
Noted painter and author, Antonio Masi, shares inspirational reflections on the beauty and significance of the bridges of New York City.
Last night was the opening exhibition reception for Bronx X Bronx at the Bronx Documentary Center.
All are welcomed to attend this wonderful show of Bronx photographers and see the wonderful gallery space that has brought so much inspiration to this area of the South Bronx. This free exhibition continues until October 12th.
Yours truly is also fortunate to have one photograph of the High Bridge in the exhibition.
Come and check it out!
I will return to work on Monday after a two-week long spring break during which I went on a number of largely successful photo shoots along the Harlem River. I tried as best I could to take advantage of the time that I had off to capture some of the subjects that had remained on my to-do-list. As is usually the case, variables such as poor weather, prevented me from checking all the subjects off my list but it was fun and successful break photographically, nonetheless.
I also made time to do a bit of pleasure reading. Cara A. Sutherland’s Bridges of New York City (2003) is a beautiful and richly informative book full of captivating black and white photographs of many of the city’s most significant spans. As expected, most of the book is devoted to the iconic bridges of the East River – Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, (Ed Koch) Queensboro Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge – and the Hudson River’s George Washington Bridge. To my surprise, however, she focuses on the history and significance of the Harlem River’s High Bridge as well as some of the city’s earliest spans, such as the King’s Bridge and Coles Bridge. Moreover, some impressive photographs that I had never seen before of these bridges are included. Attention is also given to the peripheral but vital Verrazano–Narrows Bridge in addition to the Bronx-Whitestone and Bayonne Bridges.
Sutherland’s book also has a selection of images taken by Berenice Abbott during the 1930s.
I must confess that before studying her photographs in this book, I had never given her iconic images much attention. That has all changed now! I was floored and hooked! Impressed and humbled, I purchased Bernice Abbott: Changing New York, which has these and many other of her acclaimed and recognizable 1930-era photographs of New York City.
In sum, Sutherland’s book is highly recommended for NYC bridge and history enthusiasts!
This afternoon I took a short ride on the Metro-North up to the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers where I saw the temporary exhibition – Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the Transformation of New York’s Rivers, 1900-1940 – before it ends next week.
It was my first visit to the Hudson River Museum and I was impressed by both its permanent collection (especially, its Hudson River paintings of the Yonkers area) as well as the temporary exhibit, which I had traveled to see. Industrial Sublime was made up of paintings representing all three area rivers: the Hudson, East, and Harlem. While I was most interested in seeing the artistic representations of the Harlem River, it was inspiring to see them all. In fact, many of the exhibition’s most memorable images were of the Hudson and East Rivers.
Brooklyn Bridge (1900) by Theodore Earl Butler
On the Hudson at Newburgh (1918) by Gifford Beal
As with any art exhibition, it is always a thrill to see and examine images in person that you might have seen previously in a book or magazine. I had the opportunity to do this with a few of the Harlem River paintings there. However, the majority of the works were new to me.
I left the museum rejuvenated inspired by the sublimity of the region. The lower Hudson Valley is such a majestic place and Industrial Sublime did a great job at reminding visitors of this. The train ride north along the Hudson River to Yonkers also brought this point home. With temperatures hovering in the mid-50s coupled with high humidity, a blanket of thick fog and clouds covered the area offering very little visibility all day. I had never seen the Hudson so magical. From the Metro-North train, one could see the enveloping fog billowing just feet above the Hudson River creating a most incredible and unique sight. It looked like steam was rising from the water just as sheets of ice varying in size and thickness moved downriver with the tide. The Palisades of New Jersey were obscured noticeable only for seconds in the small pockets of visibility that appeared and disappeared amidst the thick fog. It was an incredible scene: both ghostly and beautiful, eerie and curious, strange and captivating.
If only I had my camera gear with me, I could have gotten off at Spuyten Duyvil (right where a Metro-North train made national news when it derailed a few weeks earlier) on the ride north and photographed this spectacular sight before hopping on a subsequent train to continue my journey. Despite not having the opportunity to photograph today’s magical weather, it gave me a lot of photographic ideas for the future.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Farai Chideya’s story titled Traveling While Black in Friday’s New York Times. As a African-American, who shares a similar thrill for the road (especially international travel), it was reassuring to read about the travel experiences of Chideya and other people of color.
Ever since my 2002-2003 Watson Fellowship year, I have had the wanderlust bug and during recent years, photography has become an increasingly important element of my travel experiences abroad. Many of the observations that Chideya state, I myself have been a witness to and have wondered about.
Definitely worth reading.