As research fellow, critic and art historian Chloe Wyma was essential to this project’s early stages, capturing a basic framework in writing, conducting extensive research on artists, and moderating a conversation circle with a core group of participating artists in Fall 2018. Rachel Valinsky continued the work of writing needed for further funding, pursued many research leads, and played an important role in the early stages of the exhibition publication. Both committed to this project following their valuable work as Mellon Fellows at the Queens Museum.
The exhibition was postponed twice—first because it wasn’t ready, and second because of a global pandemic. Along the way, Lindsey Berfond, Assistant Curator was instrumental to the development of the exhibition as well as the possibilities for wide-ranging and politically engaged public programming. When her responsibilities shifted to another project, Sophia Marisa Lucas, Assistant Curator took over as main interlocutor and support. Her remarkable intellectual, intuitive, and organizational ability and sheer talent for and commitment to the art of exhibition-making, artist-whispering, and design thinking is in every layer of the exhibition and associated publication. The suggestions and initiative of Celine Wong Katzman, 2019–20 NYSCA Curatorial Fellow, from the idea of building it around artists’ suggested readings through its pivot online as well as her close attention to detail gave the publication a strong foundation. The indefatigable Andrea Escobedo dived in as a Research and Curatorial Assistant for the show at a moment of institutional transition, taking initiative across the board with imagination, common sense, and good humor, as well as participating in an important first round of check-ins with artists after the exhibition was put on hold. As the paused exhibition starts up again, we will again depend on the commitment, resilience and multi-talented capacities of Hitomi Iwasaki, Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Brian Balderston, Exhibition Production Manager to reach the long-hoped-for finish line.
Lenders to the exhibition have displayed enormous generosity and unwavering support over the course of this project. First and foremost, this means the artists. It also includes some of their stalwart galleries: Bridget Donahue Gallery (for Sondra Perry) and Galerie Lelong & Co (for Krzysztof Wodiczko). Finally, The Estate of Kynaston McShine has lent two exquisite small works by Jennifer Bolande.
The editors of the publication sincerely thank the artists for providing this fascinating group of texts, and so clearly and bravely articulating their meanings to the rest of us. The following publishers and publications, after consulting the writers of these articles or their representatives, kindly gave their reprint permission: Artforum, Boston Review, Cornell University Press, Dissent Magazine, Mack Books, Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, MIT Press, University of Minnesota Press, University of North Carolina Press, Shifter, and Verso Books. Tom Angotti and NYC TBD generously gave permission directly as did Donald Mitchell, literary executor for Neil Smith. Special thanks are due to MIT Press and University of North Carolina Press.
A particular thank you is due to Bryce Wilner and Matt Wolff, designer and web developer of this online publication, as well as Pema Domingo-Barker, who expertly edited the audio and video components. Their enthusiasm for an iterative process made them the best possible partners at a challenging moment.
The word “welcome” seemed more appropriate than “foreword” for an online publication, which one can read, look at and listen to in a totally non-linear way. It also previews our hopes to welcome you to an actual exhibition at the Queens Museum in Fall 2020. This publication and exhibition bring together twelve artists and artist groups connected to New York City who are thinking about shelter, home, and mobility, who has access to it and why. The question of “where can we live?” features in all our lives, for some far more harshly than others. This project attempts to frame the challenges felt by people in our city through the perspective of artists. It celebrates their resiliency at the same time as it points to dire inequities.
As I write, “where can we live?” is being asked more urgently than ever. We are in the midst of a global “pause” and period of physical and national distancing that has lasted four months and counting. Queens, where the Museum is located, has been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. Its neighborhoods are among the most vulnerable in the five boroughs. We are faced with many questions: How will we make our way back to the museum? What will it mean for people to gather once again in public places? What measures will we need to take to make our spaces safe—for our team and for the public?
As we approach what will be a long period of uncertainty, this online publication is one way we are affirming and supporting the voices, ideas, and positions of artists as essential to our world. As a supporter of the artistic imagination, the Andy Warhol Foundation has no peer and we cannot thank them enough for their support of a research fellowship and the exhibition itself. Some works in the exhibition distill systemic disparities through personal, subjective, and tactile experience; other works do so under the influence of the disciplines of urban geography and planning. We are also very grateful to the Graham Foundation, whose support of projects in the expanded field of architecture has extended to this exhibition as well.
First and foremost, we would like to thank the artists who have displayed enormous generosity and unwavering support over the course of this project. Many of them are also lenders to the exhibition, as are their stalwart galleries: Bridget Donahue Gallery (for Sondra Perry) and Galerie Lelong & Co (for Krzysztof Wodiczko). Finally, The Estate of Kynaston McShine has lent two exquisite small works by Jennifer Bolande.
The subject of this project and the way the staff have handled the disruptions are connected to what the Queens Museum is and stands for: reflecting the stories of our community in times of change. Larissa Harris, Curator, has commissioned new productions, restaged historic works, and brought this range of complex positions to light amidst significant institutional transition. The exhibition started life under one director, survived an 18-month gap between directors, and has attempted to begin to digest the unprecedented challenges and new situations of the last six months. In all this she was guided ably by Hitomi Iwasaki, Director of Exhibitions and Programs, and supported brilliantly by Sophia Marisa Lucas and Lindsey Berfond, Assistant Curators. Andrea Escobedo, Research and Curatorial Assistant for the project and Brian Balderston, Exhibition Production Manager, have worked creatively to bring the exhibition into reality. The online publication was invented and reinvented with Sophia, Celine Wong Katzman, NYSCA Curatorial Fellow and its careful and able designer and web developer, Bryce Wilner and Matt Wolff.
I would also like to thank the entirety of our hard-working and intrepid staff and as well as the board of Queens Museum. Their work makes all of ours possible. The publication opens windows into the thought process and influences of the artists involved, and tracks their—and our—shifting relationships with notions of home. Please enjoy this publication. We hope to see you soon at the exhibition itself.
Damon Rich is a designer, artist, and partner with Jae Shin at HECTOR, an urban design, planning, and civic arts practice. He has created exhibitions at institutions including the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Netherlands Architecture Institute. His work has been recognized by the MacArthur Fellowship, American Planning Association National Planning Award, Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, Center for Advanced Visual Studies, MacDowell Colony, and the 11th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.
Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center was developed between 2006 and 2008 and posed a question about the built environment—how is it paid for?—in order to tell a story about race, class, private capital, and public power in the United States. An idiosyncratic history of American home finance realized in outsized objects, models, photographs, found artifacts, text, and video documents, it opened at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in September 2008 in the midst of the global crisis spurred by some of its subject matter and traveled to the Queens Museum of Art (now Queens Museum) in Spring 2009.
To learn more, see Rich’s Real Estate and Liquid Architecture in the Bibliography.