July 27, 2020
Marley Freeman in
50 Artists: Art on the Grid
June 29-September 20, 2020
“Venuses Balcony takes its title from Samuel R. Delany’s 1999 non-fiction classic Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. In a kind of eulogy for the Times Square red light district of the 1970s and 80s, Delany theorizes the nature of interclass contact. The Venus—whose balcony figures prominently throughout Delany’s first-person account—was one of many iconic theaters lost to gentrification. Painted in oil and acrylic on linen, Venuses Balcony captures the vibrant, bustling character of social relations in New York.”
— Marley Freeman
Marley Freeman’s Venuses balcony will be displayed at the following locations; Nassau St between Gold St & Navy St, Northern Blvd Between 164 St & Station Rd, Ave C between E 5th St & E 6th St, 106 St between 2 Ave & 3 Ave, 40 Ave between 12 St & 13 St, Oriental Blvd between Amherst St & West End, Myrtle Ave between Lewis Ave & Marcus Garvey Blvd, Balcom Ave between Dewey Ave & Schley Ave, West End Ave between W 72 St & W 71 St, and Northern Blvd between 164 St & Station Rd.
Art on the Grid responds to this historic moment. Our lives have been completely transformed by the devastation of a global pandemic and the rise of one of the largest social justice movements in modern history. This spring, Public Art Fund invited 50 emerging New York-based artists to reflect on the current situation as a way to help our communities process the challenges we face together. In different ways, COVID-19 and the renewed urgency over systemic racism that led to protests in our streets and a movement for change have reshaped our day-to-day lives including the ways we interact and experience our city. The exhibition gives a highly visible public platform to artists whose regular creative outlets have been stifled, commissioning them to make new, responsive works of art. Art on the Grid enables the people of New York to reflect, to engage with the city in new ways, and to begin conversations with neighbors, friends, and strangers alike.
The exhibition roster features 50 artists from 18 countries. The artists were prompted to respond to the broad themes of reconnection and renewal, interpreted through their different perspectives and personal narratives. The resulting works draw on their experiences of New York City, its people, and places. They include reflections on moments of spontaneity, intimacy, isolation, loss, healing, and rebuilding, as well as aspirations to create a more just, inclusive, and equitable future. Now more than ever, public art–open, free, and accessible to all–has the ability to serve as a vital tool in the creative and spiritual recovery of our city.
The 50 artworks in Art on the Grid form a decentralized group exhibition on the city’s public transportation and communication infrastructure. Launched in two phases—on June 29 and July 27—the works are housed on 500 bus shelters’ advertising panels and on more than 1,700 wifi kiosks’ digital screens located across the five boroughs. Clusters of works by multiple artists along a bus route are intended to create new art viewing itineraries or simply to enliven the days of those who encounter them fortuitously. The captivating works conceived by these artists re-envision the city itself as an outdoor gallery, reminding us that even in times of adversity, artistic expression is indispensable to the creation of a culture that truly reflects and responds to our contemporary world.
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.