THIS SIDE OF PARADISE

                                          how and nosm

                                          how and nosm

Situated on the second floor along a dilapidated corridor of the Andrew Freedman Home, This Side of Paradise was comprised of over a dozen rooms each showcasing the vision of a particular artist or duo. The show, organized by art non-profit No Longer Empty, wasn’t your usual New York art event. It wasn’t about showing big names to get government grants, attracting celebutante collectors to gain media traction, or hawking elaborate artistic visions to the highest SoHo-bred bidder. It was about reclaiming a space that has sat near-empty for decade, a space that existed as not much more than myth even to its neighbors along Grand Concourse.

                                       cheryl pope

                                       cheryl pope

Built in 1924 with money from the estate of National League baseball owner and New York Subway System financier Andrew Freedman, the now-dilapidated mansion looks like a place that is rife with ghosts. The limestone exterior crumbles in the detailed cornices and archways. Once well-manicured lawns are now overgrown with jungle weeds that have won the battle over paving stones. But despite its obvious neglect, it looms with a self-satisfied smirk over the other remnants of Grand Concourse’s early twentieth century heyday. Given that it was built exclusively to house down-and-out rich people in the posh lifestyle to which they were accustomed prior to massive losses during the Great Depression, the haughtiness that it exudes is befitting.

                                                                    daze

                                                                    daze

Some artists, like Gian Maria Tosatti, took advantage of materials sourced within the home to create haunting installations. Others, including legendary graffiti artists Daze and Crash, focused more on the home’s location in the Bronx than its history. The duo created an elaborate wall-to-wall replication of a recording studio complete with sharp triangular foam protrusions, red lighting, and cracked Fun House-esque mirrors to pay tribute to the borough’s hip hop past. The remainder of the rooms was a mash of chilling homages to the lives lived within its walls, whimsical takes on interior design and decay, crowd-sourced positivity, and street-styled graffiti typical of the Bronx in the 1980s and 90s.

Given the unique socioeconomic history of the property, No Longer Empty couldn’t have chosen a more relevant time to re-open its second floor to the public. “Thank you for enabling us to live in denial just a little while longer,” read a fictional letter created by one of the artists. Yes, This Side of Paradise was about the art but it was also a very visual reminder that even the One Percent can’t avoid disintegrating into rubble nor can they self-segregate forever. Haunting and politically charged, this show broke down invisible walls created decades ago by simply unlocking the wrought iron gates and swinging open the heavy wooden doors.

                                                                  justin ladda

                                                                  justin ladda

Words- Tiffany Rainey

Photos- Amy Klein

FriendsWithYou- Rainbow Village

FWY opening.jpg

“They let grown-ups in the bounce house?!?” Mention FriendsWithYou’s Rainbow Village, now anchoring the recent expansion of the Highline to 30th Street, and that’s likely the response you’ll get. It might be difficult for some to wrap their head around, but it is, indeed, true. Adults can kick their heels off, shed their ties and climb into an over-sized mushroom to jump until their hearts are content, forgetting instantly that their Midtown offices with overbearing bosses and ringing telephones are mere blocks away.

the infamous miss tiffany rainey (BLK LNG) with lil mo and me lurking in the back

the infamous miss tiffany rainey (BLK LNG) with lil mo and me lurking in the back

If there’s one thing that Sam Borkson and Arturo (Tury) Sandoval III – collectively known as FriendsWithYou – excel at, it’s providing an escape from the ordinary. Since the Miami duo joined forces in 2002, their sole mission has been to infect the world with unapologetic enthusiasm. And, through an inspired cast of imaginary characters, geometric design and bright, primary colors, they’ve done exactly that. From collabs with Kid Robot, Nike, MTV, Sanrio and Scion to solo exhibitions in major museums throughout the world, FriendsWithYou has become one of the most recognized collectives in the art world.

Most of this is accomplished through a vast network of friends, making their efforts all the more admirable and pure.

BLK LNG, me, and lil mo

BLK LNG, me, and lil mo

All good things must come to an end and the same goes for Rainbow Village. Though the AOL Artist installation on the Highline will deflate on July 5, FriendsWithYou’s first solo show in New York, entitled “:)” is open until August 5 at Hole Gallery (312 Bowery Street). Inside you’ll find the same creative manipulation of shape and color infused with a sense of childlike abandon on a smaller scale. Thank sponsor Native Shoes by stopping by their pop-up shop next door and copping a pair.

lil mo

lil mo

photos by : Amy Klein 
words by : Tiffany Rainey 
more images at : motionetti.tumblr.com

me and lil mo under the mushroom

me and lil mo under the mushroom

WRITING ON THE WALL- ELLIS G

Ellis traces from the front 0 00 17-04.jpg

This cat is most known for his chalk drawings of shadows. He's a Brooklyn dude.
The show was at Mighty Tanaka in D.U.M.B.O. (BK)
 

i like the idea of really looking at what you see everyday.

Ellis the work and wall 0 00 01-01.jpg