Help bring this sculpture of lost Lower East Side mom-and-pops to Seward Park

Posted On Wed, May 23, 2018 By

Posted On Wed, May 23, 2018 By In Art, Lower East Side, photography

Rendering of the installation

After publishing their first account of small businesses in NYC a decade ago with their seminal book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” photographers James and Karla Murray are now ready to bring their work back to the street. As 6sqft previously reported, “the husband-and-wife team has designed an art installation for Seward Park, a wood-frame structure that will feature four nearly life-size images of Lower East Side business that have mostly disappeared–a bodega, a coffee shop/luncheonette (the recently lost Cup & Saucer), a deli (Katz’s), and a newsstand (Chung’s Candy & Soda Stand). Though the installation is part of the Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program, there are still high costs associated with materials, fabrication, and installation, so James and Karla have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the additional funds.

Rendering of the installation

The partnership between the Japenese clothing company and NYC Parks Department began in 2016, each year bringing 10 art installations by NYC-based emerging artists to parks throughout the five boroughs that have historically lacked cultural programming.

The Murray’s piece will be “an 8-foot high x 12-foot wide x 8-foot deep rectangular wood-frame sculpture consisting of near life-size photographs of four mom-and-pop neighborhood stores of the Lower East Side, most of which are no longer in business and have sadly disappeared from the streetscape,” according to the Kickstarter. It will be framed with lumber and plywood and covered with photos printed on dibond, an aluminum composite material that is weather-, UV-, freeze- and heat-resistant and will also have a graffiti-resistant laminate applied to it.


The miniature model

The renderings depict where the sculpture will be installed inside Seward Park, and the couple even created a 1/10th scale miniature of the piece (which is also being offered as a donation reward).

Karla Murray works on the miniature model

James and Karla told 6sqft that the four businesses they chose “were common in the Lower East Side and helped bring the community together through people’s daily interactions.” They added, “When viewing the near life-size photographs one can get a visceral sense of the impact of these losses on the community and on those who once depended on the shops that are now gone. The installation is an artistic intervention and a plea for recognition of the unique and irreplaceable contribution made to New York by small, often family-owned businesses. These neighborhood stores help set the pulse, life, and texture of their communities.”

The installation will be up for an entire year from July 2018 through July 2019. Since launching last night, the campaign has raised $1,341 of its $3,250 goal with 27 days left. Visit the Kickstarter here >>

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All renderings courtesy of James and Karla Murray

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Neighborhoods : Lower East Side

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