Photographers James and Karla Murray published their first account of small businesses in NYC a decade ago with their seminal book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” which captured hundreds of mom-and-pops and their iconic facades, many of them since shuttered, along with interviews with the business owners. They’ve since published two follow-ups, “New York Nights” and “Store Front II-A History Preserved,” winning countless awards and gaining local and national fame for their documentation of a vanishing retail culture. And this summer, they’re bringing their work to a larger scale than ever. The Lo-Down reports that 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 disappeared–a bodega, a coffee shop/luncheonette (the recently lost Cup & Saucer), a vintage store, and a newsstand.
The installation is part of the Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program, a partnership between the Japenese clothing company and NYC Parks Department that began in 2016. Each year, the grant brings 10 art installations by NYC-based emerging artists to parks throughout the five boroughs that have historically lacked cultural programming. The Murray’s piece, titled “Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S.,” will be installed in June. As of now, the rendering is conceptual and the exact location has not yet been determined.
James and Karla told 6sqft, “Our goal in creating this sculptural storefront installation is to help raise awareness of the plight of ‘mom-and-pop’ businesses in our community and the positive impact they have on the fabric and texture of their surrounding neighborhood.”
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- Documenting Gentrification’s Toll on the Mom-and-Pops of Greenwich Village
- The Urban Lens: Documenting New York City’s Vanishing Privilege Signs
Neighborhoods : Lower East Side