Photos © James and Karla Murray
Whether it’s their photography from our My Sqft series, images from their best-selling Storefront books or their most recent “Mom-and-Pops” life-size installation in Seward Park, chances are you’ve already admired the work of Karla and James Murray. And now there’s an opportunity to further appreciate their work and the work of those they have mentored. Earlier this year, James and Karla hosted two, two-session workshops, which taught the art of capturing New York City storefronts. Starting August 1, the workshop’s participants will show off their photos at the Jefferson Market Library’s Little Underground Gallery. Celebrate with them during a free opening reception for the exhibit next Friday, August 3 from 5 pm to 7 pm.
Learn more about the event
6sqft has been closely following the progress of photographers James and Karla Murray‘s Seward Park art installation “Mom-and-Pops of the LES,” featuring four nearly life-size images of Lower East Side business that have mostly disappeared. The pair, who have spent the last decade chronicling the place of small neighborhood businesses in 21st century New York City, was chosen for the public art project by Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program and ran a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the wood-frame structure’s build out. James and Karla will be having a free public exhibition of their photography for “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” at The Storefront Project (@thestorefrontproject) at 70 Orchard Street from July 25-August 12, 2018, with an opening reception on Wednesday, July 25th from 6-9 PM.
Find out more about this cool project
Video © Michael Ursone Films
6sqft has been excitedly following the progress of photographers James and Karla Murray‘s Seward Park art installation “Mom-and-Pops of the LES,” from the announcement that they’d been chosen through the Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program to their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the wood-frame structure’s build out. And now the piece, featuring four nearly life-size images of Lower East Side business that have mostly disappeared, is finally complete. James and Karla shared with 6sqft an exclusive time-lapse video of the installation process and chatted with us about why they chose these particular storefronts, what the build-out was like, and how they hope New Yorkers will learn from their message.
Watch the video and hear from James and Karla
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.
Photos © James and Karla Murray
Since publishing “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” a photo documentation of iconic mom-and-pops, 10 years ago, photographers James and Karla Murray have become household names around NYC. And they now are letting New Yorkers in on their tricks of the trade in an upcoming two-part workshop in partnership with the Neighborhood Preservation Center. “Capturing the Faces and Voices of Manhattan’s Neighborhood Storefronts” is a “photography and oral history workshop of the cultural significance of mom-and-pop stores and the impact they have on the pulse, life, and texture of their communities.” Participants will not only learn photography skills but how to record oral histories and use these tools for “public awareness and advocacy.”
All the details
New York City’s parks department will bring art installations to 10 designated parks across the five boroughs this June. As part of “Art in the Parks: UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Exhibit,” public art will be displayed in parks that currently lack cultural programming. Japanese clothing company UNIQLO, as the initiative’s sponsor, will give grants worth $10,000 to 10 emerging artists for the installations. The city’s Art in the Parks program began in 1967 and is responsible for bringing over 2,000 public pieces of art to the city’s parks.
Details this way
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.
In 1883, one of NYC’s first skyscrapers opened at the corner of Nassau and Beekman Streets. Known as Temple Court, the nine-story red brick and terra cotta structure was designed in the Queen Anne style by architect James M. Farnworth to attract accountants and lawyers who needed to be close to the city’s courthouses. Its most impressive feature was its central atrium that rises the full height and is topped by a large pyramid-shaped skylight and two rooftop turrets.
In the 1940s, this romantic atrium was walled in from top to bottom, and by 2001, the last commercial tenant moved out, ultimately sending the building into disrepair, a crumbling shell open to the elements. Plans to restore Temple Court into The Beekman hotel and add an adjacent 51-story condominium tower first surfaced in 2008, but before work got underway in 2012, we were granted the rare opportunity to explore the architectural gem in its eerily beautiful derelict state. And now that guests are filling up the 287 hotel rooms, the main floor is buzzing with restaurants from restaurateurs Tom Colicchio and Keith McNally, and the atrium’s skylight and Victorian cast iron railings and ornamentation have been restored, we went back in to document how this one-of-a-kind landmark has been restored.
See the before-and-after photos and learn about our experience
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, award-winning photographers James and Karla Murray return with a look inside Rolf’s German Restaurant, known for its over-the-top Christmas decorations. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Beginning the last week of September, a six-man team starts the process of adorning Rolf’s German Restaurant with 15,000 Christmas ornaments, 10,000 lights, and thousands of icicles. By the first of November, the process of turning this historic Murray Hill restaurant into a holiday wonderland is complete, attracting both locals and tourists who are eager to see the one-of-a-kind display of Victorian-style decorations.
We recently paid a visit to Rolf’s, capturing everything from dolls found in New England antique shops to 19th century German ball ornaments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And we’ve shared an interview with owner Bob Maisano where he talks about the building’s past life as a speakeasy during Prohibition, German history in NYC, and what makes Rolf’s a unique holiday destination.
All the photos and the interview with Bob
Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of 6sqft’s friends and fellow New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to the longtime East Village apartment of acclaimed photographers James and Karla Murray. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
You might not immediately recognize their names, but there is no doubt you know their work. Photographers James and Karla Murray burst onto the scene back in 2008 with the release of their seminal book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” a work culling hundreds of images of the bygone retail graphics that once covered the city—and jointly, the mom and pop businesses that vanished alongside them. Since then, the Murrays have released two more tomes of the same vein, and collected countless awards and accolades for their documentary work along the way. In fact, their photographs can now be found in the permanent collections of major institutions around the world, including the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the New York Public Library. Their images also decorate the homes of countless celebrities, among them Sarah Jessica Parker, Ralph Lauren, Alicia Keys and Roseanne Barr.
In this week’s My sqft, 6sqft visits this warm and spunky husband-and-wife team in their East Village home to talk about their tenure in the city (they moved downtown in the 80s—though Karla is from the Bronx) and their ongoing efforts to chronicle what remains of “old New York.” We also get a peek inside their studio apartment/workspace of 22 years, which as Karla and James share ahead, has some crazy stories of its own.
go inside their home here