Shared Spaces Exhibition

Location: New York, New York

Date: July - August, 2019

A solo exhibition at the gallery inside Pearl River Mart on Broadway, New York City.

In the context of the political and cultural polarization of our nation, and the larger debate about what the future of America should look like, it is necessary for architecture to engage. Its power comes from both its ubiquity and necessity. Unlike photography, film, painting, or sculpture, architecture is always present in our lives — we sleep, eat, talk, and argue in architecture. It literally shapes the world around us. It can welcome or discriminate, unite or divide. It can be shared.

 

This exhibition invites you to imagine how people of diverse backgrounds might occupy the same physical space.  The projects propose spaces in which those with differing viewpoints, values, and experiences might coincide, and explore the possible conflicts — and harmonies — that might arise.

 

SHARED SPACES is three parts:

 

CHINATOWN GATEWAY: Consisting of three connected arches that represent Manhattan Chinatown’s symbiotic past, present, and future, the viewer is invited to pass through and engage with the gates, and to share the open and fluid space created by the arches with the multiple generations and groups who occupy and visit Chinatown. The gateway looks different from every angle as the viewer moves around it — it is complex and changing, much like Chinatown and the culture within it.

 

MONUMENT TO KESHIA THOMAS: What if you saw your antagonist being attacked by an angry mob? Would you save him or would you join the mob? In 1996 Keshia Thomas, an 18-year-old African American woman, used her body to protect a man with an “SS” tattoo and a Confederate flag T-shirt from being beaten by a mob. She chose to protect him, believing that a fellow human being did not deserve violence despite his intolerance of her. The large roof is an abstraction of her body, covering the Robert. E. Lee statue that was at the center of the Charlottesville debate. In doing so, the statue is cast in shadow while remaining publicly accessible, letting people of all backgrounds and viewpoints share the darkness of the space.,

 

A CHANGING CHINATOWN: These photographs and images explore the ways people are currently occupying certain spaces in the changing landscape of Manhattan’s Chinatown. Many of the images simply document existing conditions. Is it awkward? Normal? What would alternatives be? How could we better share space, in Chinatown and beyond?