NY screens

With a series of six screens made of articulated cut out panels, in 2005-6, I explored Midtown Manhattan, around the Empire State Building.

Later works used the same technique for further ventures into the neighborhood.

A first screen, Garment District, focuses on the last industrial district of Manhattan, experiencing a slow decline as its main activity, the garment industry, is being relocated to Queens or overseas. Fabric stores are giving way to peepshows and buildings to parking lots.

While photographing the construction site of the New York Times Building, I accidentally took pictures of photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose photographs were later posted on the scaffolding of the construction site. On the Building Times screen, the photographer and the people she photographed are represented. They are featured as seen both by Annie Leibovitz from a distance (on top of the scaffolding), and by me (below the scaffolding) as closeups.

Pierpont Morgan Library shows the Library and its neighborhood from indoors. Everything, the old Library as well as the new extension by Renzo Piano, is being encased in glass. In the end, even the Gutenberg Bible, guitars from the Bob Dylan’s American Journey exhibition and the Empire State Building got encased…

For Little Korea, I thought it was not sufficient to cut out only the frame. So I cut out the canvas itself in order to let light go through the windows and neon signs. Depending on whether there is back or front lighting, the effect can be of night or day.

Lunch Time at the Incarnation is composed of 4 panels representing the Community Church of New York and the Church of the Incarnation framing the former B.Altman luxury department store and the Empire State building at lunch break. On the far right panel representing the Church of the Incarnation, the center can be lifted and folded downward. Folded, it reveals a stained glass window with light showing through. The back of the folding part represents a 3D food-cart, with silver leaf and transparent plastic windows through which Eucharistic wine and bread for sale can be seen.

A last screen, built in 2011, returns to the Garment District, renamed as Fashion Center. The 2005 screen is the starting point. A few hotels are added to frame it right and left,  garment industry workers are pushed to the background, the parking lot removed, construction workers and food cart vendors introduced. A flock of cutout tourists are added to the foreground, along with one of the many gingko trees planted recently.

Arrival of the Frivolous King Lère Show on Times Square on November 13, 2013 is a preliminary study. 28″ x 80″.