Choosing Community Rather Than Consumption

  Moses , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Moses, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

New York City has more foreign-born residents than any city in the country (and is second worldwide only to London). There are more immigrants living in New York City than the entire population of Chicago, and they make up nearly half of the city's workforce. To celebrate the contribution of immigrants to the city and the country, we spent our Labor Day weekend in Queens, installing work by Blanco in one of the country's most diverse neighborhoods.

Blanco says, "We live in a culture that forces a continuous barrage of marketing, consumption and advertising upon us everywhere we look. This endless and wanton consumption is creating grave outcomes on our planet and the way we perceive ourselves as people and cultures. We also live in a society that is highly stratified, unequal and unjust. Art in Ad Places endeavors to create a respite from the culture of consumption and stratification and gives space to ideas and artwork that challenge the status quo by their mere existence. I am pleased to take part in the Art in Ad Places campaign. It affords the opportunity to subvert the prevailing messaging of consumption and at the same time create support and solidarity in our community with immigrants and refugees who have been the targets of recent xenophobic vitriol from those who would hearken back to a fictional past. Nobody is free until we are all free."

As Blanco highlights, there's a disconnect between the selfish consumption that advertising encourages and the cross-cultural community-building that this political moment requires. Choose community.

  Angela , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Angela, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

  Laith , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Laith, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

  Aleema , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Aleema, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

  Sana , part of  All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees  by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

Sana, part of All My Friends are Immigrants and Refugees by Blanco. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Alex Marino. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Alex Marino. Photo by Luna Park.

This month, we had the honor of teaming up with the folks at Amplifier and the Women's March. Never in a million years did we think we would be working with two of the most important activist groups in the USA. They brought some amazing artists on board, and it was humbling to team up with such inspiring guest curators.

One year after the historic Women’s March on Washington, Amplifier and the Women’s March teamed up with partners across the country to shift the culture around voting through public art. They invited female-identifying and gender non-conforming residents of the United States to submit their artwork to #PowerToThePolls - a national voter-registration drive and traveling art exhibition. A twelve-person curatorial team reviewed over 3,000 submissions and selected 50 artworks meant to energize swing-state voters, inspiring them to take to the polls and elect leaders who reflect American majority values.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Johanna Toruño. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Johanna Toruño. Photo by Luna Park.

Amplifier gave us access to their #PowerToThePolls artworks, and together we narrowed that group down to nine favorites that we installed around Manhattan. The artists include Alex Marino, Bo Lee, Erin McAdamsJohanna Toruño, Katy Galvin, Lauren Simkin Berke, Maayan Alper-Swan, Nicolle Whitten, and Yocelyn Rioja.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Lauren Simkin Berke. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Lauren Simkin Berke. Photo by Luna Park.

Sometimes we install artwork because it's beautiful, and we deserve beautiful public spaces (not ad-riddled ones). This is one of those times when our installations serve an additional practical purpose: We need to get out the vote at primaries this summer and in the general election this November. If you're not registered to vote, or you don't know if you're registered, you can fix that at vote.gov.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Erin McAdams. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Erin McAdams. Photo by Luna Park.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Nicolle Whitten. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Nicolle Whitten. Photo by Luna Park.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Katy Galvin. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Katy Galvin. Photo by Luna Park.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Yocelyn Riojas. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Yocelyn Riojas. Photo by Luna Park.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Maayan Alper-Swan. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Maayan Alper-Swan. Photo by Luna Park.

 #PowerToThePolls artwork by Bo Lee. Photo by Luna Park.

#PowerToThePolls artwork by Bo Lee. Photo by Luna Park.

New Work and a New Format

  Untitled #18 South Side Chicago, IL , part of  Stranger Fruit  by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

Untitled #18 South Side Chicago, IL, part of Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

We're back, in a slightly new format! Art in Ad Placesis still installing new work, but we want to focus on working with people to install a series of work, rather than 2017's one-offs. We're excited to have found a way to continue Art in Ad Places without it taking over our lives.

We’re starting off this new format with 6 pieces by Jon Henry, from his Stranger Fruit series.

"This work, Stranger Fruit, is about the mother/son bond in the wake of the murders of African American men due to police violence. How can a mother protect her children when those who are sworn to protect are the ones committing the crimes? The mothers in these images have not lost their sons, but know the reality, that without addressing this epidemic, this could happen to them," says Jon Henry. "I'm participating in Art in Ad Places because art is for all, and should not be limited to the confines of a gallery. This is for the people, to absorb, to engage with, or be confronted by."

And now for the art:

  Untitled #15 South Side Chicago, IL , part of  Stranger Fruit  by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park

Untitled #15 South Side Chicago, IL, part of Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park

  Untitled #21 Berwyn, IL , part of  Stranger Fruit  by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

Untitled #21 Berwyn, IL, part of Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

  Untitled #24 Birmingham, AL , part of  Stranger Fruit  by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

Untitled #24 Birmingham, AL, part of Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

  Untitled #29, North Miami, FL , part of  Stranger Fruit  by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

Untitled #29, North Miami, FL, part of Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

  Untitled #19 Magnificent Mile, IL , part of  Stranger Fruit  by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

Untitled #19 Magnificent Mile, IL, part of Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry. Photo by Luna Park.

Subvert The City

 Jon Burgerman. Photo by Luna Park.

Jon Burgerman. Photo by Luna Park.

This weekend, anti-advertising activists around the world came together for the second annual Subvert The City, a weekend of action to reclaim public space organized by Subvertisers International. So, we thought we'd join in the fun with a series of installs.

 Special Patrol Group. Photo by Luna Park.

Special Patrol Group. Photo by Luna Park.

Our friends at Special Patrol Group sent us two designs. The READ ME poster pretty succinctly sums up SPG's position on outdoor advertising, and ours as well: Get rid of it. And their #Justice4Grenfell poster is a reminder that the UK government continues to neglect the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, and the response would likely be the same if a similar tragedy occurred in this country.

 Special Patrol Group. Photo by Luna Park.

Special Patrol Group. Photo by Luna Park.

We also had a few spare posters from last year, and this seemed like the perfect time to finally get those installed: One previously unused poster from Jon Burgerman (at the top of this post), and spare prints of posters by Jess X. Snow, Molly Crabapple, and Sheryo & The Yok.

  Our Ancestors Dreamed of Us  by Jess X. Snow, in collaboration with Jordan Alam. Photo by Luna Park.

Our Ancestors Dreamed of Us by Jess X. Snow, in collaboration with Jordan Alam. Photo by Luna Park.

 Molly Crabapple. Photo by Luna Park.

Molly Crabapple. Photo by Luna Park.

 Sheryo and The Yok. Photo by Luna Park.

Sheryo and The Yok. Photo by Luna Park.

PS, be on the lookout for more Art in Ad Places installations, with new work, soon.