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.