Public Art Installation For Gun Reform Debuts This Fall at The Whitney Museum

Public Art Installation For Gun Reform Debuts This Fall at The Whitney Museum

Courtesy The Whitney Museum of American Art


I’ve been writing a lot about the Chelsea area this past month. I mean there’s a lot to love from food, to parks and museums and you’re so close to water you can even catch a booze cruise near by (yes, I’ve done one and they’re pretty fun.) As a lover of art with a purpose, I can’t wait to see the unveiling of a work presented by The Whitney Museum of American Art. “Half Mast,” a new work by Derek Fordjour, will be the eighth work in the ongoing series of public art installations on the façade of 95 Horatio Street, located directly across from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the High Line. The installation marks the artist’s first museum solo exhibition.

 

With “Half Mast”, Derek Fordjour reflects on the recent national conversations around gun violence, thinking in particular to the surge of school shootings, and the everyday atrocities affecting Black and Brown communities. The piece offers a portrait of this moment in U.S. history by presenting many figures who are part of this conversation—law enforcement officials, school youth, and civilians, among them—in one compressed, shared space. Half Mast, a 2018 painting reproduced as a 17 x 29 foot vinyl print, will be unveiled this fall on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets.

 

“Half Mast” considers the recent national conversation around gun violence, speaking in particular to the surge of school shootings and to the everyday atrocities impacting Black and Brown communities in the United States. The piece offers a portrait of this complex moment in U.S. history by presenting many figures that are part of this conversation in one compressed, shared space. Seen in the crowd are law enforcement officials and civilians, including students, as well as absent figures, bodies marked with targets, and teddy bears and balloons reminiscent of street side memorials.

 

The artist draws on the language of games, sports, and the carnivalesque, layering the canvas with humble materials—such as newspaper, oil pastels, and charcoal. His palette and use of pattern alludes to Americana and Pop Art as well as the visual culture of his Ghanaian heritage. Fordjour’s practice frequently engages with the use of public space, and Half Mast is one of two current commissions of major public work. The artist is also the recipient of a 2018 MTA Commission for a permanent installation at the 145th Street subway station in Harlem.

 

So while you’re making your to the Gansevoort market or the High Line park, take a moment to check out this artistic plead for gun reform.

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