Elle Pérez presents new suite of photographs on 100 bus shelters

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Elle Pérez presents new suite of photographs on 100 bus shelters
Elle Pérez, Arroz con pollo asado, platano maduros, y yuca, 2019. Photographic work as a part of from sun to sun, presented by Public Art Fund on JCDecaux bus shelters citywide, August 13 – November 24, 2019. Courtesy the artist and 47 Canal, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- On August 13, Public Art Fund will launch from sun to sun, a multi-work, 100-site exhibition by New York-based photographer Elle Pérez. The suite of 16 new photographic works by Pérez will be displayed on bus shelters in over 13 neighborhoods citywide, and will inaugurate Public Art Fund’s new partnership with JCDecaux. from sun to sun weaves together images that collectively form a meditation on daily life through the exploration of places and communities in New York where Pérez grew up and lives. Alternating the focus between figures and environments, Pérez creates a kind of rhythm that builds within the series that is at once distinct, familiar, and unassuming. from sun to sun will offer the public a moment to engage with photography at larger-than-life scale and to encounter works during their daily routines, becoming a part of the pulse of the city’s cycles and infrastructure. from sun to sun is Pérez’s first public art commission and will be on view from August 13 through November 24, 2019.

This new series by Pérez threads together imagery of their friends and family who are impacting their communities; signs and languages of communication; topics of identity and heritage; and detailed surfaces that make up the urban landscape of New York City. The friends and family members captured in Pérez’s photographs illustrate their impactful relationships – many extending over 15 years. In one photograph, a student and an outdoor education teacher are shown planting evergreen shrubs and raspberries in the garden of their public school in the Bronx. In another, an activist educator at a school in East Harlem poses in a classroom where he helps shape the curriculum. A sequence of hand gestures in one series of black and white images illustrates the steps for the Flight, a handshake popular in the punk scene of the Bronx that their friend Jay P Fury created. Pérez has deliberately chosen to present imagery of Puerto Rico’s national flag in black and white as a sign of mourning and resistance towards the U.S. government-imposed oversight board. In other works, Pérez meditates on familiar details that may typically go unnoticed: crevices in the street pavement, entangled bicycles, and worn subway car interiors. By focusing on the facets of New York’s urban landscape that are a product of time, they draw attention to the subtle histories woven into the city’s fabric.

Bus shelters housing Pérez’s work will dot the landscapes of Northern Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, Upper Manhattan, and the Bronx. Locations will span Parkchester in the eastern Bronx, to Brooklyn’s Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunnyside, Queens to St. George, Staten Island, and East Harlem, Manhattan. Displayed on platforms traditionally used for advertising, sixteen photographs repeat six to seven times each across one hundred bus shelters. Works will be sited in clusters to give the public an opportunity to see multiple photographs within walking or bus route distance. Encountered fortuitously during people’s commutes and day-to-day routines, the photographs will become a part of the city. Presented at a larger-than-life format, from sun to sun continues Pérez’s exploration of scale, allowing for the elevation and examination of the details of daily life. It will also offer an opportunity for all to reflect on how these different spaces can hold traces of people and offer a different kind of historical record.

“Elle Pérez observes the beauty of their surroundings and captures the humanity of these places, cumulatively revealing a kind of meditative self-portrait,” says Public Art Fund Assistant Curator Katerina Stathopoulou. “Pérez’s new body of work creates a powerful synergy between familiarity and abstraction, achieved through photography’s precision in describing surfaces. We are excited for the public to experience these large-scale works whether on their daily commute or while exploring neighborhoods, and hope they inspire points of connection and conversation.”

This collaboration between Public Art Fund and JCDecaux establishes a new exhibition platform for the non-profit, bringing two, 14-week solo exhibitions a year to 100 of JCDecaux’s advertising spaces on bus shelters across all five boroughs. The exhibition series will create a continuously evolving platform to present artistic voices at street-level for all New Yorkers. For the initial iterations, one hundred bus shelters will serve as spaces to showcase the work of photographers, enabling artists to create topical new bodies of work in New York City. This collaboration builds on Public Art Fund’s rich history of transforming the city’s ubiquitous advertising spaces, including the seminal exhibition series Messages to the Public (1982-90), which brought art to Times Square’s first digital billboard with 80+ artists including Jenny Holzer, Alfredo Jaar, Lorna Simpson, and David Wojnarowicz; the group exhibition Commercial Break (2017), which featured digital works by 23 artists on advertising platforms across the city; and most recently Ai Weiwei’s citywide exhibition Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (2017), for which Public Art Fund presented works on 100 JCDecaux bus shelters across all five boroughs, among other traditional advertising platforms, for the first time.

“JCDecaux is excited to continue to use our street furniture in innovative ways, now providing a framework for street level art for New Yorkers through our partnership with Public Art Fund. We look forward to seeing our bus shelters host the striking work of Elle Pérez. We hope that from sun to sun encourages viewers to engage with these depictions of our shared community,” says Gabrielle Brussel, JCDecaux Executive Vice President of Business Development & Properties.

Elle Pérez: from sun to sun is curated by Public Art Fund Assistant Curator Katerina Stathopoulou.

Elle Pérez (b. 1989, Bronx, NY) has held solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2018) and 47 Canal, New York (2018). Currently their work is included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall at the Brooklyn Museum. They are currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University and a Dean at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Pérez is represented by 47 Canal.

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