As a city known for its glitz, glam, and, let’s be real, grime, it’s surprising to find that every October for one full weekend, New York City opens its doors to more than 150 public spaces across all five boroughs – free of charge As a city known for its glitz, glam, and, let’s be real, grime, it’s surprising to find that every October for one full weekend, New York City opens its doors to more than 150 public spaces across all five boroughs – free of charge – Open House New York (#OHNY).
Launched in New York in 2001 by founder Scott Lauer, one of New York’s well-known innovators in architecture and design, OHNY allows hundreds of thousands of NYC residents and visitors to recognize the stunning architecture, design and creativity that perseveres in a city that can sometimes wear you down… as fast as a New York minute.
And to think, I only found out about this wonderful weekend-long initiative because someone left a Time Out New York magazine on the subway and I flipped through its owner-less pages to pass the time on my 50-minute subway ride home. I almost skipped past the OHNY pamphlet stapled in the middle, thinking it was nothing but a lame advertisement. But I was surprisingly wrong.
During this weekend excursion, I captured two events that really blew my mind away: The New School's Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (@SJDCParsons) and the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden (@NYBG).
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center – “Stereotype: New Directions of Typography” 66 5th Ave., Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Greenwich Village (New York, NY)
What attracted me to this gallery is its view on the intersection of technology and design to expand the boundaries of traditional typography. In a world where texts messages replace handwritten letters, it’s impressive to see how artists and innovators are transforming the way we communicate.
Oded Ezer, an Israeli digital projection artist born in 1972, fuses spoken word with its visual form, the written word. In this typographic video, Ezer creates new definitions of typography by looping a continuous flow of photos of mouth movement to display visuals letters across a screen. In this piece, called ‘Feedback,’ Ezer mouths the full phrase: “The grain that was stored against famine, in giant silos. The alertness of the guards was check constantly. These guards were known as "Minuteman".
New York Botanical Garden – “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life”
2900 Southern Blvd., Belmont (Bronx, NY)
Frida Kahlo – a major influence among progressive artists the world over. What I find so inspiring about Kahlo’s works is the way in which she incorporates the natural world and pieces of our Earth into dynamic, soul-filled and sexualized connections with humans, both in living and non-living form. The NYBG recreated her casa azúl and the open space garden surrounding her home and her inspiration.
While the exhibit featured 10 of Kahlo’s original works, that portion of the exhibition was held to a strict ‘no photography’ policy.
For ongoing OHNY events happening through the rest of the year, check out their blog at blog.ohny.org.
A New York transplant via Atlanta, Traci Brodnax admires the world through of public awareness of all the things that inspire creativity. A public relations professional by day at a global firm, Traci spends her off-hours searching for the art, culture and music frontrunners who influence the way individuals perceive and carry on cultural trends. Follow Traci on Twitter and Instagram at @PRtraci.