Women’s Labor Movement, Civil Rights, Gay Rights and Urban Housing Cooperatives
Location: Co., 24th and 9th, Chelsea Manhattan 2017
The physical spaces we occupy are not limited to the physical properties of material and/or location. This mural represents the convergence of select spatial and temporal narratives that have participated in the construction of, inhabitation of, or perpetuation from this locale.
Through the lens of architecture and urbanism, distinct social narratives converge and are represented by symbolized tension and quantum connectivity. Set within a framework, multiple and varied “agents” relate through the collection and release of tension at different points. These high points of tension represent events that belong to the contextual narrative of Co. and it’s relationship to both New York City and American history.
The line work intentionally creates spatial distortion, projecting a simulation of the convergence of past, present and future, thus redefining the rigidities of physical space and our perception of it.
These following events connect at Co., unifying the past with the present and ultimately distorting our lens to what invisible histories perpetually surround us:
1962: Building Construction and Urban Context
Built in 1962 with the sponsorship of the International Ladies Garments Union under a series of Government provided tax abatements to provide affordable housing for low to moderate-income workers. Mutual Redevelopment Houses, Inc. (or Penn South), located in Chelsea Manhattan, own the building within which Co. Restaurant resides. Chelsea, as a neighborhood, has provided community for LGBTQ and is marked as one of New York’s historical gay villages.
1900: Formation of the International Ladies Garment Union as one of the first labor unions with a majority-female leadership, and saw its highest membership in 1969 with over 40,000 members.
1909: The ILGU participated in one of the largest New York City Mass Strikes in 1909 known as the “Uprising of 20,000”. Women’s Labor Rights movements joined with Immigrants labor rights movements and fought against the Conservative labor leaders who denied both groups’ capacity to organize. They succeeded in greatly improving working conditions, pay, contracts, and access to unemployment benefits.
1962-1987 Bayard Rustin, a leader in the early Civil Rights Movement and openly gay, lived in the housing cooperative in Building B, Apartment 9J.
1964: New York Race Riots begin in Harlem. Bayard Rustin helped to initiate a 400,000-person boycott of New York City public schools in a protest against segregation
1983: Bayard Rustin testified on behalf of the New York Equal Marriage Bill of the 1980’s.
2013: President Barack Obama granted Rustin a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom stating:
“Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all. An advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he promoted nonviolent resistance, participated in one of the first Freedom Rides, organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities at home and abroad. As an openly gay African American, Mr. Rustin stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights.”
MURAL INSTALLATION: Queens, New York
False Prophets: They Sold Us Lies to Steal Our Tongues
(4’ W x 16’ H)
Detail, Demonization from Classification
Reflect inward_Reflect outward
Demonization from Classification
Detail, Demonization from Classification (approx 9’Wx 15’L)