After the Plaster Foundation, or, “Where can we live?”
Themes of mobility, property, gentrification, shelter, possession, and dispossession take on new forms in "After the Plaster Foundation, or, 'Where can we live?'," group show at the Queens Museum that features work by a dozen contemporary artists.
The ever-sardonic Sondra Perry reconfigures a backhoe to consider the defunct Seneca Village—a free Black land-owning community complete with hundreds of residents, three churches, a school, and two cemeteries—that was built in 1825 and razed by 1860 for the construction of Central Park. In a similar vein, Ilana Harris-Babou's video work Fine Lines (2020) stars her mother in a makeup tutorial, during which she receives increasingly personal and absurd messages from real estate companies wooing her for her apartment; "I miss you," one reads.
Elsewhere, the home is personified, punned upon, and otherwise reconfigured. Douglas Ross's Abstraxi (2014) [pictured], for instance, considers the displacement of Indigenous peoples through a monumental tapestry. The seemingly resplendent pattern on its surface in truth derives from satellite images of construction projects.
Meanwhile, Betty Yu's Resistance in Progress (2020) engages directly with development as a social issue. Entailing interviews, community events, and printed material designed by Yu, the ongoing project documents and amplifies locally led demonstrations against zoning proposals that would see Flushing's waterfront converted into luxury condos.
Douglas Ross, Abstraxi, 2014 (detail). Jacquard-woven tapestry, steel. Courtesy the artist.