Tag Archives: MoMA PS1

Lady Pink: Graffiti’s feisty first lady


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Graffiti was a man’s world— until she painted it pink.

Lady Pink, graffiti’s first and fieriest female figurehead, still reigns supreme as an icon in the American art arena. While her medium switched from subway cars and cinderblock walls to canvas over the years, the Astoria-based creative is still spreading her message — art is everywhere.

Lady Pink, born Sandra Fabara, emerged on the scene in 1979, when girl power prevailed and the public worshipped fierce, feminine idols like Charlie’s Angels and Marsha Brady. Riding on pure personality and perseverance, at 16, she busted into the proverbial boys club, proclaiming that girls could do anything boys could do, only better. The older male artists adopted her as their little sister and influenced by her fixation on historical-romance novels, they bestowed upon her the intentionally girly and definitely regal moniker, “Lady Pink.”

In the early 1980s, she scaled fences and scrawled her designs on subway cars.

“It was all about the adventure and the fame,” she said. “It was less about the art then, it was just teenagers having fun.”

She was expelled from the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan after some kids from the Bronx shot up the school during her first graffiti exhibit. While no one was killed, a stray bullet struck a kid in the back and injured him. After a heated argument with the principal and the dropping of a single f-bomb, Lady Pink’s show was shut down and she was told to leave school.

She said she didn’t like school anyway, but went on to graduate from public school.

In 1982, Lady Pink starred in the film “Wild Style,” a graffiti hip-hop amalgamation that elevated her to cult figure status. Regardless of the seemingly inseparable connection between the musical genre and the art style, Lady Pink says it’s a lifestyle she never subscribed to.

“The grassroots beginning are connected,” she said. “Other than that, there is little we have in common. They lump us up as background art so it can be a nice complete culture that can be packaged and sold. The truth of the matter is most graffiti writers are only exposed to the music of the area they come from.”

While working, Lady Pink listens to The Beatles and Metallica.

Graffiti remains, according to Lady Pink, very much its own entity, retaining what she feels is an incredibly sexist attitude.

“My background grants me respect but I see other young ladies struggling to be heard and seen,” said Lady Pink. “We have to bust our butts twice as hard to be seen and noticed.”

When she and her husband, another prominent graffiti artist whose tags terrorized multiple mayors throughout the 1970s and 1980s, work together on projects for their professional muralist company, she has him deal with the overtly-macho and occasionally misogynistic contractors and construction workers. She believes it’s about playing the game and not fighting nature.

A lifetime of running the streets, she says, prepared her.

“Graffiti to us when we’re young is like what people go to college for,” she said. “It’s boot camp for artists — how to work fast — how to work with sharks at your throat. It’s how to survive in the real world.”

Even though a portion of the population still regards graffiti as a nuisance and an eyesore, Lady Pink believes the art form gained legitimacy through sheer exposure. The artist has shown work in countless galleries and museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles and the MoMA PS1. Nevertheless, there are always people waiting below her scaffold, ranting about the bright colors of the mural she’s painting.

“I get robbed, I get insulted, I get harassed by the police,” she said. “I welcomed the invention of the Walkman. I put on my music and shut them out.”

Lady Pink mentioned the newly announced demise of 5Pointz – graffiti’s holy land, recently fated to be closed and turned into high-rise apartment buildings. She hopes the displaced artists will find artistic refuge somewhere else, but recognized the city’s shortcomings in artistic preservation.

“That’s progress in New York City,” she said. “All murals are fleeting. You paint it and kiss it goodbye.”

The loss, she says, will be devastating in the annals of art history.

In contributing to the continuity of art, Lady Pink teams with kids from the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts. They design and paint public murals around Astoria and Long Island City, covering walls under the Hell Gate Bridge with sweeping images from Greek myths.

“I put the kids in big situations because that’s what happened to me,” she said. “Kids perform better when they’re given responsibilities and tasks beyond their comprehensions — their confidence grows.”

She insists her apprentices bring their own music to listen to while they paint.

“Music makes better art,” said Lady Pink. “I don’t know how art can happen in the quiet.”

Together, they put on their headphones and drown out the noise of the world.

What to do in Queens this weekend


| sarahyu@queenscourier.com

The Unisphere was lit-up red for American Heart Month

THURSDAY, JULY 5 – SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

The Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats are coming back to Queens Theatre, located at 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Flushing. There is a new cast, new acts and new thrills! Performances will include a combination of acrobatics, traditional dance, costumes, ancient/contemporary music and theatrical techniques. Wednesday through Saturday, the show times are at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. On Sundays, the show time is 3 p.m. Tickets for all seats are $32 while the Family 4-Pack is $100 with the coupon code FAM4.

FRIDAY, JULY 6-AUGUST 24

6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m., the Queens Museum of Art kicks off its Target Passport Fridays July 6, which runs for eight weeks this summer. On Fridays the museum has free outdoor events featuring live music, dance performances and film screenings, centering on a different country each week.

FRIDAY, JULY 6

10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., the Senior Theater Acting Repertory (STAR), are holding tryouts because they are looking for upcoming performances. It will be at the Queens Village Library, located at 94-11 217th Street in Jamaica. Please call 718-776-0529 for more information.

4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., the Court Square Wine & Spirits, located at 24-20 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, will be having their weekly free wine and spirit tastings.

5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., the Noguchi Museum, located at 9-01 33rd Road in Long Island City, has a First Fridays feature which includes a pay what you wish admission with an extended evening hours. Beer and wine will be offered at the cash bar and a special programming will include “Center of Attention,” and others.

9 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., the Mariachi Flor de Toloache, the all-female mariachi band, will be performing at the Queens Kickshaw, located at 40-17 Broadway in Astoria. For more information, visit their website at www.mariachinyc.com.

7 p.m. – 3 a.m., Rocky McBride’s, located at 27-01 23rd Avenue in Astoria, will be hosting a Neon 80’s & 90’s party. Come out wearing your favorite NEON and enjoy the night with drink specials and more!

SATURDAY, JULY 7 – SATURDAY, JULY 28

9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Super Soccer Stars is holding summer classes at Forest Hills High School, located at 67-01 110th Street in Forest Hills. Saturday morning classes all summer long for children that are 2 years old and older. For additional information and to enroll, call 212-877-7171 or visit their website at www.supersoccerstars.com.

SATURDAY, JULY 7 – SEPTEMBER 8

Every Saturday this summer, MoMA PS1, located at 22-25 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, is having an outdoor series that will have live music, sound, performance and DJs. It is held at their courtyard. From 2 p.m. – 9 p.m., the admission fee is $15 and this includes access to all exhibitions and Warm Up.

SATURDAY, JULY 7

8 a.m. – 4 p.m., GrowNYC will be holding their weekly Greenmarket at Socrates Sculpture Park, located at 32-01 Vernon Blvd in Long Island City. The market will serve the Long Island City and Astoria communities with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables along with family-friendly activities every week.

10 a.m., Gantry Plaza State Park is in need of volunteers to help take care of the plants and habitats of the park. Come and volunteer for a couple hours to help keep the park beautiful for the community. No previous experience is necessary.

1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., Resobox, located at 41-26 27th Street in Long Island City, is holding their weekly Japanese ink-painting class.

1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hallets Cove is having their weekly free kayaking or canoeing session at the Long Island City Community Boathouse, located at 31-05 Vernon Blvd in Long Island City. No reservation or experience is needed. People of all ages are welcome but those that are under 18, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. You must be able to swim and must wear clothing and footwear that you won’t mind getting wet. Last sign-in is at 4:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, JULY 8

8 a.m., the 5th annual Tour de Queens 19-mile family-friendly bike ride starts and ends at Flushing Meadow Corona Park, in the plaza between the Queens Museum of Art and the Unisphere, and will take riders through neighborhoods of Flushing, East Flushing, Murray Hill, Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechurst and Whitestone. It will take place rain or shine.

11 a.m. – noon, certified instructors from the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA, will be offering Tai Chi classes at Socrates Sculpture Park, located at 32-01 Vernon Blvd in Long Island City. Classes are free and designed for all experience levels. Participants should wear comfortable clothing.

1 p.m. – 2 p.m., Resobox, located at 41-26 27th Street in Long Island City, will be holding a Japanese Anime Character Drawing session for kids who are 5-11 years of age.

At 3 p.m., the Noguchi Museum, located at 9-01 33rd Road in Long Island City, is holding a performance by ETHEL, a post-classical string quartet for their Music is the Garden series.

 

What to do in Queens: July 4 holiday


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Even though you can’t see fireworks in Queens, there are still plenty of fun things to do around the borough this Fourth of July holiday.

 

TUESDAY, JULY 3

Fireworks at Citi Field
Following the 7:10 p.m. Mets game vs. the Phillies, the Mets will have its annual fireworks night at Citi Field. Don’t have tickets to the game? You can catch a great view of the fireworks from other location near the stadium, including the Home Depot parking lot, located at 131-35 Avery Avenue.

 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4

Independence Day Festival in Queens Village
Starts at 10 a.m. at Sanford Avenue between Main Street and Union Street

Louis Armstrong Birthday Tours 
Louis always celebrated his birthday on the Fourth of July. The Louis Armstrong House Museum honors him by remaining open  from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  for special tours that include celebratory birthday photos, audio clips and a complimentary cupcake for kids 12 years old and under.

Skyline Princess NYC Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise
Skyline Princess’s Fourth of July Dinner cruise features a five hour cruise with a front row seat for the famous Macy’s fireworks display in New York Harbor. The cruise boards  from the World’s Fair Marina in  Flushing Meadows at 5:30 pm. Sailing time: is at 6:00 p.m. and it returns at 11:00 p.m.

Free Summer Movie at Socrates Sculpture Park
Celebrate July 4th with a program of short films that is funny, revelatory, dramatic and all-American. “The American Experience” starts at 7:00 p.m.


THURSDAY, JULY5

Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats
The Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats are coming back to Queens Theatre, located at 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Corona Park in Flushing. There is a new cast, new acts and new thrills! Performances will include a combination of acrobatics, traditional dance, costumes, ancient/contemporary music and theatrical techniques.

Sissy McGinty’s Trivia Night
Sissy McGinty’s, located at 25-67 Steinway Street in Astoria, is holding their weekly Trivia Night from 9 p.m. – 11:45 p.m. This week, they will be celebrating the Fourth of July and there will be drink prize for the round winners and a bar tab for the champion.

 

FRIDAY, JULY 6

First Fridays at the the Noguchi Museum
The Noguchi Museum, located at 9-01 33rd Road in Long Island City, has a First Fridays feature which includes a pay what you wish admission with an extended evening hours (5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.). Beer and wine will be offered at the cash bar and a special programming will include “Center of Attention,” and others.

Rocky McBride’s Neon 80’s & 90’s Party
Rocky McBride’s, located at 27-01 23rd Avenue in Astoria, will be hosting a Neon 80’s & 90’s party f rom 7 p.m. – 3 a.m. Come out wearing your favorite neon and enjoy the night with drink specials and more!

Mariachi Flor de Toloache
The Mariachi Flor de Toloache, the all-female mariachi band, will be performing at the Queens Kickshaw, located at 40-17 Broadway in Astoria, from 9 p.m. – 11:30 p.m..

 

SATURDAY, JULY 7

Warm Up at MoMA PS1
Every Saturday this summer, starting July 7, MoMA PS1, located at 22-25 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, has an outdoor series that features  live music, sound, performance and DJs. It is held at their courtyard. From 2 p.m. – 9 p.m., the admission fee is $15 and this includes access to all exhibitions and Warm Up.

 

 

 

‘Framing’ an Institution


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

MoMA PS1 has a brand new “frame.”

Congregated in the brand new entryway at MoMA PS1, members of the art community and local officials came to celebrate the unveiling of the very vestibule in which they stood.

The new entrance “kiosk,” located on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, is approximately 140-square-feet of artfully-designed concrete — its walls adorned with quarter-sized portholes, allowing the sun to stream through.

“[This entryway] has been long anticipated and long in the making,” said Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1, who added that the extension of a new doorway will contribute to the re-mapping of New York City by bringing creative neighborhoods together.

Agnes Gund, Chairman of the Board at MoMA PS1, was enthusiastic about the wonderful influences incited from collaborations between the museum and various groups around Queens.

“It’s hard to do a structure like this, make it interesting but keep with the structure of the building,” said Gund.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer also spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, thanking Biesenbach for his endless, grand ideas and steadfast dedication to improving the establishment.

“This project is so important because it contributes to the neighborhood,” said Van Bramer. “I’m really glad this is happening here, at this institution, at PS1.”

Van Bramer also hinted at the possibility of a High-Line-type park, to be built above the facility sometime in the future.

Terri Osborne offered a few words on behalf of Borough President Helen Marshall, expressing the BP’s happiness in having the privilege of spending tax payer dollars on an organization such as MoMA PS1 that will benefit not only the Long Island City neighborhood, but all of Queens.

Yvonne Force-Villareal came to the ceremony to support her husband, Leo Villareal, the artist commissioned to create the light structure surrounding the entryway.

“I’ve been coming to MoMA PS1 for decades,” said Force-Villareal. “For me, this structure formalizes it in a way. Even though it’s an entrance, it’s like a frame. It gives it the attention it deserves. It’s astounding.”