The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is hosting a really cool exhibit by New Orleans artist Jana Napoli:
“Moved to action by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, Napoli collected hundreds of drawers from the flooded and abandoned neighborhoods in the days and months that followed.
“In this site-specific installation, the drawers sit upright along a 230-foot-long platform, which spans the length of Liberty Street Bridge — standing like empty luggage without their passengers and flowing like a levee, broken in places. Beneath the drawers, placed in intervals along the platform, moving-message LED signs silently repeat the words of the people who have parted with these drawers. Their words reminisce and mourn:
“‘I thought New Orleans would be a good place to go for rain and history, and it was.’ . . . ‘Having to throw your furniture out in front of your house — your life is sort of taken from you and sort of dumped out in your front yard.’ . . . ‘New Orleans was here before America was here and we are a part of America.'”
The show will be up ’til Feb. 9. There’s a free reception and walk-through (with the artist) tonight, from 6:30-8:30 p.m (again, at the Liberty Street Bridge of the World Financial Center). I’ll be there, and then hit up the ACT-I-VATE party at the Village Pourhouse.
0 thoughts on “tonight: "floodwall," followed by ACT-I-VATE party”
Despite it being in a sterile, corporate environment, it’s a powerful installation. Just seeing all those individual drawers from all those people’s homes, many with mold, extensive water damage, etc. The assembled drawers really do form a sort of wall, or levee, and there are parts with broken drawers to symbolize the breaches.
Wish I could see it. In the front room of our house we had a lovely old secretary/desk that had been in the family for a long time. After the storm it was in a desperate state. The top drawer which had stayed above the water was swollen shut from the moisture. Everything below was disintegrating. We shipped it off to some furniture-savvy cousin’s to see if they could save it (they couldn’t), but they did manage to get the drawer open and sent us a box full of the contents–letters and other little memorabilia–that we had forgotten was even in there and weren’t expecting to ever see again. It felt like a little time capsule. It was a welcome and touching surprise.
thanks for your testimonial. what was so striking about the “floodwall” piece was the multiplicity of personality — the idea that each drawer represented a unique household with a multitude of storm-related experiences.
once again, it boggles the mind to try to imagine the scale and scope of the disaster.
also, it was fascinating to see how different all the drawers were! big ones, little ones, skinny ones, fat ones, plain ones, ornate ones, all in different colors and different states of (dis)repair.
So glad you were interested in the Floodwall project. It now stands as a wall in the Baton Rouge LA State Musuem. We continue to collect drawers, but now peopel are bringing them in to us. I still hope to do the complete inatallation, which will have all of the drawers 700 & be 8 ft. high & about 200 ft. long