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Fanny Allié, A Bench for the Night, Photograph Courtesy of the Artist

Fanny Allie, A Bench for the Night

May 18, 2015 to May 1, 2016
PS1 Greenstreet (Jackson Avenue and 46th Avenue), Queens
, Queens

Please note: This is a past exhibit that is no longer installed in the park.

Description:

Artist Fanny Allié raises awareness about homelessness in her public art installation A Bench for the Night. Her wooden bench is shaped in the silhouette of a sleeping person, a reminder that a public bench is a potential bed for some New Yorkers.  She is interested in personifying the bench while subtly referring to the dehumanization of people living on the streets.

A Bench for the Night is a continuation of Allié’s focus on this important social issue. In 2014 she took part in the Engaging Artists Residency organized by the Artist Volunteer Center and More Art, which primarily focused on homelessness. Engaging Artists encourages local artists to deepen their understanding of socially engaged art through volunteer opportunities and interactive workshops with professionals in the fields of fine art and activism. During this six–week program, participants were required to volunteer at least a half a day per week at a local charitable organization.

In 2013, Allié also exhibited the public artwork Serendipity in Tompkins Square Park. The sculpture was a life–size, steel silhouette of a formerly homeless man who spent much of his time in the park. Furthermore, A Bench for the Night is the continuation of her earlier neon sculpture The Glowing Homeless created in 2011 for Bring to Light: Nuit Blanche New York in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The Glowing Homeless was a neon outline of a human form that rested on a park bench. By rendering the homeless person in neon light asleep amongst the park’s crowds she created an alluring object using an attractive material that reversed the normal reaction of avoidance and instead drew people towards the form on the bench. Allié’s new A Bench For the Night will invite the audience to sit on the bench, an interaction between the public and the artwork that was not possible with The Glowing Homeless.

While A Bench For a Night primarily alludes to homelessness, the piece also reflects one’s desire to seek an isolated place to rest and remove oneself from the continuous movement of the city. When preparing for this exhibit, Allié noticed a lack of seating in the immediate vicinity. By placing the bench–sculpture in this small plaza, she has created a new social space that simultaneously raises awareness on homelessness among the general public, as well as artists and art–lovers visiting MoMA PS1 located across the street.

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