As NYC stands on the precipice of institutional re-openings of all sorts, from timed entrances into museums, to restaurants that will soon invite diners indoors, we’ve become accustomed to a certain distance from our fellow denizens. Making the most of this situation, Brooklyn artist RAE has staged his upcoming exhibit, Community Spread, as an “open-air” art crawl. A collection of mixed-media works composed of discarded toys, household appliances, and various other elements that exist amongst the debris of this ever-evolving city, have been carefully installed in the quiet corners of a normally restless lower Manhattan. Starting this weekend, he will invite the public to tour them.
This scavenger hunt of sorts allows for patrons to maintain their distance while winding their way from Chinatown to Tribeca, led by the artist’s app, RAE BK, which will be available for download from the App Store on Friday, September 11 at midnight. Installations take shape in underutilized crevices, elevator banks of barren businesses, and street-level billboards. They reflect upon the anguish of loss and isolation we’ve endured collectively, with the hope of inspiring the emotional and cultural reanimation of this treasured metropolis. The opening culminates at a sundown screening in a lower Manhattan lot of a short-film called Chrysalis, where we can all “be alone together” while watching one of the artist’s characters experience their own journey of reincarnation and reflection of what it is to have the city be a part of one’s self. A reminder that you can run all you want, retreat into the wilderness, but for many of us, this city is unshakable.
Given the unsanctioned nature of this street art show, one of Rae’s billboards was not long for this world. Luckily it was snapped by street photographer Luna Park.
To learn more about RAE’s work check out his Instagram @RAE_BK, and download his namesake app from the app store on Friday to tour the show.