Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY, Towards Renewed Public Autonomy

(feature image photo by Meg Stein)

For 14 years, odd happenings have stretched out across the 14th street corridor in Manhattan, NY. Artists, designers, dancers, performers and creators have created ephemeral experiences to engage passersby for Art in Odd Places since 2005, when Founder/Artist Ed Woodham envisioned the festival as a means to reclaim public space by the same creative set continually forced out of New York City apartments by rising rents and luxury condos. The festival continues with its 14th iteration, BODY, from October 11-14 on 14th Street (Ave C to Hudson River) and – for the first year ever – in a gallery, at Westbeth gallery space Oct 4-27.

Unseen/Reclaimed Exhibition view, photo Walter Wlodarczyk

This year’s festival curator, Katya Grokhovsky, proudly emphasizes this additional space as necessary to give increased exposure for this year’s participating artists: artists who, for the first time in AiOP’s history, solely encompass feminist collectives, fem-identifying and non-binary artists with the theme, BODY. “AiOP BODY centers around the agency, autonomy and visibility of the female – identified and non-binary body in the public space and the urban environment,” notes Grokhovsky. “Both the exhibition and the festival include works which utilize humor, absurdity, gesture, actions, performance and various media and materials to explore the notion of the body as a site, as a particular battleground, especially poignant in our political climate.”

Participating artists in this year’s festival include Jessica Elaine Blinkhorn, LuLu LoLo,  Elaine Angelopoulos, Deborah Castillo, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Esther Neff, Amy Finkbeiner and Christen Clifford of No Wave Performance Task Force, Nicole Goodwin, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Dakota Gearheart, and many, many more. Projects range from Jody Oberfelder’s poignant Madame Ovary, which incorporates a safe space for discussing the body as site for agency, intuition, and birth; Yali Romagoza‘s Meditating my way out of Capitalism and Communism. 12410 days of Isolation, investigating traumas, displacement and the immigrant experience.

Yali Romagoza for Art in Odd Places (image by Katya Grokhovsky)
In a time when average rents for an apartment along the Art in Odd Places festival route costs upwards of $4k/month, according to RentCafe’, the need for visible and creative public art is more dire than ever. Particularly important in a social climate denigrating and ignoring women’s voices, such as our current moment in the wake of governmental actions such as the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation, AiOP 2018: BODY is here to remind us that women’s voices – and agency – always matter.
Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY public street festival takes place Oct 11-14, 2018 along 14th street from the Hudson River east to Ave C.
Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY exhibition, Unseen/Reclaimed, takes place at Westbeth Gallery from Oct 4-27, 2018. Public programs forthcoming, including a panel on the body & public art takes place on Oct 18th, 6-8 pm with closing festivities on Oct 27th. Gallery hours are from 12 pm – 6 pm, Tues-Sat.
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