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Art for Change: The Artist & Homeless Collaborative

December 3, 2021 – April 3, 2022

Homelessness is a more urgent crisis than ever before, as New Yorkers look to stabilize their communities and support those in need through efforts large and small. Art for Change: The Artist & Homeless Collaborative examines the history of modern homelessness in New York City and the response of artists and activists in the 1980s and '90s. 

Central to the exhibition is the Artist & Homeless Collaborative, an innovative New York City public art project in the early 1990s founded by conceptual artist Hope Sandrow. Residents of the Park Avenue Armory Shelter for Homeless Women joined with professional artists to create collaborative work, exploring the transformative potential of art in public and private life. Together with volunteers from the art world and activist groups including the Guerrilla Girls, Women’s Action Coalition, and Visual AIDS, the women residents called attention to their experiences through exhibitions, published work, and activist poster projects.

Displayed alongside ephemera, photographs, and video, featured works include John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres’s Ernestine and Three Friends (1992)—a group of painted plaster life-cast busts of four shelter residents held in New-York Historical’s collections—as well as projects led by Ida Applebroog, the Guerrilla Girls, Whitfield Lovell, Hope Sandrow, Judith Shea, and Kiki Smith.

Curated by Rebecca Klassen, associate curator of material culture, and Laura Mogulescu, curator of women’s history collections, with Tracey Johnson, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Center for Women’s History, and curatorial intern Lisa Diaz Louis.

Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.



Media sponsor:

Creative: Tronvig Group