NEW YORK, NY.- The Times Square Alliance
presents a month-long public art installation which showcases 95 photographs by Hidemi Takagi chronicling packaged food imports from 47 countries found in shops in immigrant neighborhoods across New York City. Blender is the first public art project to be projected on the seven video monitors at the entrance to the Times Square Visitor Center. The images are accompanied by descriptions of the neighborhoods and locations of the shops offering tourists a different way to experience New York City.
The Visitor Center installation with its color-saturated images of candy wrappers, canned food or cookie boxes -- produced around the world and sold in 35 immigrant neighborhoods throughout New York City -- includes a unique vendor cart stacked with sample foods, the book Blender, and free postcards of five photographs with the locations of the shops. Outside, all 95 photographs from Blender have been installed on the sides 25 trash cans on the Broadway Plazas.
The Times Square Alliance is always looking to showcase art that represents the diversity of urban life, said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. Every day hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world seamlessly mingle in Times Square making it the perfect stage to spotlight Hidemi Takagis unique images which offer us all a lens into New Yorks immigrant communities and culture.
Takagi replaces standard advertising with an alternative that clearly demonstrates the international character of New York residents and businesses, said Glenn Weiss, Manager of Public Art and Design for the Times Square Alliance. In this space dominated by gigantic images of global products and brands, these small products have a powerful emotional connection to home for many from Egypt, Colombia, Hungary, Serbia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Senegal and 40 other countries.
The look of these food packages often has an old-fashioned feel: bright, saturated colors and outmoded designs that are rare both in Japan, where Im from, and America, where I now live, said New York City-based artist Hidemi Takagi. The packing of these products is a form of art that tells stories and helps remind people that their culture is alive.
On Thursday, August 4, the artist will offer a special presentation of her project from 1-2 p.m. at the Times Square Visitor Center and mini-museum at 46th Street and 7th Avenue. From behind a specially designed food cart, Takagi will give each visitor an ethnic candy with information on the location of the shop and the immigrant neighborhood where she purchased the item such as Brighton Beach, Ridgewood, Jackson Heights, and Flushing.
Blender is part of the Times Square Alliances ongoing efforts to bring the best of contemporary art to Times Square. The Blender project is supported by Metromedia Technologies, Inc. and Flaere Gallery.
Times Square Arts presents temporary cutting-edge art and performances in multiple forms and media to the 360,000 to 500,000 daily visitors to New York Citys Times Square, making it one of the highest profile public arts programs in the United States. Since its inception, Times Square Arts has featured works by a diverse group of more than four dozen prominent and emerging artists. It is funded by the Rockefeller Foundations Cultural Innovation Fund, which works to spur and support cultural innovation in New York Citys creative sector; and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Born in Kyoto, Japan, Hidemi Takagi moved to New York in 1997, where she attended the International Center of Photography and the National Academy of Design. Currently, Takagi lives and works in New York City. The Blender Project has been displayed at The Dollinger Art Project in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2007.