"Street Art, Street Life"
If you go to the Bronx only once this year, go for this: a block party with B-girls, street eats and a dope art exhibit.
Tue Sep 9 2008
Illustration: Jesse Philips
RECOMMENDED: Street art and graffiti guide
“Back in the day, when there was no AC, people sat outside and were forced to listen to whatever music the neighbor played out the window,” says Holly Block, executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts. “So even our music traditions are influenced by street life.” It’s precisely this double-edged inspiration—city as muse, city as nuisance—that the BxMA explores in its new exhibit, “Street Art, Street Life: From the 1950s to Now.” The showcase coincides with the reopening of the newly renovated Grand Concourse, and it details the sights, sounds and fashions of the asphalt jungle—in New York and around the world. Jamel Shabazz, Jacques de la Villeglé, Lee Friedlander, Claes Oldenburg, Garry Winogrand, Yoko Ono and Amy Arbus have all contributed pieces. And in the spirit of that which influences great art, on Sunday 14, BxMA takes the party back to where it all began: the street.
READY TO GO? “Street Art, Street Life: From the 1950s to Now” Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St, Bronx; 718-681-6000, bronxmuseum.org). Sun 14–Jan 25. Block party: Sun 14 noon–6pm.
Tacos are the new hot dogs when it comes to street fairs. And though Patty’s truck is usually parked at 86th and Lexington, it’s hunkering down on the Grand Concourse today. Queue early for the tasty cemitas poblana (a thick and spicy meat sandwich stuffed with avocado and poblana peppers).
End your summer with a scoop of locally made sherbet from Delicioso Coco Helado. Though its name literally translates to “delicious coconut ice cream,” it offers 16 fruity flavors including mango, tamarind and pineapple.
What’s a street fair in the Bronx without a dance-off? B-girl Anita “Rokafella” Garcia and her Full Circle Soul crew jack up the boom box and perform every hour on the hour.
Turntablist, documentarian and Reel X Project founder DJ Laylo drops beats spanning the musical stratosphere, from merengue to Afrobeat. (Request “Livin’ la Vida Loca” at your own peril.)
Hang around the artisans’ tables and you’ll see why the Bronx gives Queens a run for its multiculti money. From Korean knotting art and ceramics to tees screen-printed with ghetto-fab street scenes, the selection is diverse and scarily affordable.
As an extension of her “Bronx as Studio” project, mixed-media artist Xaviera Simmons mans an outdoor portrait studio, where children can dress parents up in silly attire and pose for a family photo. Fear not, Facebookers: You’ll get a copy to take home.