CitizenM Unveils its ‘Citizens of the Bowery’ in Lights
CitizenM officially launched its “Citizens of the Bowery” project on Tuesday night with the illumination of their photo-stocked windows.
As previously reported, artist Christelle de Castro transformed sixty-two of the hotel’s windows by inserting portraits of members from the community, including residents, workers, and small business owners. By nightfall, the twenty-story, out-of-context development resembles old photo slides behind a light box.
There is also the requisite hashtag spray-painted onto the building announcing same.
Notable portraits include Eddie Huang, Michael Musto, tattoo artist Mehai Bakaty, among others. (We’re told that participants were paid.)
At least one so-called Citizen is not too happy with the new light pollution, though…
As any downtown New York city resident knows, the Bowery has long since lost its edge. The Dutch owners of the new CitizenM Hotel at the corner of Bowery and Delancey seem not to have registered that the Bowery now resembles a slice of Park Avenue South more than the 1980’s grit it pretends to embody. Unfortunately situated at one of the most congested intersections of the city – one that will only get 1000 times worse with the imminent closing of the L train – CitizenM is trying to convince guests that its 400 tiny ship-like berth rooms are worth a stay.
Unless you are into poverty porn, enjoying a frisson of fear and complacency as you stroll past the growing encampment of homeless people living just up the block, there is no reason to stay in this latest massive disruption to the neighborhood. The huge facade lit up at night by full panel portraits of artists is a serious source of light pollution, mocked by locals who remember when artists did actually live on the Bowery. Infused with a commercial enthusiasm for a street and a scene long demolished by developers, CitizenM makes a sad effort at appropriating the very past it is helping to bury.
Meanwhile, a slew of street artists and writers were tapped to paint the interior stairwells and hallways.
I am completely and utterly speechless and I am so humbled. My first art show was back in 2005 in San Francisco. I used my financial aid money to produce 4 commercial grade light boxes which I used to showcase my street photography. It was my thing, every exhibition I had, those light boxes went with. 2018 marks my 10th year in New York City, my chosen home where I’ve been blessed to build the most loving chosen family. Last night we unveiled my new public art installation, Citizens of the Bowery, with the new downtown @citizenm. This body of work features 62 portraits of people that make this community so colorful & progressive. I want to thank @citizenm & @kesselskramerlondon for this incredible platform and for giving me and my studio #Stoneman full control over this project. Thank you to Dave, Jen, & Tash at KK, Thank you to Noreen & Maurice at citizenM, Thank you to my support system Felix, Curt, Margaux, Steven, and Sky at @imglens. A HUGE thanks to my team, Ashely, Cynthia, Duck, Kat, Victoria, Cathryn, Jovany & Katherine. Thank you to my family & friends for carrying me to this point in my life. Remember it was just 4 light boxes in 2005. Today it’s 180 light boxes across 22 stories for the city I love. My heart is full. Grandma I know you were there. Blessings to you all! 🙌🏾😩😱🤩😭❤️💘🙏🏾🏙🗽❤️🍎 #citizensofthebowery #christelledecastro #publicinstallation #exhibition #citizenm #newyorkcity #bowery Thank you @kimannfoxman for this footage. For anyone with pics or vids from this night, pls hit me thru WhatsApp! ❤️