HowNosm recently spent two weeks transforming a dilapidated, abandoned dwelling in the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx with their floor-to-ceiling ‘Reflections’ installation. Their mesmerizing new work is part of the upcoming ‘This Side of Paradise’ (4.4), curated and organized by No Longer Empty, an NYC-based group focused on reinvigorating communities by presenting art exhibitions in vacant buildings. The intriguing history of The Freedman House, a 1920’s retirement home designed to accommodate down-on-their luck, former members of e upper class seeking to maintain a certain refined lifestyle, provides a rich and temporally relevant context for the show’s artists and its viewers.
For Reflections, HowNosm took a sculptural approach, transforming a run-down, vacant Freedman apartment into a sleek, abstract space resembling modern soundproof rooms. The room’s conical projections, referencing the diamonds often found in their murals and paintings, extend from the walls and the ceiling in a more or less uniform, relentless manner. The artists painstakingly created each of the projections out of cut heavy-duty paper, a time intensive method which simultaneous belies the installation’s sleek, pristine, almost manufactured look and echoes their street art ethic honed through countless hours painting intricate, large-scale murals. The ‘reflections’ are provided by a mirrored floor which creates the illusion of an endless arsenal of ominous spikes. In the middle of the room, lies what has quickly become their artistic signature – their split-face character propped up at an angle to confront visitors. To heighten the foreboding nature of their vision, the twins installed simple yet haunting single red light bulbs suspended from the ceiling. While interpretation is left to the viewer, the installation seems to echo (and reflect) the life experiences of the former residences of the Freedman Home who endured the highs and lows of life with an intimate first-hand understanding of the dual-edged, often ephemeral nature of extreme wealth.
Photos: Courtesy of Simjee Textor