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Photography Exhibit Documents People and Landscape of Staten Island

By Nicholas Rizzi | March 3, 2016 10:13am
 The Alice Austen House Museum new exhibit featured Staten Island through the lens of 35 photographers.
Staten Island Unlimited
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ROSEBANK — A new exhibit aims to show the sights and people of Staten Island through the lens of photographers who live and work in the borough.

The first "Staten Island Unlimited" show at the Alice Austen House Museum will feature 35 artists' photographs of different scenes around the borough to celebrate what would have been Austen's 150th birthday.

"We feel like one of the greatest ways we could celebrate her is to showcase the photography that’s happening today," said Janice Monger, executive director of the museum.

"Staten Island artists are underrepresented citywide, so we really wanted to create an opportunity for that work to be seen."

The exhibit, which opens on March 12, will highlight 13 photographers whose work focused on the  borough, including black-and-white images by Irma Bohorquez-Geisler that trace recent immigrants from Mexico and a portrait of Tompkinsville after the death of Eric Garner by Gareth Smit.

"That's obviously a major event that's happened in the past few years that needs to be addressed," Monger said about Smit's series. It will be the first time it's been shown in the borough.

"There's a real range in the show and it's going to be a lot of work that hasn't been widely seen."

Aside from the 13 featured artists, the exhibit will include work from 25 other photographers — including Willie Chu, Luke Crisalli, Lisa Dahl and Anthony DePrimo — ranging from pictures of homes in Staten Island to portraits of local musicians.

The museum put out an open call for images in December and eventually got 200 submissions. A panel of jurors — New York Times Lens blog co-editor James Estrin, VSCO senior producer Meagan Ziegler Haynes, VICE photography editor Elizabeth Renstrom and Staten Island Arts deputy director Monica Valenzuela — whittled it down to 35, Monger said.

"Staten Island Unlimited" will run until Aug. 31 and the museum will host two talks, on April 20 and May 22, on artists dealing with the borough as a place and as a community, Monger said.

The museum plans to do a "Staten Island Unlimited" juried show every three years, with future exhibits focusing on a more specific theme, Monger said.

"I do think it's something that we hope could grow the next time, we might present it beyond the walls of the museum," Monger said. "Based on this experience, there really is a wealth of images."

"Staten Island Unlimited" will have an opening reception on Saturday, March 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Alice Austen House Museum, 2 Hylan Blvd.