AN ALARM-RED STRUCTURE, STAGE, AND CREATIVE HUB STOOD IN ASTOR PLACE.
FOR ACTIVATION AND OCCUPATION BY YOU—THE ARTIST, ACTIVIST, RABBLE-ROUSER,
PERFORMER, TEACHER, STUDENT, DREAMER, NEIGHBOR, AND BYSTANDER!
Situated on Astor Place, one of the city’s most historic and iconic plazas, Rashid Johnson’s Red Stage was a public invitation to experiment and create after a year of chronic anxiety. Drawing on histories of conceptual art and speaker’s corners, the sculpture was a literal and metaphorical platform for participation and contestation as we built a future within and beyond the pandemic.
Throughout the month of June, artists responded to the invitation to celebrate and interrogate the necessity of public space through the frameworks of resurgence, assembly, remedy, call and response, civic action, and play. Musician Jason Moran sonically ushered in the possibility of freedom on the Sunday after Juneteenth; artist Charlotte Brathwaite in collaboration with Sunder Ganglani, Kai Pelton, and y.o.u. initiated Echo Location, an intimate public reading embraced by song; nightlife makers Papi Juice hosted The Portal, inviting a constellation of talent that asked us to reconsider our relationships to public space and each other; Chinatown Art Brigade led a teach-in on abolition in Asian-American communities; C. Spencer Yeh and friends hosted a karaoke night; For Freedoms brought in joyous civic action leading up to the New York City primary elections; The Stonewall Protests with Black Trans Liberation took over the stage on Pride Sunday for a day of pride, joy & revolution; comedic performer Morgan Bassichis created and presented a soon-to-be hit musical, and so much more. View the full schedule here.
We called all artists, organizers, community-builders, makers, and passersby to join us on The People’s Platform. The invitation was open for you to answer the emergency call: what new ways of togetherness are born from times of crisis?
Lead project support for Red Stage was provided by Max and Monique Burger, Burger Collection Hong Kong; Molly Gochman; The O’Grady Foundation; and an anonymous donor. Red Stage is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The project would not have been possible without site support and collaboration from the NYC Department of Transportation’s Temporary Art Program (DOT Art) and the Village Alliance.
Major Creative Time programming support for 2021 has been generously provided by Arison Arts Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, The David Teiger Foundation, the Destina Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Open Society Foundations, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and The Willem de Kooning Foundation. We are also grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in partnership with the City Council; and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.