A Memory of Astoria
By Ilija Sekulovski
The artist commissioned for the painting is Eztra Wube. Ezra Wube (b. 1980, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; lives in Brooklyn) works with video, installation, drawing, painting, and performance. Reflecting on his identity as a person of two cultures at the intersection of tradition and modern life, Wube makes work about the uncertainty of time and place and the malleability of memory.
A Memory of Astoria, commissioned for the Museum’s lobby, is an impressionistic portrait of the blocks surrounding the Museum. Wube walked the neighborhood to observe the area’s confluence of cultures, focusing on everyday moments, sights, and sounds. He reconstituted these experiences into a poetic visual collage, inserting himself as a silhouetted observer exploring the memories of his walks.
The production of A Memory of Astoria was an intensive, months-long process, with each frame painted in sequence on top of the last. The result is striking: street scenes assemble and disassemble on their own, leaving visible marks of the past as if time and space have melted together. Through these impressions, Ezra Wube reveals a diverse, rapidly changing neighborhood that the Museum has called home for more than 25 years.
The installation was organized by Jason Eppink, Associate Curator of Digital Media, and will be on display until January 8th, 2015.