As part of the ongoing transformation of 8th Avenue and 42nd Street, a new work of public art by Artist Kai McBride will be unveiled Tuesday, September 23rd on the corner of 8th Avenue at 44th Street. The temporary photographic installation appears through the end of October on an 80-foot long construction fence.
Entitled “Facing Florida: Self-Projecting Sunbelt Citizens”, the installation displays carefully- cropped photographs of Floridians who advertise themselves and their businesses on Sunshine State bus benches, bus shelters and billboards.
“Facing Florida” explores the very American phenomenon of local roadside self-advertising. Photographs of smiling and earnest real estate agents, car dealers, beauty queens, lawyers and future homeowners are captured against genuine Florida suburban landscapes. McBride’s images will join the hundreds of cutting-edge and often high-tech billboards that define Times Square. This visual contrast and contest is part of the sensory experience that tourists and New Yorkers expect of the Crossroads of the World.
“8th Avenue is already gaining a reputation as an Avenue of Architecture and, thanks to the savvy work of Mr. McBride and others, we’re also exploring its possibilities as an Avenue of Art,” said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins. “Contrasting the personal small business advertisements from Florida with the towering billboards and hi-tech signage of Times Square continues our tradition of presenting the unexpected.”
The installation is part of the Times Square Alliance’s expanding program in public art and enhancements to 8th Avenue. In July, the Alliance partnered with the Fashion Center Business Improvement District to sponsor the “Nature Matching System” mural by Tattfoo Tan at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 8th and 42nd Street.
Kai McBride: After receiving his MFA from Columbia University this spring, Kai McBride now teaches photography at Queens College and Mercer College. He was awarded the D’Arcy Hayman Scholarship and has exhibited in spaces in Long Island City and East Hampton. He arrived in New York only two years ago from western North Carolina where his work was exhibited in the legendary Black Mountain. He was born in Hawaii in 1972.