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One cluster of the New York art world A-list have contributed their bold-faced name power to an open letter addressed to New York Mayor Bloomberg. The vague letter highlights the plight of the Rockaways while explaining that the signatories “support the city in your amazing, monumental efforts in all boroughs to save our city and to encourage the creative communities in New York to invent exemplary ways of helping out neighbors and fellow New Yorkers!”
The Rockaways in Queens have been hard hit by post-tropical cyclone Sandy and MoMAPS1 director Klaus Biesenbach has been tweeting about the area all week:
i feel like hurricane SANdy KATRINA swept my house and garden away….i cannot get there… i have no way to see the damage…
— Klaus Biesenbach (@klausbiesenbach) October 30, 2012
He also wrote a Facebook appeal three days after the storm to “consider MoMA PS1 a HOME and a SHELTER during this time of difficulty in New York. MoMA PS1 will be open to the community.”
The “Open Letter to Encourage Mutual Citizen Support” is signed by a long list of artists, including Marina Abramović, Doug Aitken, Laurel Nakadate, Cindy Sherman, and Ryan Trecartin, and it includes the names of pop stars like Lady Gaga and Madonna, and movie people like Gus Van Sant and Gwyneth Paltrow.
This is the current version of the Open Letter, which was emailed to Hyperallergic from Biesenbach on Monday, November 5:
Open Letter to Encourage Mutual Citizen Support
New York City Artists Unite to Support the Rockaways and the Flooded Areas of New York City
Dear Mayor Bloomberg and All Fellow New Yorkers,
The Rockaways geographically, as you know, are the area that is breaking the waves between the Atlantic Ocean and JFK Airport and New York City in general. Demographically, it is very diverse and not a privileged area.
In recent years, the Rockaways became an incredible inspiration and haven for the artists and creative community of New York. As the Rockaways are, at their best, a melting pot between the local community and the creative energies of the city, it is a location where New York is anticipating and creating the images and dreams we all live on.
Hurricane Sandy completely devastated the peninsula, and a couple of days after the storm, families with children are still standing next to their destroyed and ruined houses trying to keep warm without food, water, electricity, heat, or internet.
The artistic community is sending you this letter to support the city in your amazing, monumental efforts in all boroughs to save our city and to encourage the creative communities in New York to invent exemplary ways of helping our neighbors and fellow New Yorkers!
Anthony D. Curcio Jr.
Anna Deavere Smith
Rockaway Artists Alliance
Gus Van Sant
Here is the original letter via Biensenbach’s Twitterfeed: