Robin Michals exhibits "Castles Made of Sand" in the Living Room Gallery at Saint Peter's Church
July 2 through September 11, 2016.
Free and open to the public daily.
This installation is presented by Midtown Arts Common in cooperation with Saint Peter's Church.
About the workStarted in 2010, Castles Made of Sand is a series of photographs of the low-lying areas of the New York metropolitan region that are threatened by sea level rise. Hurricane Sandy was a harbinger of this reality and all of the locations shown in this series were damaged by that storm. These locations represent all the constituencies that make up New York from the towers of commerce in Lower Manhattan to NYCHA housing in Coney Island. Significant infrastructure of the city including the petroleum distribution system and elevated trains are also found along the city’s shores. The waterfront will be re-engineered to handle increasingly severe weather and higher water levels or New York City will be devastated in the coming decades. Choices will be made about what to protect, what to change and what
to abandon. Castles Made of Sand gives a local account of this narrative that is unfolding globally.
And while Castles is a chronicle of New York City’s waterfront as it faces an uncertain future, it has also grown into a consideration of what draws people to the water’s edge. As the urban waterfront has been de-industrialized in New York and the use of the waterfront has shifted to residential and recreational uses with greatly increasing public access, it has become the most vital contact with nature for many New Yorkers. In 1989, Bill McKibben declared the end of nature in a book of that name, contending that there is no longer anything that can be said to be outside of human activity. We have altered the temperature of the planet and the chemistry of the ocean. Yet the water still has a force that is not completely under human control. You can feel it as you stand at the water’s edge, a place people go to for solace and inspiration, to feel the connection of romance as well as the peace of solitude. Castles Made of Sand uses the color right at and after sunset to display the majesty of the water and the sky, a vestige of nature that can be directly experienced in the urban environment.
About the Artist
Robin Michals is a photographer whose work focuses urban landscape. In 2015, she was a visiting artist at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Several images from her series, Oakwood Beach, a community in Staten Island that was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy and that is in the process of being bought by the state and returned to nature, are included this spring and summer in the Alice Austen House’s Staten Island Unlimited exhibition. Images from her series, Castles Made of Sand, begun in 2010, of the low-lying areas around New York City that will be impacted by sea level rise, have been seen in exhibitions at Boston’s Copley Society, the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, the Davis Orton Gallery as well as at the Kingsborough Community College Gallery in Brooklyn. Her series Toxi City: Brooklyn’s Brownfields was exhibited at the Brooklyn Lyceum in 2009 with support from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Puffin Foundation. She teaches photography at New York City College of Technology, City University of New York. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Planning your visit
Saint Peter's Church is located at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.
Gallery hours: daily 9:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M.
The Church building sometimes closes early.
Call 212 935 2200 for exact closing times.
Saint Peter’s Church is accessible to all people at the building entrances on Lexington Avenue and on 54th Street.
The E, M (weekdays only), 4, 5 and 6 trains stop nearby. As do the M57, M31, M50, M101 and M103 buses.