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Raju Mann

President & CEO
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Mildred Howard’s “The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than its Own” Now on View through Summer 2021

Builds on Battery Park City’s Public Art Legacy

The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) introduced on Saturday, October 24 a new public art installation by renowned mixed-media artist and educator Mildred Howard on Belvedere Plaza, just north of the North Cove Marina in Battery Park City. The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own (2011) is constructed of automotive steel and laminated glass, and is the latest fulfilment of the Authority’s strategic goal to create and promote public art that transforms public space, encourages social cohesion, and promotes awareness about cultural and civic challenges. On loan from the Sacramento County Department of Airports, the installation will be on view through summer 2021.

“Battery Park City’s public spaces have become even more vital to our community, and they are enlivened by inspiring public art pieces,” said BPCA President and Chief Executive Officer B.J. Jones. “From Sunset, Sunrise (Revolution) to Blessing of the Boats and more, we are continuing our recent efforts to build on the Authority’s public art legacy, and highlight the importance of meaningful and engaging installations, now accentuated with Mildred Howard’s remarkable work, The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own.”

The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own is an interactive, purple glass house sculpture, into which (and in keeping with social distancing protocols) a party of up to three or four people may enter at one time. The purple glass panels that comprise the walls and ceiling are partially mirrored, allowing visitors to see themselves reflected and in a different hue. The house is intentionally situated in a location along the Battery Park City waterfront for visitors to view the Statue of Liberty from within the house and through its doorway. Visitors must wear masks or face coverings at the site.

“The notion of home has been an ongoing investigation and interest for decades in my sculptural installations. As an unmistakable symbol of home, the house suggests a city that is sensitive to the experiences of its diverse population and celebrates their complex history and multicolored beauty,” said Mildred Howard. “This house is a bridge between the east and west coasts, and between New York City and the world. Viewers are standing both in real time and history, sharing experiences of both the past and the present. They see reflections on mirrored fragments of 19th Century letters and consider reasons that people arrive in America; for freedom and opportunity, from fear or by force. It is exciting and deeply moving to be able to frame the Statue of Liberty through the doorway of my art. As Americans experience a racial reckoning and mistreatment of immigrants, does the refuge and safe haven symbolized by Lady Liberty seem more of a dream than a reality?”

“Mildred Howard was aware early on that the accomplishments and struggles of her community and most African Americans were untold and important to share. Born into a large family who migrated from Galveston, she is the youngest child of community activist parents. Her participation in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements strengthened her determination to become an artist. Her art is frequently inspired by personal histories, expressed with everyday materials, and infused with beauty and pride. She creates imaginative places where viewers are made to feel invited in, free to question the status quo, and find inspiration and courage to work for more justice for all,” said Abby Ehrlich, Director of Community Partnerships and Public Art. “Following a spring and summer of global demonstrations and in the midst of an unprecedented world health crisis, we welcome the shelter, courage, and beauty this art offers; the time could not be more right. We hope visitors of all ages will enjoy it.”

Amalia Mesa-Bains, PhD, curator, artist, and MacArthur Fellow has lectured on the artist and said: “In the course of an artist’s life, the influences and inspirations often cease to be so explicit but, perhaps, occupy a subtle and internalized mentality. It is within this mark of experience, of family, and the day-to-day that Mildred Howard finds her foundation.”

“I thank Mildred Howard for sharing her vision of how a home gives us meaning and the symbolism of its placement framing the Statue of Liberty along the waterfront – an essential outdoor space for New Yorkers seeking respite during this challenging time, said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “I also applaud the Battery Park City Authority for their ongoing support of public art meant to inspire and move us, enriching our community with this latest installation.”

“The Sacramento County and its Department of Airports is very excited to work with Battery Park City Authority’s public art program and loan this fabulous piece of art for exhibition with the New York community,” said Sylvia Ambrogio, Chief Administrative Officer of Finance & Administration, the Sacramento County Airport System.

The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own is the latest temporary art installation in Battery Park City, following recent launch of the Poetry Path (in conjunction with Poets House, through 2021), Blessing of the Boats (Muna Malik, part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River 2020: Four Voices), Raining Poetry (with Poets House, recurring), and Sunrise, Sunset (Revolution) (Autumn Ewalt & Dharmesh Patel, 2017-2019 at Pier A Plaza; now permanent in Rockefeller Park). This summer Battery Park City hosted the first-ever, all-virtual Battery Dance Festival, and is also home to a celebrated permanent public art collection as well as various museums and memorials located throughout its 92-acre site.

About the artist: Known for her sculptural installations and mixed-media assemblage work artist and educator Mildred Howard creates activist art through her representations of race, racism, injustice, and compassion. The California-based artist’s mixed media assemblages explore themes of migration, shelter, family history, and “home”. Exhibited widely, Mildred has been active in teaching and frequently collaborates to create public installations. With a celebrated career, Mildred has received numerous awards, including a Grant in Sculpture by the National Endowment of the Arts and a Lee Krasner Award in recognition of a lifetime of artistic achievement, the Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Artists, Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, a fellowship from California Arts Council, and the Douglas G. MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award at San Francisco Art Institute, among others. Mildred Howard’s works are represented in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the de Young Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and San Jose Museum of Art.

The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own is on view at Battery Park City’s Belvedere Plaza through Summer 2021.
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