Warren Lehrer

1001 Voices: An Anthem for a New America
An installation of visual poetry written by Judith Sloan, visualized by Warren Lehrer.
2017, CUNY Law School/Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice
Long Island City, New York

The poem—written by Sloan, visualized by Lehrer for 17 contiguous street-level windows at 2 Court Square in Long Island City—portrays a message of welcome and inclusion as it celebrates the Law School’s mission: “law in the service of human needs.” The installation features an excerpt from Sloan’s libretto of 1001 Voices: A Symphony for a New America, which pays homage to recent waves of immigrants and refugees to the United States and re-envisions Emma Lazarus’ sonnet The New Colossus (written in 1883 for the Statue of Liberty). The symphony was commissioned by the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Music composed by Frank London. Libretto written by Judith Sloan. Projected Visualizations designed by Warren Lehrer. At a time when “sanctuary” cities like New York are under attack for their efforts to protect immigrants and asylum seekers, this public work adapted from the symphony—located across from the Court Square subway station on a bustling street in the most diverse county in America—sheds the light of poetry and art on a national crisis that is dividing the country and calling into question the meaning of the “American Dream.”

The window installation is part of the Sorensen Center’s Justice Through Art Initiative, a collaboration between the CUNY Law School community and artists “in order to bring new perspectives and depth to social justice issues and legal challenges.” Lehrer’s panoramic design sets discrete phrases within the poem into their own panels—through typography, photography, color, shape, metaphor. Each of the 17, six-and-a-half foot wide panels float within a street level window. The panels are double-sided, enabling viewers to interact with the poem inside and outside of the building. The installation instigates a series of dialogs and performances beginning in September, 2017, at CUNY Law School.

The Panels

installation and site photos