Traveling exhibition of photographs, sounds, and stories, Warren Lehrer & Judith Sloan.
Includes: 90 photographic portraits, 13 sound stations, a mobile photo-storybooth, and reading stations. The Crossing the BLVD book serves as a catalog. The exhibition is often paired with public programing including performances, panel discussions, workshops, a local satelite exhibition, and the use of the Crossing the BLVD book as a text or common reader.
The CTB exhibition premiered at the Queens Museum of Art in 2004 and has, so far, traveled to 14 locations in the United States including: The Maryland Institute College of Art; The Hudson Museum, Orono Maine; Art Museum University of Memphis; Godwin-Ternbach Museum; Neuberger Museum of Art (SUNY Purchase); Weber State University (Utah); Ohio State University; University of Tennesse, Knoxville; Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester), Rutgers University; the Bronfman Center Gallery at NYU, and other sites.
The multimedia documentary exhibition reflects the changing face of America, and the living history of the immigrant experience, post 1965 USA Immigration Act. 90 photographic portraits by Warren Lehrer portray the pride, beauty, struggle and colorful humanity of individuals who have crossed through war zones, borders, oceans, and cultural divides. Many of the photographic compositions incorporate elements of the subject’s story and reflect the daily crossings people make between cultures, expectations, and in their search of a new and not so new identity. Some portraits are juxtaposed with others to form group portraits of families, neighborhoods, co-workers, teammates, classmates, fellow exiles or band-members. Portraits are paired with short narrative excerpts of the subject’s monologues; contextual maps of the country or countries of origin overlaid with maps of Queens neighborhoods; panoramic landscapes; and reproductions of objects and images that Crossing participants have carried with them from home to home. Sound stations produced by Sloan in collaboration with Lehrer of text/audio compositions and original music by Scott Johnson, enable visitors to hear the voices of those portrayed in the exhibition. There is also music of some of the Crossing the BLVD participants, including Gogol Bordello, Christine and Dinu Ghezzo, and Kingsley Ogunde. An ambient soundscape of people praying, voices on the streets, found and composed music, bring visitors into this crossroad of the world upon entering the exhibition. The Crossing the BLVD Mobile Story Booth invites visitors to contribute their photographs and their own (or their parent’s or grandparent’s) migration stories to the Crossing the BLVD archive of first-person narratives.
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Listen to “Crossing Queens Boulevard.” Malika Kalontarova, voice and hand drum. Arthur Gulkarov, voice. Scott Johnson, electric guitar. Audio composition by Judith Sloan and Warren Lehrer.
Listen to “Cargo Flight to Nowhere.”Bovic Antosi, spoken word. Kingsley Ogunde, vocals and piano. Audio composition by Judith Sloan and Warren Lehrer.
The Crossing the BLVD exhibition helps instigate and facilitate dialogue across cultural and disciplinary boundaries at universities, museums and community centers throughout the United States—through public events, panel discussions, performances and readings, lectures and worksops. Themes and topics have included: • Immigration: Old and New • Impact of Post 9/11 Laws • Refugee and Human Rights • Cross-Cultural and Cross-Religious Dialogues/ Race and Immigration • U.S. Foreign Policy, War/Peace and Immigration • Art and Social Change. It provides an opportunity for collaboration within universities and with local community organizations. Its concerns overlap with the following areas: • Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Religion, Oral History • Asian Pacific American, Middle Eastern, Latino/a, Caribbean, Africana Studies • American/Ethnic/Cultural Studies • Performance/Media/Communication Studies • Photography/Visual Arts/Artist Books • Graphic Design/Music and Sound/
Above, Warren Lehrer leads a workshop for design students who have created their own companion exhibition in conjuction with the Crossing the BLVD exhibition at Weber State University in Utah. The exhibition provides a template for students to do their own visual art, audio, and oral history projects.
Lehrer and Sloan presented performance/readings from Crossing in conjunction with the exhibition. Judith now presents Crossing as a solo show and directs ensemble productions with other actors and with college and high school students.
Sloan and Lehrer produced Crossing the BLVD documentaries and audio works for a variety of public radio programs. Here are two of those pieces:
Labib’s Cafe: Sharing the Bad TimesIn an Egyptian cafe on Steinway Street in Astoria, hate is spilled and calmly mopped up four nights after the Sept. 11th attack on the World Trade Towers. Judith Sloan talks with owner Labib Salama and his customer Nasser Elgabry about the return of the four boys who ransacked his coffee shop. Aired Sept. 30, 2001, Jan. 5 2002, and March 9, 2002 on PRI’s The Next Big Thing. Produced, narrated, edited by Judith Sloan with the assistance of Warren Lehrer.
Draguh Tata (Dear Dad)When Raluca Oncioui opened up a Christmas card one year she found out her father had a secret son in Romania. The family tells the story of coming to America from Communist Romania, and coming together after years of keeping secrets. Aired Weekend America, Dec 13, 2008. Voices: Raluca Oncioui, Ian Oncioui and Liviu Oncioui. Yuri Lemeshev, accordion. Produced by Judith Sloan with Warren Lehrer.