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First Lady Chirlane McCray and Gracie Mansion Conservancy Announce the Opening of Catalyst: Art and Social Justice

Final, largest Gracie Mansion art exhibition of de Blasio Administration explores the connections between art, protest and social change

NEW YORK—First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Gracie Mansion Conservancy will open the final art exhibition of the de Blasio Administration today with an extraordinarily diverse and provocative show that examines art and social justice through over 75 works by more than 50 artists and activists since the 1960s.

Catalyst: Art and Social Justice will be the largest ever art exhibition at Gracie Mansion. It brings together mostly living artists –many of them New Yorkers and all with some connection to the City. Guided by seven themes, these artists, activists, student groups and collectives present their takes on some of the biggest challenges of our times:  racial inequality; climate change; ableism, homophobia; immigration reform, misogyny and more.

Catalyst showcases an array of important contemporary artists. Many have identified with groups that are under-represented in mainstream art. They include: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Teresita Fernández, Martine Fougeron, Jeffrey Gibson, Jenny Holzer, Baseera Khan, Glenn Ligon, Miguel Luciano, Gordon Parks, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Robert Rauschenberg, Lorna Simpson, Tattfoo Tan, Hank Willis Thomas, and Nari Ward. The work of several additional artists, including Alexandra Bell, will be installed over the course of the exhibition, on display through Summer 2021.

As the culminating exhibition of the de Blasio administration, Catalyst reflects the Administration’s efforts to make Gracie the “People’s House,” a place where the history and the lives of all New Yorkers are reflected.

“The provocative final installation at The People’s House demonstrates the transformative power of the arts—and how profound and essential art is when promoting social justice,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. Catalyst highlights the triumphs and difficulties, internal and external, of people as individuals and members of movements and communities as they wrestle with climate change, racism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia and more. Catalyst puts us in the middle of urgent national public conversations. This exhibition is certain to upend perceptions, expand awareness, and fire the imagination.” 

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