Nov. 12: Opening Reception for NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future

NYC Trash

Join us for a brunch reception on Sunday, November 12 at noon to celebrate the opening of NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future.

We will be joined by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, representative for District 34 and Chair of the council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. Representatives from the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability of the NYC Dept. of Sanitation will distribute free bags of compost to promote their new curbside Organics Collection program.

$5 admission includes complimentary coffee courtesy of Oslo Coffee Roasters and light refreshments. Brunch cocktails and Brooklyn Brewery beer available by suggested donation.

This exhibition presents the stories behind New York’s solid waste, from “one man’s garbage is another man’s gold” to the inventive ways New Yorkers are reusing and recycling. It traces the trajectory of waste management in New York, from the squalid nineteenth-century tenements documented by Jacob A. Riis, to the Dead Horse Bay landfill and the beginnings of the NYC Department of Sanitation at the turn of the century. It also addresses the mid-century landfill of Fresh Kills on Staten Island and the ecological restoration project currently underway to convert this site into park space.

The exhibition culminates in profiles of seven artists and nonprofits that offer innovative ways of considering waste now and in the future:

  • Mierle Laderman Ukeles, whose work highlights overlooked social aspects of trash disposal. Update: Mierle Laderman Ukeles will attend the Nov. 12 reception for NYC Trash. Unfortunately, her artwork “The Social Mirror” will not be on display at the Reliquary. DSNY has discovered damage to the truck that precludes moving it from its storage facility. Ukeles’s 1983 work The Social Mirror will be on display at the Reliquary for the November 12 opening reception.
  • Larry Racioppo, NYC 2016 Best Unknown Photographer, whose work focuses on the urban landscape. See his recent blog post for the Brooklyn Public Library.
  • Hack:Trash:NYC, aims for zero waste sent to NYC landfills by 2030. Their 2017 hackathon invites creative solutions to waste management.
  • Industrial/Organic, dedicated to converting organic food waste to high-value resources
  • Lower East Side Ecology Center, a nonprofit that collects electronic waste and separates it for reuse and recycling
  • Materials for the Arts, a nonprofit that collects and distributes art supplies and materials to nonprofit organizations with arts programming and public schools
  • RISE Products, creates nutritious ingredients from upcycled organic byproducts, which reduces waste and preserves the environment

The exhibition will also explore the role of trash as cultural archive through objects selected from the Treasure in the Trash collection of Nelson Molina. In his thirty years on the job as a DSNY employee, Molina amassed a monumental collection of ephemera picked from the castoffs of everyday New Yorkers. Read more about his museum in this New York Times article.

NYC Trash! runs from November 2, 2017 to April 29, 2018. A display of trash art by a number of local artists will complement the exhibition and will open in the Reliquary sculpture garden on April 5, 2018.

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This exhibition is generously sponsored by:

Jacquelyn Ottman (author of The New Rules of Green Marketing and founder of WeHateToWaste.com)
Sims Municipal Recycling

Sun Bear Media

Closet Archaeology extended through October 15, 2017!

Clost arch extend

Due to popular demand, Closet Archaeology: An Accidental Time Capsule will run through October 15. This show presents 20th-century ephemera discovered under the floorboards of the Children’s Workshop School/P.S. 61 by a class of fourth-grade students led by their teacher, Miriam Sicherman. The students have compiled an archive of everyday artifacts ranging from ca. 1915 to ca. 1991. In addition to uncovering objects of the quotidian past, the students have also reached out and connected with some of the former students, now adults of advanced age, who lost items under the floorboards many years ago.

The Reliquary exhibition has received coverage in Atlas Obscura and Bedford + Bowery. Miriam Sicherman has discussed the project in Social Studies and the Young Learner (Nov/Dec 2015). The project has also been covered by The New York Times.

The Triangle Waist Factory Fire Memorial Quilt

To commemorate the 106th anniversary of the Triangle Waist Factory Fire, The City Reliquary will display Robin Berson’s memorial quilt in its front room exhibition space until May 2017.

The Triangle Waist Factory Fire
On Saturday, March 25, 1911, at 4:45 pm, almost closing time, a fire broke out on the 8th floor of the Triangle Waist Company located one block east of Washington Square Park at Washington Place and Greene Street. The owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft. Fire escapes collapsed by the weight of the workers dropping them to their deaths. Workers on the 10th floor were warned by telephone and escaped to the roof. No one warned the workers on the 9th floor. A locked exit door trapped the workers on the 9th floor. Surrounded by flames many of the workers jumped to their death. Fire trucks arrived but their ladders only reached the 6th floor and the rescue nets could not hold the force of the bodies jumping from such a height. The heroic elevator operators ran the elevators as long as they could as workers pressed into the cars; some tumbled down the elevator shaft. In the end, 146 people died.

Triangle 3 Triangle 2



The Triangle Fire—and the memorial quilt—represent an appalling moment in history, but one that drew an intelligent, far-reaching reform response across America. The fire became a rallying cry for the international labor movement and resulted in numerous state and national workplace reforms. Many of our fire safety laws were created in response to this tragic event. That is the history we must keep alive, for the sake of every working person in the country (and, in this globalized world, every worker everywhere). The need is greater than ever.

The Memorial Quilt

The Triangle Factory Fire Memorial quilt is one of two quilts in the series Workers Memorial Quilts created by quilter, author, and historian Robin Berson. The two quilts honor garment workers who died in twin workplace disasters that bookended the past century: the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 and the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse of 2012 and 2013 in Bangladesh.

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Conceived, Designed, and Sewn: Robin Berson
Contributors: Sandra Cain, Donna Choi, Deanna Gates, Pauline Hazard, Genevieve Hitchings, Maureen Hyslop, Jennifer Merz, Rena Rappaport, and Lea Williams Rose

To make this quilt, Robin Berson put out a call to a number of quilters’ guilds, assorted artists’ circles—and quite a few women. The quilt includes blocks by four quilter’s guild members: Sandra Cain, Pauline Hazard, Maureen Hyslop, and Rena Rappaport; two members of Robin’s knitters’ circle: Lea Williams Rose and Deanna Gates; and three students from an FIT class on illustration: Donna Choi, Jennifer Merz, and Genevieve Hitchings.  Robin created the rest of the blocks herself, in some cases working from old family portraits and archival photos, but in most cases tinkering elaborately with enlarged images from small photos in 110-year-old newspaper clippings.

In addition to the factory worker victims, the quilt also depicts the two heroic elevator operators, Joey Zito and Gaspare Mortilalo; and the African American porter, Thomas Horton.

Texts on the quilt include passages from beloved labor songs and quotes from notable American figures on the rights of workers—from Frederick Douglass to Dwight Eisenhower to Myles Horton—plus a listing of all the victims’ names.

The memorial quilts have been displayed at numerous small museums and galleries in New York City; the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; Iona College; the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, through the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. In March 2015 they were featured at the conference of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, hosted by Fordham Law School. For International Women’s Day 2016 they were part of a day-long presentation on the Triangle Fire at Hofstra University. The Triangle Quilt is featured in the book Quilts and Human Rights, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu.

For more information see:

Sonic City: New York’s Innovative Musical Instrument Makers

soniccity_PR image

The City Reliquary proudly presents:
May 26 through September 18, 2016
Opening reception: Sat., June 4 @ 7pm

This exhibition shines a light on over a dozen of New York’s most innovative musical instrument makers. It brings together rare instruments such as boutique handcrafted guitars and master-built basses, effects pedals, high-end headphones, and synthesizers to illustrate the central role of NYC in music history past and present. While the primary focus is instrument makers currently operating in or around New York City, the Big Apple’s musical instrument past forms an important component of this show, with a spotlight on turn-of-the-century piano manufacturers and other master craftsmen from a bygone era.

The opening reception on Saturday, June 4th at 7pm will include live music by Iced Ink, one of Brooklyn’s most exciting all-instrumental rock-fusion trios. Admission is free, plus one comped drink per guest. Visitors will have an opportunity to play some of the most rare and unusual instruments made in New York and interact with otherworldly sound-manipulating devices!

RSVP to the Facebook event!

Check out our sweet video teaser for #SONIC_CITY

The instruments on display are produced by artists and companies that have served acts such as Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Victor Wooten, Wilco, and U2:
Kelvin Daly Instruments
Sadowsky Guitars Ltd
Fodera Guitars
Gretsch Drums from Fred W Gretsch III
Dean Gordon Guitars
Pensa Guitars/Rudy’s Music
Rick Kelly & Carmine Street Guitars- Home of Kelly Guitars
Ken Butler Hybrid Instruments
Death By Audio
Critter & Guitari
Headphones from Grado Labs
Tech 21 NYC Effects

Public programming for this exhibition will include a concert series in the Reliquary’s beautiful backyard oasis. Dates are still being added. Check cityreliquary.org for updates and keep your ear to the ground!
SONIC CITY is curated by Ben Wigler, vice-president of The City Reliquary, former proprietor of Williamsburg venue Tiger Lounge, and veteran of the NYC music scene. Interactive displays designed by Alex Hornbake, with exhibition design by the City Reliquary’s president Bill Scanga. Special assistance provided by Retrofret Vintage Guitars and Steve Maxwell Drum Shop.

brooklyn-brewery-logo-goldThanks to our sponsors at Brooklyn Brewery!


Visionary Streetscapes

Chase Ferguson, Mixed Vehicles 2, Mixed Media, 2012-2013Visionary Streetscapes: Works from Pure Vision Arts
On view January 21 –  May 15
Opening Reception Saturday, January 30 at 6 PM

This exhibition at The City Reliquary presents works by Oscar Azmitia, Susan Brown, Chase Ferguson, and Howard Schefflin. All artists are from Pure Vision Arts, Manhattan’s first specialized art studio and exhibition space for artists with autism and other developmental disabilities.

The drawings, paintings, and sculptures featured in this exhibition reveal the spirit of New York through representations of the familiar. Each artist uniquely captures the frenetic energy and strange beauty of daily life in the city through images of commonplace people, places, and things. In some cases, the artist’s use of unorthodox materials adds an additional dimension of complexity to the work. The gallery below shows just a sample of the works on display.

All artwork in this exhibition are available for sale.

RSVP to the reception via our Facebook event!

Pure Vision Arts (PVA) is an initiative of The Shield Institute. Located in Chelsea, PVA is a not-for-profit that provides art materials, studio space, and exhibition opportunities to a growing number of talented artists who are garnering mainstream attention for their work.
This exhibition is funded by a grant from the New York State NYSCA Logo - BlackCouncil on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Image Credit:
Chase Ferguson, Mixed Vehicles 2, Mixed Media, 2012 – 2013, courtesy of Pure Vision Arts

Turning Point: a celebration of cycling and art

Amy Bolger and The City Reliquary present Turning Point: a celebration of cycling and art. Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, May 20 at noon.

turning point