In 2014, High Line Art presented Pier 54, an empirical exhibition with ties to the renowned Pier 18 by artist and curator, Willoughby Sharp. The 1971 Pier 18 project called on 27 male artists to create sculptures, installations, and actions within the abandoned Pier 18, photographed by artists Harry Shunk and János Kender. Pier 54, however, would enlist the help of 27 female artists to respond to the changing landscape of the Manhattan waterfront. One of the featured female artists was photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier.
Documented by photographer Liz Ligon, Ruby Frazier staged a photo shoot that featured the artist waving flags that adorned historical photographs, such as immigrants at Ellis Island and other deportation portals. Titled A Human Right to Passage, Ruby Frazier's project is a homage to the pier's former industrial role as a site for moving both goods and people – a site both of abstracted labor and personal history.
This flashback in time is particularly significant as Ruby Frazier was selected as one of the fellows to receive the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" for 2015. Joined by 23 other fellows, Ruby Frazier will receive a $625,000 stipend over a five-year span.
Images: Pier 54: LaToya Ruby Frazier, A Human Right to Passage, 2014. Photos by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 LaToya Ruby Frazier, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.
Learn more about our current High Line Art commissions.