Occupying Wall Street is a visual record of the protest in Zuccotti Park. Each week artist Accra Shepp makes twenty to thirty portraits of individuals who are participating in the demonstration. Using a 4x5 view camera with black and white film, Shepp’s vision slows down the action of the protest and allows the viewer to exercise a sustained gaze. The project’s home in the vitrine space of the Steven Kasher Gallery provides a street level view for all who pass by. As the Occupy Wall Street protest continues, Shepp will add new images on a weekly basis to the installation. Visitors are invited to contribute their comments on the protest and the images in a ledger at the gallery.
The portraits illustrate the personal face of the protest. They reflect the diverse individual characters of those who have spontaneously come together to speak out against economic inequality. The portraits also show the full range of the participants in the protest. This includes those who are residing in the park, those who visit during the day, curious onlookers who come to gain more understanding, the police who are a constant presence, the press and other image makers, and those who live and work in the area. It is all of these groups that make the full protest, each contributing a layer of meaning.
This installation is to help the public understand who the protesters are and by extension what the protest is. There is currently a fundamental disconnect between image of the protest that exists in the popular media and these images that come from the actual site of the protest. The images seek to erase this gap by establishing a clear image of the demonstration.
Shepp’s work has been widely exhibited and collected. His images are included in collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Chicago Art Institute, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He currently teaches at Princeton University.
50% of all sales will go to Occupy Wall Street and 50% to the artist to continue the project. Prints are being sold for $60 each.
Occupying Wall Street: A Visual Diary by Accra Shepp is on view November 11, 2011 through May 26, 2012. Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 521 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm. For more information or press requests please contact Christiona Owen at 212 966 3978, firstname.lastname@example.org.