With Half Mast, Derek Fordjour debuts a new work that reflects on the current national reckoning with mass shootings, and the relentless threat of violence against Black and Brown bodies. A portrait of this divided moment in U.S. history, Half Mast presents law officers, students, and ordinary civilians in one compressed, shared space. Alongside teddy bears and balloons reminiscent of street-side memorials, some figures appear marked with targets while others have been reduced to silhouettes.
Fordjour’s image holds no one person or group responsible for the violence, even as it speaks to loss and abuse of power. Painted brightly in his signature graphic style, the work points to possibilities of a future civic movement or celebration. Derek Fordjour first made Half Mast as a painting; here, in his first solo museum exhibition, it is presented as a public art installation in the form of a large vinyl print, located outdoors at the intersection of Gansevoort and Washington Streets, across the street ands down one block from the Whitney Museum, and directly across from the end of the High Line.
I’m guessing not everybody will notice that the backside of this otherwise ordinary Stop Sign, located at the corner of Gansevoort and Hudson Streets in the Meatpacking District, gives a subtle endorsement of The Green.
The last couple of times I passed by the Popaganda Pop Up Store on the corner of Washington and Gansevoort Streets in the meatpacking district, the shop was closed. So I’m not sure if it’s closed for good, or was just not open for business on those days. But anyway, that’s where I saw this cow.