New Art Installation at the Bandshell

November 14, 2023

Prospect Park Alliance and BRIC, a leading contemporary, multi-disciplinary arts and media institution anchored in downtown Brooklyn, in partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program present a mural by Kevin Claiborne, Lost Boys, at the Lena Horne Bandshell at Prospect Park. This is the fourth annual public art collaboration between BRIC and the Alliance at the Bandshell, and the piece will be on view through April 21, 2024. Claiborne, a conceptual photographer, engages viewers in critical self-reflection and collective examination of the Black experience. With Lost Boys, Claiborne challenges established notions of cultural legibility and encourages viewers to delve deeper into the origins, embodiment, and sufficiency of Blackness, including its impact on mental health.

Where can Blackness reach

Was Blackness first

Can Blackness be worn

Where is Black enough

What is Black enough

When is Black enough

The above text is superimposed upon the repeated face of an unidentified Black male youth, sourced from a photograph captured in Harlem, New York during the early 1900s. The repeated image of the unidentified young boy carries a symbolic weight, representing not only the individual but also a broader collective experience.

Painted in vibrant shades of blue and black, the boy’s direct gaze confronts the viewer while the repeated patterning and overlay of text pushes and pulls the colorful faces between differing levels of visibility.

The mural’s artist, Kevin Claiborne, said “I’m very grateful for BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance giving me the opportunity to share my artwork with the Brooklyn community and I hope people enjoy engaging with the statements and questions posed in the work. The installation of Lost Boys at the Lena Horne Bandshell is perfect as it creates an accessible bridge between art, history, and community engagement. The poignant questions in the work serve as an invitation for introspection and also honor Horne’s legacy by fostering dialogue and reflection on themes crucial to her life’s work, including Black empowerment, identity, and inclusivity. The artwork activated by the stage and community, amplifies the park’s role beyond mere leisure, transforming it into a space for communal exchange and connection.”

Jenny Gerow, Chief Curator, Director of Contemporary Art at BRIC, said “Kevin Claiborne’s urgent message of mental health, writ large in a natural space such as Prospect Park, illustrates that not only are these topics not often addressed, but that the space in which they are delivered is taken for granted. We are excited to be partnering with Prospect Park Alliance and the NYC Parks Art in the Parks program for a fourth year to engage with this beautiful public space in the presentation of Kevin Claiborne’s artwork. ”

Morgan Monaco, President of Prospect Park Alliance, said “We are honored to be working with BRIC, the NYC Parks Art in the Parks program and artist Kevin Claiborne to welcome Lost Boys to Prospect Park. This work beautifully surfaces many of the internal monologues that generations of BIPOC people have struggled to answer for themselves as individuals and for entire communities. I look forward to park visitors engaging with the work, as we endeavor to create spaces within the park for reflection on social justice issues as well as healing. Given the prominent location of the Lena Horne Bandshell and the connection to a long history of performing art, I hope it will help people feel seen and also spark inspiration to find moments of joy.”

The mural at Lena Horne Bandshell is part of BRIC Hip-Hop, the new, permanent home for Hip-Hop education, expression, and its evolution at BRIC. BRIC’s fall programming encompasses multiple aspects of Hip-Hop culture including visual art, fashion, film, advocacy, and more. BRIC’s Hip-Hop 50 curation underscores their commitment to showcasing and institutionalizing Hip-Hop culture and preserving community connection.