Harlem Postcards is an ongoing project that invites contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds to reflect on Harlem as a site of cultural activity, political vitality, visual stimuli, artistic contemplation and creative production. Representing intimate and dynamic perspectives of Harlem, the images reflect the idiosyncratic visions of contemporary artists from a wide range of backgrounds and locations. Each photograph has been reproduced as a limited edition postcard available free to visitors.

This season, we are pleased to feature postcard images by Kelvin De Leon, Delphine Diallo, Heather Hart and Albert Vecerka.

Harlem Postcards is organized by Hallie Ringle, Curatorial Assistant.

Frontpage Order: 

Kelvin De Leon

Forgotten, 2014

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“Desolate” and “forgotten” are but two words that can be used to describe the barbershop located at 424 Lenox Avenue. Even though the barbershop gives off a feeling of loneliness, I could not help but be drawn to it. I could only imagine the site in its heyday, with the conversations had, the stories told and all of the special moments that occurred. To see the place that harbored all of those special memories to be allowed to go to naught is saddening, for me at least.

Born 1997, Bronx, NY
Lives and works in Bronx, NY

Delphine Diallo

Harlem, Winter 2014 with “l enchanteur”, 2014

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Delphine juxtaposes reality with imaginary conscience, fashion with documentary photographs, and tradition with modernity.

Born 1977, Paris, France
Lives and works in New York, NY

Heather Hart

Build-A-Brother Workshop (The Paper Doll Barbershop Poster), 2014

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It is a slippery position between exploiting the black male archetype and honoring that same black maleness. In this illusion, between control and care, I want to begin to unpack power relations around race and gender. Through interaction, humor and material, I encourage viewers to relate to my work not only through physicality, but also by opening a dialogue that depends on their perception. “Through aesthetic stylization each black hairstyle seeks to revalorize the ethnic signifier, and the political significance of each rearticulation of value and meaning depends on the historical conditions under which each style emerges.”

Spaces of oral histories are central to my work. This piece was inspired by the timeless barbershop posters I find all over Harlem, and by the safety zones, educational spaces and playful social realms that black barbershops provide. I want to catalyze such a space through my work.

Born 1975, Seattle, WA
Lives and works in New York, NY

Albert Vecerka

Untitled (from “The Harlem Project” series), 2014

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I have always been interested in the built and natural environments in which we live. I believe that taking a closer look at our immediate surroundings and the forces that shape them is valuable: places that were, places that are and places that will be speak about our humanity.

I learned the basics of photography as I studied electrical engineering in the former Yugoslavia. My first subjects were mostly street scenes. When I moved to the United States, I studied both architecture and photography, and when I decided to pursue photography, architecture became a natural subject.

In both my personal projects and assignment work I look to tell stories about places: neighborhoods, buildings, rooms. As an artist I look for visual cues and elements, and then try to assemble them in compositions, just as a writer composes sentences or paragraphs. Looking for the right light, right day or right time of day is a part of that narrative.

“The Harlem Project” is about the evolution of a neighborhood, a place where I’ve lived for twenty years. I examined pieces of the old Harlem, and how they relate to the whole. I have continued my examination as the neighborhood has changed. In this case, looking at and learning about what was in front of me enabled a theme to emerge and defined the future direction of the project.

Born 1969, Sremska Mitrovica, Yugoslavia
Lives and works in New York, NY