Murals Brighten Terminal Market
The first thought is “How the heck did they get there?” The next is, “And why?”
We’re talking about the fifth level of the Bronx Terminal Market, considered the heart of the borough, where a remarkable sight has just arrived. It’s one that most shoppers don’t expect, but which makes them stop, look and, hopefully, think.
Four 20-by 40-foot murals have been placed to the right of Target’s corporate bull’s-eye logo. The murals, in softer tones, depict four scenic and very different Bronx locations: High Bridge, Ferry Point Park, New York Botanical Garden and Joyce Kilmer Park. A collaboration between the Bronx Museum of the Arts (BMA) and the Bronx Terminal Market, the paintings by emerging artist Lindsey Warren are intended to “celebrate the beauty and diversity of spaces in the Bronx.” Warren chose the shopping center because she was intrigued by the opportunity to transform the commercial space into a place of art and it afforded the ability to hang such large pieces.
Born in Los Angeles, Warren came to the East Coast to study art at Boston University. After graduating Warren moved to New York City, where she became a studio artist before joining the BMA’s art program. In 2015, she applied to the museum’s emerging artist program, Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) and, after a competitive application process, was accepted. Friends of hers had completed the program and spoke highly of it, which prompted Warren’s interest.
“It was the perfect time in my career to focus on some of the logistics and business aspects of my art practice while meeting with a community of focused, diverse artists each week.”
Being a part of the Bronx art scene, she completely immersed herself in the Bronx and began feeling a connection to the area as she explored, especially since her project was to find four areas to paint. She started with 12 choices, then whittled it down to the final four.
“I spent time photographing locations throughout the borough,” she says. “Some I was familiar with and others I visited for the first time.” Then she narrowed down the photographs and sketches to a mix of architectural and natural space. “The panels showcase four separate places, but work together as a progression of color to create a complete piece,” says Warren. “While High Bridge may be very familiar to viewers, the others may be less well known and maybe they will prompt an interest in visiting these places.”
Warren used acrylic house paint and coated each mural with artist-grade exterior varnish with UV filter to resist fading. She laughs, remembering having to run to the local Home Depots often to pick up supplies. “The staff had rarely seen a customer buy 15 quarts of various colors, and clean out their shelves of paint brushes, but it allowed me to talk about the project.”
Warren spent a total of six weeks creating the pieces, usually working on one small section of the large canvas at a time. It wasn’t until all four were completed and suspended 30 feet up on the wall that Warren was able to see them all together.
Says Ed Hilla, the Bronx Terminal Market’s senior general manager, “We pride ourselves on creating a diverse array of programming to serve our community. It has been a rewarding process to work directly with the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the artist, Lindsey Warren, to develop her vision into a public art piece that the community can enjoy.”
Opened in the 1930s, the 17-acre market, located in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, was one of the largest centers in the city for wholesale fruits and vegetables, and even Christmas trees. In 2009, the market went high tech with new buildings and a six-level garage for over 2,500 cars with a design that won awards.
Warren is optimistic about future projects. “I made a lot of artist friends here, and the terminal market has placed permanent structures on the building to hang future art projects.”
There is no end date for the murals’ exhibition
For more information, visit BronxMuseum.org.
Bronx Terminal Market is located at 610 Exterior Street, Bronx, NY 10451 and is accessible by public transportation on the Bx13 bus service, the 4, 5, 2 and 3 trains from 149th Street and Grand Concourse, B and D trains at 161st Street, or Exit 4 and 5 of the Major Deegan Expressway. Bronx Terminal Market Talent Room can be found at the “Retail B” shopping center garage entrance off Exterior Street.