After the Plaster Foundation,
or, "Where can we live?"

After the Plaster Foundation, or, “Where can we live?” is an exhibition of twelve artists and artist groups with roots in New York City asking critical questions about home, property, and the Earth, and who has access to these things under capitalism. 

“Where can we live?” is a question that features in all our lives, but is experienced unevenly. In 1972, underground performance legend Jack Smith was evicted from his home, a Soho loft he called “The Plaster Foundation.” In the years that followed, New York’s economy shifted decisively from manufacturing to finance and real estate, and a new era of “predatory inclusion” that further undermined urban Black communities got underway in cities across the U.S. Pointing to documented histories of racial exclusion as well as the contradictions of the enduring myth of artistic bohemia, the works in the exhibition—whether satirical, speculative or grounded in the work of organizing—suggest ways of resisting the reach of capital into our homes, and innermost lives.

To engage audiences with these profound political and philosophical issues, many artists focus on our city as a crucible of activity, point in a global network, or documentary subject. Some celebrate the resilience of long-time residents, recent immigrants, and artists—many of whom combine these identities in various ways. Other artists reach back and forward in time, place, and space, touching on broader questions of possession and use of land, ideas of hospitality, self-reliance and debt, helping connect the show overall to systemic inequities painfully exacerbated today. 

After the Plaster Foundation, or, “Where can we live?” features works by Jennifer Bolande, Ilana Harris-Babou, Heather Hart, Simon Leung, Shawn Maximo, Sondra Perry, Douglas Ross, Peter Scott, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Caroline Woolard, and Betty Yu, and artifacts from the collection of Museum of Capitalism.

After the Plaster Foundation, or, “Where can we live?” is organized by Larissa Harris, Curator, with Sophia Marisa Lucas, Assistant Curator, and Lindsey Berfond, Assistant Curator.

Please note that this exhibition includes time-based works. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, capacity is limited in galleries and highly restricted in video viewing rooms. Visitors hoping to experience works in their entirety should plan for longer visits and anticipate waiting time.

After the Plaster Foundation, or, “Where can we live?” is made possible by lead support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is also provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Special thanks to Powerhouse Arts.

Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Booth Ferris Foundation, the Lambent Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and the TD Charitable Foundation.



Images: Shawn Maximo, (installation view) Pyre, 2020; Heather Hart, (interior view), Oracle of the Twelve Tenses, 2020; Jennifer Bolande, Globe Sightings: Avenue B & 7th, NYC, 2000; Museum of Capitalism, (detai) Artifacts of Capitalist Housing, 2020; Ilana Harris-Babou, (video still) Fine Lines, 2020; Krzysztof Wodiczko, (installation view) Poliscar, 1991/2017. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York; Sondra Perry, (detail) Eclogue for [in]HABITABILITY, 2017–20. Courtesy the artist and Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York; Douglas Ross, (detail) abstraxi, 2014; Simon Leung, (detail) POE, 2010; Caroline Woolard, (detail) Studio/Home, 2014 (reconstructed 2020); Peter Scott (detail) Arcadias, 2020; Betty Yu, (detail) Resistance in Progress, 2020. All works courtesy the artists unless otherwise noted. Photos by Hai Zhang.



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