Mar 26, 2011

Art Installation at Staten Island Ferry Terminal Shows Doily Craft on a Large Scale


The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, in partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program, today announced the completion of “Bettina,” a new public art installation at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island. Created by artist Jennifer Cecere under the Urban Art Program’s pARTners track, the piece is composed of an 8-foot vinyl mesh doily, which will hang outside the terminal 's Ramp E for up to 11 months. "Bettina" enlivens the terminal, which is undergoing a renovation using $175 million in ARRA funds—the largest Stimulus project in the state. The temporary art is a gentle nod to the more permanent transformation taking place at the St. George Ferry Terminal, which includes the complete rehabilitation of eight ramps leading into the terminal, architectural improvements to the bus gates and canopies, enhanced access for pedestrians and the installation of new drainage and paving.

Cecere’s work is inspired from collecting lace and doilies from auctions and yard sales as a child in rural Indiana. Intrigued by the beauty of each doily, and by the fact that they were anonymous works of craft and art, she recreates this art form using modern techniques. Originally named for Mr. Doyley, a dry-goods dealer named in London’s Strand in the early 1700s, “doily” has now come to mean “any small, ornamental mat, usually of embroidery or lace.” After working with found lace and doilies for years in her studio, Cecere began incorporating them into large-scale outdoor works, while still retaining the charm of a handmade look.

“I wanted to take something intimate and domestic—something that was always inside—and make it public, to integrate the flavor of homemade handiwork into the ‘built’ environment,” she said. “Doilies can be made from a variety of materials—aluminum, plastic, vinyl, fabric, mosaic, glass or steel. Doilies hang, divide, adorn, and shelter. They can reference architecture and nature.”

The St. George installation builds on her series of doily-themed installations at Rockland Center for the Arts, Pratt Institute’s Sculpture Garden, and Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, which featured a 20-foot diameter doily created from 36 pieces of ripstop nylon sewn together and painted with gel to recreate the texture of a handmade doily. A doily design also was selected in a blind competition for DOT’s Concrete Barrier design competition.

The fabrication of the St. George terminal doily is a “big leap forward” for Cecere as an artist. Her computer-generated classic doily pattern was printed onto construction mesh, then hand cut by a tailor. To install it, the artist used a scissor-lift to hoist the doily into place and attached it with climbing ropes and 200 lb. fishing line. Cecere has shown her work at the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt, the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art and the Assicon Gallery of American Art. More of the artist's work can be viewed at

No comments:

Post a Comment