June 2: Artist Panel & Performance: Yael Ben-Zion’s STILL LIVES

Please join photographer Yael Ben-Zion, and collaborators and artists Marcus Moore, Maaji Newbold, and Michael Deegan, as they engage in a public conversation about the STILL LIVES exhibition. Moderated by Veronica Liu.


According to a recent report of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are currently more than 550,000 homeless people in the U.S. In New York City, more than 63,000 people are sleeping in shelters every night, a number that almost doubled over the past decade.

STILL LIVES—Yael Ben-Zion’s new exhibition of photographs—questions a society that enables the phenomenon of homelessness to exist and perpetuate.

Through a series of large-format stilllife photographs portraying the objects and belongings of people who have experienced homelessness with whom the artist collaborated, Yael Ben-Zion references the rich tradition of stilllife paintings, in turn hoping to spark a critical dialogue about materialism, how we value objects and human beings, and how perceptions could be challenged.

The ongoing and recent effects of gentrification in Yael’s neighborhood, Washington Heights—and the very real notion that “every New Yorker is one paycheck away from being homeless”—spur questions and assumptions, as a whole community grapples with an issue so local yet so globally persistent.

Collaborators on this project include satirist Marcus Moore, aka The Homeless Poet, an activist and spoken-work artist; Maaji Newbold, an actress with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC; and Michael Deegan, a self-taught painter.

With special thanks to Picture the Homeless, a grassroots organization founded and led by homeless people that is organizing for social justice issues and putting forward an alternative vision of community; NoMAA; and Lantern Community Services.


Yael Ben-Zion is a New York-based artist whose work often considers the relationship of the personal to the political. Yael was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Israel. She is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yale Law School and the International Center of Photography. Yael’s work has been exhibited in the United States, Europe and Israel is also included in the MTA-Artists Unite Subway Elevator Poster Project. She is the recipient of ICP’s Directors’ Scholarship Award, the International Photography Awards and grants from NoMAA and the Puffin Foundation. Yael’s first monograph, 5683 miles away (Kehrer, 2010), was selected as one of photo-eye’s Best Books of 2010 and for the PDN Photo Annual 2011. It was also a nominee for the German Photo Book Award 2011. Intermarried, her second monograph with Kehrer, was selected for American Photography 30 and featured, among others, in the NY Times Sunday Review, PDN Magazine and the Forward.

Artist Panel: Yael Ben-Zion’s STILL LIVES
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Avenue
New York NY 10032

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