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Queens Chronicle

Take a look at Willets Point in a new way

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:30 am

There has been a lot in the news regarding Willets Point and the redevelopment slated to begin there.

Many are for it and many are against it, but few have taken the time to really look at Willets Point, as it is now, and see art.

“Rather than seeing the salvage yard wastelands as monuments to competing industry, the street’s potholes as crater scars from fictional land mine explosions, and the oil pools that deviously seep their way into every available nook and crevice, as decrepit characterizations of a neighborhood stuck in redevelopment limbo,” Louis Doulas writes of artist Joseph Pang’s exhibit, “Willets Point Series,” “the artist instead introduces to us a new potential candidate for creative contemplation, an object of sublime beauty, whose living ruins are not another euphemism for blight, but for aesthetic reverie and expedition.”

It is refreshing to see Willets Point shown without judgment. So many stories about the small area, just outside of Flushing, make it seem as though it is a third-world country.

There is a disconnect that has been wedged between the neighborhood as it is now and the way the public views it.

Even those who disagree with the redevelopment may speak of the Iron Triangle as they would speak of Iraq or any other area ridden with instability or tension.

All of the photographs are shot in black and white then incorporated in a collage-like piece with vivid color and chaotic angles.

Most interestingly, none of the individuals who work in the auto body shops of WIllets Point are ever shown. They are not the subject of the series. Instead, Pang almost treats the area like an archeological site, where the rusting metal gates and peeling paint tell the tale.

While the ongoing battle over the land is not heavily portrayed in the exhibit, there are traces of it in many pieces, such as “Homeostasis.”

The piece is made with oil, acrylic, Tyvek, paper and pencil on canvas.

Though putting the debate at the center of the work would take away from the Willets Point Pang created, not addressing it at all would leave a viewer feeling somewhat unsatisfied.

“‘The Willets Point Series’ itself is a schizophrenic visual cocktail of history, politics and, of course, beauty,” Doulas wrote.

Willets Point Series
When: Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., through Aug. 2
Where: John Molloy Gallery, 49 E. 78 St., # 2B, Manhattan
Tickets: Free

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