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"The American Dream: Migrant Workers in America Today"
2007-02-03 until 2007-03-08
School of Visual Arts Museum
New York, NY, USA United States of America

School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents "The American Dream: Migrant Workers in America Today," an exhibition of black-and-white photographs made by Mark Paris and selected by celebrated photographer Mary Ellen Mark. Paris spent the past year on Long Island, where he grew up, documenting several communities of migrant workers and American nationals demonstrating against illegal aliens. Made in private as well as public settings, the resulting images put a human face on the national debate over immigration policy. The exhibition will be on view at the Visual Arts Museum, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City, from February 3 – March 8, 2007.

“The American Dream” bears witness to the sizable presence of migrant workers on Long Island for over half a century. The North Fork region was known as “Migrant Alley” in the late 1950s and 1960s, when thousands of day laborers could be found in farm labor camps. In April 2006 The New York Times reported than an estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants were in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The subjects in Mark Paris’s photographs are men from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras who find work in Farmingville, Freeport and other Long Island communities where the migrant labor pool is still plentiful today.

Through privileged access to private gatherings over many months, Paris captures the emotional landscape of often overlooked but tightly-knit communities. He followed both migrants and American nationals from the street corners, parking lots and other public spaces where they face off, to the places where they work and live. In two previous series, he documented an Italian-American social club where men have gathered for generations, and the residents of a nursing home adjacent to the Long Beach boardwalk that has since been demolished.

Mark Paris has exhibited at Thread Waxing Space and The Art Directors Club in New York City. His editorial work has been published in The New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Details and Vibe. Paris graduated from SVA (BFA 1998 Photography; MFA 2000 Photography and Related Media).

The Visual Arts Museum, located at 209 East 23rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, is open 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday, and 10am to 6pm on Saturday. Admission is free. The gallery is accessible by wheelchair. For further information call 212.592.2145.

School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City is an established leader and innovator in the education of artists. From its inception in 1947, the faculty has been comprised of professionals working in the arts and art-related fields. SVA provides an environment that nurtures creativity, inventiveness and experimentation, enabling students to develop a strong sense of identity and a clear direction of purpose.

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