Swoon: The House Our Families Built

Exploring the beauty and the burden of our personal legacies

LOCATION
New York, NY
DATES
JAN 30 - FEB 28
LOCAL PBS STATION
WNET

Traveling around NYC, a 14 foot box truck has been transformed into a diorama-style outdoor sculpture that is a stage for both visual and performance art, inspired by domestic scenes and stories shared on this site.

Painted portrait, interior detail. The House Our Families Built sculpture.
OVERVIEW

Caledonia Curry whose work appears under the name Swoon, uses intricate cutaways, painting, and performance to build a world that blends reality and wonder. As a roving, mobile sculpture, The House Our Families Built asks viewers to consider the legacy of ancestral histories - whether through traditions, trauma, or repeated narratives - and the ways in which they inform how we understand and talk about ourselves.

About the Performances.

Curry and her long-time collaborator, Jeff Stark selected a diverse range of stories to express through this sculptural work.

These stories have been shaped into a 15 minute performance that transitions through emotions from humor to fear, tenderness to confrontation, encouraging people to ask where they’ve come from and what they can leave behind.

When the sculpture is not staging a live performance, a recording of the audio will be played via directional speakers so passersby can always engage with the narrative.

BROOKLYN

Jan 30-31: Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1

Feb 27-28: Prospect Park (Flatbush & Empire)

QUEENS

Feb 13-14: Flushing Meadows Corona Park

MANHATTAN

Feb 21: Union Square, North Plaza (17th Street)

The House Our Families Built was conceived and orchestrated by Caledonia Curry. Performances developed by Jeff Stark and Irene Lazaridis. Project management by Marshall LaCount, with fabrication by Orien McNeill and Zack Tucker.

Look Behind the Scenes.

Scale model for The House Our Families built. Balsa wood and cardboard.
Work in progress, truck’s cab tilt’s forward to allow hand made wallpaper to be pasted to the box truck’s surfaces.
Interior view with painted portraits, picture frames, and furniture.
Caledonia Curry paints details on the outside of the truck’s cab.
A game of chess, or a tough conversation? Painted portraits of domestic scenes are found throughout The House Our Families Built.

Meet the Artist.

Caledonia Curry

Street Art, Sculpture, Printmaking, Immersive community based installations. Based in Brooklyn, New York.

Caledonia Curry (b. 1977 in New London, Connecticut), whose work appears under the name Swoon, is widely known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art. While attending the Pratt Institute of Art in 1999, Callie began pasting her paper portraits to the sides of buildings around NYC with the goal of making art and the public space of the city more accessible. Her work has become known for marrying the whimsical to the grounded, often weaving in fairy-tales and myth, with a recurring motif of the sacred feminine. Elements of her own family history—and a legacy of her parents’ struggles with addiction and substance abuse— recur throughout her work.

While much of Callie’s art plays with the fantastical, there is also a strong element of realism. Myriad social endeavors include a long-term community revitalization project in Braddock, Pennsylvania and her efforts to build earthquake-resistant homes in Haiti through Konbit Shelter. Her nonprofit, the Heliotrope Foundation, was created in order to further support these ventures.

Today, Callie’s work can be found on the sides of buildings worldwide and has been given both permanent and transient homes in institutions, including MoMA, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Tate Modern, and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Most recently, she has begun using film animation to explore the boundaries of visual storytelling.

Caledonia Curry lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and is represented by Swoon Studio. Instagram (opens in a new window)@swoonhq and Twitter (opens in a new window)@swoon.

It’s your story. Join in.