Swoon first started making a name for herself with her wheatpaste portraits on the sides of buildings in New York City about twenty years ago, spreading to other cities in America as well as across the globe, depicting the heart and soul of unique indigenous characters expressing or in need of love. She soon turned to sculptural installations and interventions that addressed trauma, tragedy, and addiction, often incorporating her trademark cutaway figures and highlighting the sacred feminine. Among her projects were “Submerged Motherlands” at the Brooklyn Museum, an intimate, compelling, and welcoming exploration of life, death, and rebirth; “Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea,” involving a fleet of seven handmade boats that sailed from Troy to Long Island City; “Portrait of Silvia Elena,” a mournful, important exhibit that exposed the femicide that is occurring in Juarez, Guatemala, and elsewhere around the world; and “The Miss Rockaway Armada,” an immersive experience in communal living.
The latest work by the Brooklyn-based artist, born Caledonia Curry in Connecticut and raised in Florida, is “The House Our Families Built,” a fourteen-foot truck that will travel to four locations in New York City over the next four weekends, stopping to give fifteen-minute performances developed by Jeff Stark and Irene Lazaridis with Swoon, consisting of collected stories of personal and ancestral legacy. The mobile sculpture, part of PBS’s American Portrait initiative, which also features Carlos Ramirez and Rick Lowe, will pull into Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 on January 30-31, Prospect Park on February 6-7, Flushing Meadows Corona Park on February 13-14, and the North Plaza of Union Square on February 21. The live performances begin Sunday and will take place every thirty minutes from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, with recorded audio of the program playing in between. Swoon has an extraordinary talent at sharing powerful narratives amid eye-catching imagery, so do whatever you can to catch “The House Our Families Built,” which should be a memorable happening.