OUTDOOR DINING (2021) by Nancy Hwang in collaboration with Michael Mangieri and Heidi Thomas
Born in Seoul and based in New York, Nancy Hwang has been producing audience-participatory projects spanning two decades. Her artwork, marked by a sense of open-endedness, chance, and spontaneity, involves making connections and building relationships. In a month-long public project, S (2002), Hwang washed the hair of passersby at a shampoo station installed outdoors at Lt. Joseph Petrosino Park, New York.
For the UnHomeless NYC exhibition, Hwang sought the help of chef friends Michael Mangieri and Heidi Thomas to enable a project titled Outdoor Dining, held at Madison Square Park on October 17, 2021. Together, they prepared a full-course lunch for eight New Yorkers staying at the DoubleTree / Hilton across the street from Hwang’s home/studio, one of several hotels that served as a women’s shelter during the Covid-19 pandemic. Situated in walking distance from the hotel, Madison Square Park welcomed picnickers and offered respite for many in the community who were wary of gathering indoors during the pandemic. Comprising just one group of many set up at tables in the park that day—for birthday parties and the like—the guests of Outdoor Dining enjoyed conversing and sharing over a leisurely meal, all details of the afternoon setting made with care, especially for them.
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