This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you would like to participate in “My LES,” please email us here.
What do you do?
I’m an artist.
What are you working on now?
My next big project is on Alisa Zinov’evna Rosenbaum, who is better known in the US as Ayn Rand. I am illustrating Atlas Shrugged using images from Stalin’s Socialist Realism. This project explores the uncanny resemblance between Rand’s aesthetics to that of Soviet Socialist Realist Art. Rand’s imagery is romantic, idealized, monumental, and heroic, which paradoxically comply with the propagandist Socialist Realist formula.
After three years of working on this project, I am very happy to announce my solo show at Winkleman Gallery entitled “Ayn Rand in Illustrations,” which opens Friday, June 18th. Readers should feel free to come and join us at the opening reception.
How long have you lived on the LES?
I moved to the Seward Park Coop last October and have only been living here for eight months.
I am a newbie in the neighborhood, yet I’ve been quite familiar with the neighborhood both historically and because I have a few friends who live in the area. I have included the neighborhood in some of my conceptual projects.
What made you decide to move here?
I lived in Midtown before and it was a difficult experience. There was no room to breathe and there were people everywhere I turned. I had to escape. The LES is such a great neighborhood where you feel that you are part of a community. And its history of immigration and various struggles, both past and present, simply brings so much richness to the community dynamics.
Favorite block in the hood?
The East Broadway section between Essex and Clinton, because of the Jewish Daily Forward building and the former Garden Cafeteria where Isaac Bashevis Singer and Leon Trotsky dined.
Favorite date spot in the hood?
One of my good friends and chef David Shemesh owns Antibes Bistro on Suffolk Street. The food is great, the wine selection is wonderful and the atmosphere is quite intimate. The bar area has become the “LES table,” where people in the neighborhood all congregate for drinks, meals and chatter.
Favorite coffee in the hood?
Brown Cafe. Love this place!
Where do you take your visitors when they’re here?
Most of my visitors come to my new place of course. They love the neighborhood and they love the coop. We have also gone to a few events at the Abrons Art Center and Common Room 2 (both about a block away from where I live).
Favorite story about the LES?
In 1917, when the news about the Russian Revolution reached the LES, immigrant Russian Jews were so happy that they celebrated outside, rejoicing and giving each other hugs.