John Fekner

2010 May 29

Charlotte Street, South Bronx, NY in August 1980 In August 1980, Don Leicht and John Fekner collaborated on a project located at the site of the People’s Convention held at Charlotte Street in the South Bronx. This alternative convention coincided with the National Convention of the Democratic Party being held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The six spray painted messages included Decay, Broken Promises, Falsas Promesas, Last Hope, Broken Treaties and Save Our School. This work transversely complemented each other with two different and distinct approaches. Fekner’s stencilled messages were succinct and dramatic in size and Don’s Birdfeeders were small-scaled and intimate painted sculptures for the children of the neighborhood. Local residents, young and old, helped Don and Fekner on their collaboration. Assisting them as well were Stefan Eins and William Scott, who along with Joe Lewis, were all directors of Fashion Moda at the time. The work identified and drew attention to the existing conditions of the immediate Black and Latino communities, as well as addressing the concerns of Native American Indians who also attended the convention in the Bronx. Presidential Candidate Ronald Reagan stood amidst the rubble and ruins on August 5th, 1980 promising to rebuild the area, as did his predecessor President Jimmy Carter in October 1977. The area has seen improvements through the rebuilding initiatives of Mayor Ed Koch, Ed Logue’s SBDO Charlotte Street Gardens, and the ongoing efforts of MBD Community Housing Corporation, SoBro and other newer partnerships and financial institutions.

Back to home