Ilene Berman

first post

In the Spring of 2010 a public art sculpture, NODhouse,

was planned to be installed on an empty lot in the city of St. Louis, north of Delmar Avenue. Speaking to St. Louis’ historical divide between investment and neglect, visibility and invisibility and black and white, NODhouse is an attempt at breaking down the experiential wall of one part of one city. It is one artist’s way of drawing attention to the ease with which those of us with privilege are able to move back and forth across this boundary while leaving some of our fellow citizens behind. By choosing to place my own work north of Delmar Avenue on Grand Boulevard, I am challenging the stead-fastness of this divide and its consequences for those living both north and south of it. Two weeks before the installation was to begin, the alderwoman pulled her support for the project.

Instead, in late Fall 2010, I installed embroidered NODhouse manifesto pledges in businesses and a school facing Grand Boulevard north of Delmar. Each pledge was embroidered with gold floss onto a linen napkin, framed and accompanied by an artist statement and a printed copy of the entire manifesto. The installation embodies what I came to identify as the three details of the work on which I would not compromise: first, the site of the installation is the Grand Center Arts District, more specifically the blocks of Grand Boulevard north of Delmar Avenue; second, the placement of my own artwork north of Delmar expresses my commitment to challenging the experiential wall of Delmar Avenue; and, third, the work itself, NODhouse, is realized through the respectful building of relationships.

What I could not have known before entering into the process of creating this exhibition was the beauty of the responses I would receive from the people I asked to partner with me through their granting permission for the hanging of a framed manifesto pledge. It was with their cooperation that the community around NODhouse was formalized and the affirmation of the belief that art can be used to change the world was given. This website is a record of the people, ideas and experiences that are NODhouse so far. NODhouse continues to grow.

Ilene Berman