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What Signs Say Pt 2 COMBO
March Thursday

Virtual Program | What Signs Say Part Two: Nostalgia and Activism on the Streets


The second of this two-part series, moderated by Untapped New York founder Michelle Young, looks at how our streetscapes carry us forward and backwards, through activism and nostalgia.

Young leads this discussion with linguist Shonna Trinch and cultural anthropologist Edward Snajdr, who co-authored the book What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification, and Place-Making in Brooklyn; artist Hank Willis Thomas whose work touches upon themes of identity, history, and popular culture; Jeremiah Moss, author of Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul; and artist Neil Goldberg whose videos, photography, mixed media, and performance work reflect embodiment mortality, and the everyday. Together they will look at streetscapes, signage and public art, as they speak to messages of class and race, the power of words shown publicly, and marketing to upward mobility.

This program is presented in partnership with John Jay College, CUNY.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

6:30 pm

Virtual Program via Zoom Webinar


  • Free
Register Here


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    Neil Goldberg

    Neil Goldberg makes video, photo, mixed media, and performance work about embodiment, sensing, mortality, and the everyday. This work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of the City of New York, among others. He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Siena Art Institute. In summer of 2019, Goldberg was artist-in-residence at the Brighton Beach Library as part of the Artists on Site program, a partnership between Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Arts Council. Goldberg teaches at the Yale School of Art and and has been resident faculty at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and is recent mentor with Queer|Art|Mentorship. He currently hosts the podcast She’s A Talker.

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    Jeremiah Moss

    Jeremiah Moss, creator of the award-winning blog Vanishing New York and author of Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul, is the pen name of Griffin Hansbury. He is the founder of the grassroots small business advocacy group SaveNYC and his writing on the city has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, n+1, The Paris Review, and the New York Review of Books. He is currently at work on Feral City, a chronicle of the plague year, forthcoming from W.W. Norton. In addition, he is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and has published internationally on the topic of gender identity and sexuality.


    Hank Willis Thomas

    Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), Writing on the Wall, and the artist-run initiative for art and civic engagement For Freedoms, which was awarded the 2017 ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also a recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2019), Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2018), Art For Justice Grant (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), and is a former member of the New York City Public Design Commission.

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    Ed Snajdr and Shonna Trinch

    Shonna Trinch is a professor and linguist, and Edward Snajdr is a professor and cultural anthropologist. They both work in the Department of Anthropology at John Jay College. Trinch’s research has examined social justice issues at the intersection of language law, and gender violence. Snajdr’s work includes studies of power and identity in post-socialist societies, the anthropology of development, policing and human trafficking. Their new book, What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification and Place-Making in Brooklyn examines how race, class, gender, ethnicity, privilege, and justice get deployed in the language and design of Brooklyn’s storefronts and storefront signs, and the larger contexts of gentrification and placemaking in urban space.

  • Michelle Young Press Photo Square High Res

    Michelle Young

    Michelle Young is the founder of Untapped New York, a web magazine and tour company about New York City’s secrets and hidden places. She is a graduate of Harvard College in the History of Art and Architecture and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture. She also teaches at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York. She is the author of Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants, and Broadway. Michelle appears regularly as a guest speaker in documentaries and at conferences on urban issues. She was recently featured on Netflix’s Stay Here, PBS’ 10 That Changed America, and Smithsonian Channel’s Secret Cities.