Posts Tagged ‘Nicole Bengiveno’

Do you remember a blog post about a photography and interview initiative called the Humans of New York? I wrote about it here.

It seems that a frustrated parent of a high school student who had no Spanish teacher decided to let it all out when asked what she was feeling, and the Humans of New York entry about her went viral. Now the school district must save face and choose among many offers of help.

Brandon Stanton saw Annette Renaud on the subway and asked to  interview her. As Soni Sangha writes for the NY Times, Renaud was upset.

” ‘We’ve got a new mayor and a new chancellor … So we aren’t blaming them. But they need to know how impossible they’ve made it to help our kids. Trying to get something fixed in these schools is like praying to some false God. You call and email hoping that God is listening, and nothing happens.’

“Someone was listening,” says Sangha. “The post immediately went viral, with 150,000 likes on the Humans of New York Facebook page, it was shared more than 16,000 times, and it had strangers from across the city and the country pledging to call the school in protest on behalf of the students. Someone in Michigan started a change.org petition calling on the school to hire a foreign language instructor; another Connecticut petition asked the Department of Education to help the students — it has more than 1,000 supporters. …

“ ‘We continue to work closely with the school community to ensure students have access to the courses they need,’ said Marcus Liem, deputy press secretary of the New York City Education Department. Mr. Liem said that officials from the department were planning to meet with the school’s administration about this and other issues even before the posting, but that those meetings have now been moved up.” Read it all here.

Photo: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Alejandra Figueroa, a senior at the Secondary School for Journalism, believes the loss of her Spanish teacher jeopardizes her chances for an Advanced Regents diploma.

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Kai the World Traveler and Titan of Industry knows the kind of story that catches my eye. He sent me this one from the New York Times about a street artist who spoofs Banksy, Tom Hanks, and a lot else.

John Leland writes, “This is a story about art in the age of social media

“In April 2011, a law school dropout in Bushwick, Brooklyn, newly arrived from the Midwest, had an idea that he thought might make a splash. He admired the street artist Banksy; he grew up on the movies of Tom Hanks. Why not mash up the two?

“Using simple computer software, he downloaded a Banksy painting of a rat holding a paint roller, then added an image of Mr. Hanks’s face. The whole thing took 10 or 15 minutes to create. He printed a cutout and pasted it on a wall at Mulberry and Kenmare Streets in Little Italy, signing it Hanksy.

“He photographed the wall for his Instagram and Twitter accounts, and emailed it to the Wooster Collective, a popular street art website. Then he went to sleep.

“ ‘And then it just went viral,’ Hanksy said the other day

“RJ Rushmore, who runs the street art blog Vandalog, said he was among many who initially dismissed Hanksy as an opportunist. ‘I thought it was not art, not brilliant, just taking the stupidest ideas and presenting them in ways that were very friendly for Tumblr and Instagram,’ Mr. Rushmore said. ‘It’s not art in the sense of a graffiti writer who spent 15 years developing his style.’

“Mr. Rushmore has since warmed to Hanksy, for comic relief in a scene that sometimes gets too serious. ‘He makes the best cat videos,’ he said. ‘That’s still something to be applauded.’

“Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, said more was at stake in Hanksy’s visual gags.

“ ‘It’s more than a pun,’ she said. ‘Banksy’s work is hypermasculine and serious about its underground, tough, outlaw image. And Tom Hanks is just not that guy. So the humor is putting that identity on this hyper-butch material. It’s the revenge of the nerd.’ ” More.

Photo: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Street artist Hanksy merged Banksy’s famous rat with Tom Hanks.

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