Ahead of Lucia Hierro’s institutional debut at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the Pop Art-inspired photographer takes us on a Polaroid tour of her native New York including spots in Washington Heights, the Bronx and Brooklyn where she is currently based. The snaps are a departure from the otherwise carefully calibrated images the artist typically makes, and tell an unvarnished story of who she is and where she’s from.
Dyckman (now officially Little DR) is where I lived most of my life. It’s what I think of when I think of home. I’ve moved back and forth between neighborhoods and between islands. The produce stand is a necessity in neighborhoods strewn with fast food joints and liquor stores. I worried about them during pandemic lockdowns. The low prices offer affordable healthy choices. They remind the community of outdoor markets in the islands. The most important reminders are on the colorful displays which scream, “Mangoes don’t grow on Manhattan trees.”
“I was born in Washington Heights/ Upper-Upper Manhattan. My whole life I’ve walked by endless strips of stores just like this. The women in my life often saved $5 at a time through odd-jobs to buy the $5 to $10 items and would store them away in luggage. Once these bags were full they would be gifted or sold in the Dominican Republic. The first female entrepreneurs I ever knew.”
“So much can and has been said about the Dominican hair salon. I myself have opted for a natural curly do during these Covid times. When I walked in this salon in Washington Heights, I was hit with familiar sounds and smells. I spoke with the woman running the space and asked how these times were treating her and the business—she said she couldn’t complain. I asked the women if I could take a quick snapshot and was met with some resistance, understandably. She said if they published this piece she wanted a copy.”
“I lived in the Parkchester area of the Bronx for a few years and would walk by this pawn shop often. I’d think about the stories that necessitated the exchange of objects displayed on the window. Pawn shops function as an alternative economy within neighborhoods.”