Last weekend, a living room made from found furniture popped up right in the middle of the bright lights of Times Square. Presented by Times Square Arts, artist Justin Bettman’s #SetInTheStreet invited visitors to take a load off in a kitschy living room right out of a movie set. The piece, part sculpture and part interactive performance, brought together cast-off pieces of furniture from all over New York.
Since last year, Bettman has been setting up impromptu “rooms” all over New York City from Bushwick to Chelsea to the Lower East Side. He sources old furniture from friends, Craigslist, thrift stores and of course directly from the trash. Once collected, the pieces are used to recreate familiar domestic scenes, often with an antiquated feeling. The artist then brings in a cast of characters andsnaps a photograph that becomes part of his series of art work. After the models retreat, the piece is left, giving the public free reign to take their own snapshots of themselves in the detailed rooms, juxtaposed against city street surroundings. The furniture is later given to visitors who need new pieces for their apartments.
Bettman was asked by Times Square Arts to bring his special brand of participatory art to Times Square to celebrate the Tribeca Film Festival. For four days, #SetInTheStreets welcomed guests to take familiar family portraits, in the midst of the glaring lights and thousands of tourists.
Hundreds of visitors stopped by to become part of Bettman’s #SetInTheStreets, taking their own pictures to immportalize themselves in a work of art.