The International

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It’s long been known that Queens is the most diverse county in the United States, but the Queens Museum of Art is hoping that its latest exhibition will shed some light on how that population is evolving and integrating.

The curators of Queens International 4, a biennial showcase of dozens of artists who work in the borough, said their new three−month exhibit at the QMA is not only a display of diverse talent, but a barometer of how the immigrant population is changing as it gets older.

“We have a lot of artists now who are the kids of immigrants, second generation,” said co−curator Jose Ruiz. “Their experiences really shape what the works they produce are about. I think that what we’re seeing with this generation is that they’re trying to deal with the cultural differences in a more humble way. They are far more willing to embrace the differences than the previous generation and I think that comes through in their work.”

The exhibition will run through April 26 and features 42 artists from 18 countries who do their studio work within Queens. It is the fourth installment in the series, launched in 2001 after the U.S. Census declared Queens the most diverse county in the country.

Much like the artists themselves, the work showcased in the exhibit represents a diversity of styles and media.

Derick Melander’s piece, “Flesh of my Flesh,” is one of the more instantly imposing works on display. Melander used hundreds of pieces of second−hand clothing and compressed them into a massive column of fabric awash with color.

“A Frame Apart: Short Films on Queens,” meanwhile, is a video collection shown on Saturdays at the museum throughout the exhibition depicting aspects of life in the borough through the lenses of six different directors.

“I’ve come to three of the four of these,” Srin Patel, a Fresh Meadows resident, said at the opening ceremony Jan. 24. “It’s always a completely unique experience. There’s just a different vibe to [Queens International] than you get at any of the posh Manhattan galleries. I think there’s a certain authenticity that’s often lost there that these shows just have in spades.”

Ruiz said he and his fellow curators, Prerana Reddy and Erin Sickler, spent weeks going over hundreds of submissions for the exhibition. He said the group made more than 200 studio visits before deciding on the 42 artists that made the final cut, a process he called both exhaustive and enlightening.

“It was interesting to see each of these unique stories in all the studios,” he said. “It was nice to generate a rapport with each of the artists. It was kind of a nice reprieve from the process you would undergo for a gallery show in Chelsea or SoHo. And even though we ended up with this diversity of artists, they fit nicely when placed together — all the different cultures and styles. It’s like they’re gangs, but not really rival gangs.”

For more information on Queens International 4, visit

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

If You Go

Queens International 4

When: Through April 26; Wednesday−Sunday, weekdays 10 a.m.−5 p.m., weekends noon − 5 p.m.

Where: Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Cost: Suggested donation $5

Contact: 718−592−9700 or

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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