As you make your way to the West side of 20th Street in New York City, lies the Forgotten Bayview Correctional Facility for women. Bayview was, to a certain extent, was a product of the harsh drug laws passed in the early 1970's and became a prison for women. In 2012, an act of God, Hurricane Sandra, forced the evacuation of its inmates due to the 14 feet of water that encased the prison.
The facility, which boasts an art deco facade, has had a rich history in New York City. The building was built in 1931 by a coalition of organizations including the YMCA. It was committed to providing temporary rooms and other amenities to sailors as an alternate to waterfront dives and seedy boarding houses for visiting Naval personnel known as the Seaman's house. It was dedicated a few months after the opening of its Architects most famous Commission, the Empire State Building. It features Art Deco lighting fixtures around the entryway, a chapel with stained glass windows, a mural of a sailing ship at sea, and the gym.
The same gym today, features the work of Annie Leibovitz. As you enter the building you are kindly greeted by perhaps former Correctional personnel. They stand at attention and eagerly await your arrival.
As you ascend to the third floor, you are directed to a dimly lit room, formerly the gym, in which the far side wall contains the history of the phenomenal artist. The walls feature her most famous work from the last photo of John Lennon with Yoko Ono to Hilary Rodham Clinton.
Also, surrounding her photographs, are banks of large flat screens which feature her notable work of Tina Fey and the American flag. Her work is shown in a primitive and simplistic manner. The strong women honored in this exhibition are held together by plexiglass, push pins and twine.
Annie is in her sixties. The first picture I viewed was that of John Lennon just before he passed away in 1980. As I moved through the exhibition, I realized that Annie had chronicled my life and, in many instances, I was speechless.
If you have the opportunity between now and December 11, 2016, please experience this unbelievable collection photographic history. It was important to Annie to ensure that her work would be available to all. The exhibition is free as well as the catalog information for all of the photographs. It is sponsored by UBS.