"Approach to Manhattan"Photomural by Alexander Alland for the library of the Rikers Island Penitentiary
“Beginning in 1936, Alland supervised the Photo-Mural Section of the Federal Art Project. He installed photo-murals at the Newark Public Library (1936) and at the Riker’s Island Penitentiary library (1937).” (http://dlib.nyu.edu)
The Riker’s Island mural, entitled “Approach to Manhattan” was designed specifically for the prison. As Alland’s submission statement explained:
“The subject of this photomural utilizes the familiar aspects of the normal and happy family in the City. The main purpose of this decoration, besides that of relieving the monotony and changing the aspects of a huge prison hall, into a livable library, where those prisoners who have gained the privilege through their behavior, can enjoy the uses of this library is to reestablish in the inmates (by suggestion) the desires and the values of a wholesome life.” (cited in Haw)
The New York Historical Society guide to Alland’s work states that the mural no longer remains, but does not specify whether it was demolished or is simply missing.
New York Historical Society, Guide to the Alexander Alland Photograph Collection, http://dlib.nyu.edu Haw, Richard. Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History. Routledge, 2012.
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