Phil America’s series of Unauthorized Galleries utilizes unused and ignored spaces and recontextualizes them as an art space – a ‘gallery’. From flag poles to abandoned factories, he does not ask permission to create these galleries: he recognizes an area that must be activated and installs a unique series of artwork. The series began in 2016, with the ‘The Perilous Fight’, a ‘gallery’ space created in the subway tunnels of NYC, in an abandoned subway station.
‘Bright Stars’ is the second installment in Phil America’s Unauthorized Galleries series. Over a period of the first 2 weeks of the most recent Presidency, the artist collected clothing worn by illegal immigrants as they crossed the US-Mexico border without permission in search of a better life. Their clothing was then disassembled and hand-sewn into American flags. These flags were then hung in the unauthorized ‘gallery’ that is the fence that divides the two countries. It is swarming with border patrol agents, as the US government spends more money on border enforcement than all of the other federal enforcement agencies combined. After being detained twice, Phil America was finally able to create ‘Bright Stars’ and honor those that risked their lives in pursuit of their dreams. This is for them.