Tria Giovan: Loisaida: New York Street Work 1984–1990
An evocative chronicle of the Lower East Side’s halcyon days, from Giovan’s archives
In 1984, Tria Giovan moved to a tenement building on Clinton Street on New York City’s Lower East Side. She wandered the streets photographing as if in a foreign land. Loisaida― as it is known to some―was as gritty, authentic and humble as it was exotic, vibrant and colorful. The melding cultures and humanity she encountered inspired these photographs. Giovan left the neighborhood and the work behind in 1990 without ever editing or producing the majority of the photographs. The negatives languished until the pandemic.
Tria Giovan: Loisaida New York Street Work 1984–1990 is a time capsule, a cultural and historical record of a 1980s Lower East Side that fostered robust communities of diverse populations, including the many immigrants who took pride in making Loisaida their home. Her images invite curiosity and evoke nostalgia about a place in a bygone era that has been forever altered through waves of gentrification. Part preservation, part humanistic engagement, this project contributes to a historical visual legacy of the ever-evolving, always evocative Lower East Side.
Tria Giovan (born 1961) is the author of Cuba: The Elusive Island (1996), Sand Sea Sky: The Beaches of Sagaponack (2012) and The Cuba Archive (2017). Exhibited in the US and internationally, her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Library of Congress, the Parrish Art Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Public Library.