The Chelsea Hotel. It’s where Andy Warhol made “Chelsea Girls.” It’s where Dylan Thomas died. So did Sid Vicious’ girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. It’s where the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and Patti Smith all made music.
And it’s also photographer Rita Barros’ home.
In 2011, the hotel ceased taking reservations and ramped up renovations. Long-time residents, like Rita, were able to stay, but in 2012, the renovations created hazards, like flooding.
That’s when Rita turned to Manhattan Mini Storage to protect her artwork.
Rita’s work lies between documentary and self-reflection. Beginning from a strictly subjective point of view, Rita inspects subjects such as the daily life at the mythical Chelsea Hotel, the September 11 attacks, self-portraits, and moments within the photographic image.
The images Rita shares in Fresh Out of Storage are part of the project “Room 1008: The Last Days.” Rita photographed all her work and chose to live with their copies. By living with them, they became what she calls “real objects.”
“Since they took the energy of the space and time,” says Rita, “I decided to document this new phase in my fight to keep my home still a home.”
Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, Rita came to NY in the 1980s and has always lived in the Chelsea Hotel. Much of Rita’s work portrays the struggles she has endured through her ordeal over the past five years. Her work offers a unique perspective that takes photographs of photographs, which leaves the audience wondering which photograph is original and how deep she has gone with this photo layering.