East Harlem’s walls are literally covered in wall murals but this tour focused on those concentrated in a small area -- 103rd Street to 107th Street and Second Avenue to Park Avenue. Technically considered graffiti, murals can also be banners of honor, inspiration and a canvas for the love artists share for the place.
"Beauty is power...The greatest power of all," was among the first slogans Rubinstein used as early as 1904 for her advertising campaign that inspired the exhibition’s name, Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power. She convinced turn-of-the-century women that “painted faces” were not just for actresses or tarts but would add to their sense of empowerment no matter what their social class might be.
Carrying the mock shirtwaist on a pole with the name of Maria Giuseppa (Tortorelli) Lauletti, 33, I felt the weight of her history, knowing that until a few years ago, she had been among the six “unknowns,” until genealogist, Michael Hirsch identified her five years ago.