Category Archives: art

Marian Spore

My neighborhood isn’t known for being an art center, but if you make an effort to seek it out, there are some very creative things happening in the South Slope/Greenwood Heights/Sunset Park area. On Friday night, I walked down to Marian Spore, an art space in the huge Bush Terminal. The building is one of the largest complexes of the industrial landscape that lines the water’s edge of Brooklyn. At one time the 200 acre Bush Terminal employed 25,000 people in its docks and warehouses. Marian Spore is named for the wife of its founder, Irving T. Bush. A surrealist painter, she claimed to be inspired by her communions with dead artists. The “accumulative museum of contemporary art” is in a 16,000 square foot space and aims to add a new piece each month to its collection of installations.

On Friday, there was a party to celebrate the addition of two new works. One was a video installation called Paradoxical Sleep by Marina Zurkow that had clusters of screens hanging from the ceiling showing an animated flood in Bush Terminal and the Marian Spore gallery. Another by an artist who goes by The Plug was an installation involving light. Actually, all the pieces involved light in some way, which made them beacons in the dark space. A red neon sign by Graham Parker hangs over a puddle of water that is constantly replenished, and a video is projected on one of the white walls.  The centerpiece of the gallery is definitely the Float! ThinkTank 21 by Thom Kubil. The coffin-like capsule has a hatch that opens to allow one visitor to enter the egg-shaped space and rest in its flotation tank. Inside, there is a sound composition and books that reference the idea of weightlessness. The waiting list is apparently quite long for the 50 minute sensory deprivation experience of the art casket.

Marian Spore has limited hours on the weekend, but it is definitely worth a visit. And if you get to enter the ThinkTank, please let me know. I plan to visit Marian Spore again sometime soon to see their new pieces in their ongoing acquisition project. Perhaps someday the warehouses of Sunset Park will be like those of DUMBO, packed with studios and galleries. No matter what the area has in its future, I think it is awesome that I am walking distance to something as cool and bizarre as the ThinkTank.

Recession Art :: Elevator Show

Red dog sculptures at the Invisible Dog.

I mistakenly thought I had already posted about this, but it seems I did not. So this is a rather late entry on the Elevator Show that Recession Art hosted in the elevator shaft at the Invisible Dog in Brooklyn. This was way back in July, and the Recession Art solo show featured an installation by Alison Wilder in the huge freight elevator space. Below are images of the Elevator Show, as well as art in the Invisible Dog’s If You See Nothing, Say Something exhibit (which included the amazing dog statues above).

Flowers on Bergen Street, near the Invisible Dog.

Elevator Shaft with text from Dante’s Inferno

Alison Wilder’s Elevator Show installation.

Fabric bricks in the Elevator Show.

Recession Art Store

Gallery at the Invisible Dog

Art at the Invisible Dog

Burned Grandfather Clock

Inside a Foil Sculpture

The next Recession Art exhibit opens in November!

Unlocked with the Key to the City

Key to the City location in Bryant Park.

Earlier this summer, I got my Key to City (or it was bestowed upon me, rather) through a project Creative Time is doing with locks all over the city. I’ve been able to visit a few of them and have one more in Gowanus I might check out this weekend. Above you can see the locked box with a lightswitch in Bryant Park. The switch turned on a lamp located in the middle of some tables. Because I went during the day, the light coming on wasn’t very dramatic, but I really loved all the notes and paper that had been left by previous key holders. I also enjoyed the puzzlement of the people around me as I opened what appeared to be a utility box to reveal what looked like a crowded, secret post office box. While I got a booklet with my key that listed the directions to the locations, there are no signs for the locks when you get there, so I had to just hope that I was trying the right lock.

Miniature Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum

This was even more challenging at the Brooklyn Museum, where the lock was actually on the wall of a gallery. Once unlocked, a door swung out revealing a secret miniature exhibit, with miniature art pieces. The glass dandelion was especially charming. This also drew many curious people (which is not unusual if you wander into a museum, pull out your house keys, stick them in the wall and open a door to a cabinet of curiosities). My friend Eszter was awesome enough to bestow her key upon an especially enthusiastic and curious woman. I love that this Key to the City art project not just taking me all over the city on a fun scavenger hunt, but that it engages the people around me as well. When else do you talk to the other visitors at an art museum?

Locked gate at St. John the Divine

One an ambitious day, I went all the way up to St. John the Divine to unlock a gate to the Baptistery. Any excuse to go up to the beautiful Gothic church is always welcome. There turned to be another way into the Baptistery, but it was still fun to unlock the towering cathedral gate.

Inside the Baptistery at St. John the Divine

Like all the Key to the City locations I’ve visited, this one also made me look at the spaces of New York in a new way, to really interact with them. Yes, I could always go in to the Baptistery, but did I? It turned my focus from the heaven-reaching height of the cathedral to this beautiful and quiet chapel near the altar.