Upcoming Exhibition. BROOKLYN UTOPIAS: In TRANSITion

September 9, 2013

Exhibition dates: September 17, 2013-January 12, 2014
Exhibition Opening: Tuesday, September 17, 6:30-9pm

Location: The Old Stone House & Washington Park, 5th avenue between 3rd and 4th street, Park
Slope. Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 11am-4pm; Friday 3-6pm; or by appointment, (718) 768-
3195 or info@theoldstonehouse.org.

BROOKLYN, NY, August 27, 2013 — Brooklyn Utopias and Brooklyn’s Old Stone House &  Washington Park announce Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion, opening September 17 from 6-9pm. Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion brings together 19 artists and arts groups responding to differing visions of ideal urban transportation systems, or proposing their own. Some artists take inspiration from Brooklyn’s existing transportation landscape, while others ask the questions, through exaggeratedly Utopian and Dystopian transportation proposals, “Who gets to make decisions about the future of transit?” and, “What role can artists play?”

On the eve of New York City’s upcoming mayoral election, exhibiting In TRANSITion artists in all media are tackling issues of transportation access, affordability, and sustainability. For example, Nicole Schulman re-interprets the NYC Subway map to show “transportation deserts” in underserved neighborhoods, while Simonetta Moro considers the possibility of canal travel in a future flooded city. Martin McCormack employs “friendly corporate speak” and slick renderings in his mock proposal for a rail line that would benefit mainly himself and his neighbors at the expense of most Brooklynites, commenting on the top-down nature of some of the city’s most notorious transit projects. Petra Valentova’s interactive mural of the nearby4th Avenue allows visitors to literally block traffic. More details below.

Project Director and Curator: Katherine Gressel

Artist Selection Committee: Katherine Gressel, Curator, Brooklyn Utopias; Noah Budnick, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives; Emily Colasacco, Urban Art Program Manager, New York City Department of Transportation; Kim Maier, Executive Director, Old Stone House.

Exhibiting Artists: Dara Alter, Bicycle Utopia NYC with Nick Normal, Marco Antonio Castro, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Heejung Cho, Molly Dilworth, Rebecca Hackemann, Samuel Holleran, Martin McCormack, Simonetta Moro, Nancy Nowacek, Carlo Sampietro, Nicole Schulman, Maureen Shea, Petra Valentova, Jason Varone, Emily Weiskopf, Ezra Wube

With events and workshops by: Center for Urban Pedagogy, Marie Christine Katz, MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design, and Transportation Alternatives

Gallery Exhibition
Brooklyn and New York City pioneered, and were largely shaped by, mass transit, from early ferries to modern subways and highways. This past year has seen the celebration and expansion of NYC’s transit infrastructure, with Grand Central Terminal’s Centennial events, the new Citi Bike share program, and the ongoing construction of new ferry, subway and express bus lines. 2012 also exposed the system’s weaknesses after Hurricane Sandy brought all transit to a halt. BU: In TRANSITion provides the opportunity for diverse groups to reflect on these topics.

Several exhibiting artists’ work symbolically references transportation transitions, whether historic, personal, or communal. Molly Dilworth drapes OSH’s colonial Dutch interior with textile banners whose patterns allude to Brooklyn’s maritime transportation history, while Heejung Cho’s drawings reveal a present-day Park Slope inextricably linked by transit. Samuel Holleran’s textbased prints explore the migration of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community via the East River ferry, and Ezra Wube’s video animation erases and retraces the artist’s daily commute.

Other projects creatively visualize current problems and solutions. GPS and mapping-inspired paintings by Dara Alter and Nicole Schulman call attention to the growing need for better transit between NYC’s outer boroughs and surrounding suburbs. Jason Varone’s installation projects scrolling headlines relating to the Kheel Plan, a proposal to make public transit free and charge more for cars.

Simonetta Moro and Nick Normal/Bicycle Utopia explore sustainable transportation modes for a changing climate, from hurricane relief delivery bikes to boats. Prototypes for Marco Antonio Castro’s public bus gardens and Nancy Nowacek’s “Citizen Bridge” connecting Brooklyn and Governors Island showcase artist-driven transit designs and attempts to actually realize them in public. In contrast, Rebecca Hackemann’s hand-manipulated Phenakistiscope animation depicts a more futuristic means of hassle-free travel via personalized pods.

The process behind transit decision-making is addressed by works like the Center For Urban Pedagogy’s “Fast Tracked” newspaper, investigating the contested recent extension of the No. 7 Line to Manhattan’s far West Side.

Public Art
Two public sculptures outside OSH in Washington Park, to also open Sept. 17, include Maureen Shea’s climbable scale model envisioning the past, present and future of Flatbush Avenue, and Carlo Sampietro’s chair repurposed from a common traffic barrel. In 2013, for the first time Brooklyn Utopias and the Old Stone House are partnering with the NYC Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program to also present a temporary public art installation on the nearby traffic median on 4th Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets, by artist Emily Weiskopf with an unveiling the week of October 8, 2013 (date TBA).

Opening Event and Events Series
Events throughout the fall will further engage visitors in dialogue about the exhibition theme. For  her opening performance, “Let’s Take a Walk,”artist Marie Christine Katz will conduct a group  walk with tweeted directions, a drummer, a town crier and a Tweet Master. Katz will interject historical fact and stories told during knitting sessions held in Washington Park the week prior to  the opening: look for the artist knitting in Washington Park Sept. 12 -13 from 3 to 5pm, and Sept.
14-15 from 4 to 6 pm.

Other events include:
Saturday, Oct.12:”Knitting I Need You” Additional knitting lessons and storytelling with Marie
Christine Katz (10 am-6 pm)
Monday, Oct. 21: “Who Decides Who Rides?” discussion with Transportation Alternatives and
Center for Urban Pedagogy (6:30-8:30 pm)
Saturday, Nov. 2: Utopian Brooklyn Subway Art Tour with MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design
Deputy Director Amy Hausmann and artists (1-3 pm): Meet at LIRR/Atlantic Terminal, Metrocard
required, limited to 22 spots. RSVP to katherinegressel@gmail.com

About Brooklyn Utopias
Brooklyn Utopias (BU) is an ongoing exhibit and event series, founded in 2009, in which artists,  young people, activists, architects, designers and urban theorists consider differing visions of an ideal city through the “concrete” example of Brooklyn. Previous BU exhibits have dealt with such topics as overdevelopment, community preservation, urban agriculture, and public space design, and have been recognized by Time Out New York, Hyperallergic, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, The Brooklyn Paper, and Brooklyn Independent TV. According to Allison Meier in Hyperallergic, “After spending time in the tranquility of Brooklyn Utopias: Park Space, Play Space [2012] in the Old Stone House…it was possible to imagine…that artists are an essential voice in imagining an exuberant, yet intelligently developed, future for the borough.”

About The Curator
Katherine Gressel is a New York‐based artist, curator and writer focused on site‐specific art. She earned her BA in art from Yale and MA in arts administration from Columbia University. She has curated for the FIGMENT Sculpture Garden on Governors Island and for No Longer Empty’s inaugural Curatorial Lab program. She has written and presented on critical public and community art issues for createquity.com, Americans for the Arts, and Public Art Dialogue, among others. She currently serves as Programs Manager at Smack Mellon gallery.

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