Tag Archives: brooklyn


Like meteorites fallen from the sky, in a random fashion, amongst the trees, with nobody harmed, luckily. Whatever their origin, they come from a very colorful constellation.

Katharina Grosse, German artist, is transforming the MetroTech Commons Plaza in Brooklyn in a quite dramatic way. A cluster of fiberglass sculptures seems to have appeared from somewhere…or nowhere. Their positioning between the rigid rows of trees on the plaza, makes one wonder how on earth they got there. They seem to embrace the little forest. Or is it vice versa? Is it the trees that are springing up amidst the sculptures?

Rigid in material, they are organic and floating in form. Like huge chunks that have broken off from the glacier, drifting, slowly melting. But then again, from a very color rich planet.

JUST TWO OF US, MetroTech Commons, Brooklyn, through September 14


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the staging of hidden bowels


The art scene sometimes allows visitors to enter its hidden bowels. The art lover loves to go to the artist’s studio to see how and where art is made. Not rarely the visitor is in for surprises. The art studio can be tucked away in a small apartment, in a garage where the car has been banned forever or in a repurposed warehouse.

The artists collective that goes by the name FABRIKA7 has only opened its doors twice. A non descriptive door opens to a staircase that leads to three floors of an old Dumbo warehouse. The stale smell of moist coming from the lowest floor might not be the most inviting visiting card for any artist. But the higher you walk up the stairs, the drier the air becomes under an enormous skylight.

It looks as if the artists of FABRIKA7 once entered the building and locked the door behind them to work. Site specific work is sprawling up on every floor and seems or is made with material found on the spot.

The first impression on the lower level is one of chaos. The installation there hits you like heaps of debris shoveled together in apparent randomness. But the found objects and their dust form a landscape of intricate messages of political critique and ‘condition humaine’.

Climbing the stairs, the piles of detritus have been cleared, and in this way, open up space for more rationally approached and recognizable works of art. But in every case, the art is part of the building and inextricably woven within the character of the site itself.

Instead of invading the building and making it into a white canvas for their works, the artists seem to have respected the soul of the warehouse. One of them told me that the place was formerly used for building theatre sets. Keeping this in mind, they have tried to honor the place by staying mere players that respect their stage. The backdrop of the old warehouse seems to be of the same importance as their art. One would maybe not be thinkable without the other.

Some people only go to the Guggenheim because of the building. When you get the chance to enter this artists collective’s temple, you also might be overwhelmed by its beauty ánd ugliness. But don’t forget to look and take in the art, too.


(The artist who took me around on a personal tour, said that FABRIKA7 might again open its door during the Dumbo Art Festival on September 27, 28, 29.)

(FABRIKA7 is located in Water Street, at the corner with Jay Street, in Dumbo, Brooklyn)


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8 and 9 September 2012

For art lovers (and artists and just curious people alike) there ‘s nothing more exciting than to go and sneak into the artist’s very own studio.

Instead of seeing canvas, sculpture, installation and video in the white cube of a gallery, you get the chance to see the space where everything happened.
It’s like entering into the artist’s own private world. And sure enough, some studios look like temples, shrine included. Others proudly and clearly bear the marks of frenetic brainstorming and handling of loaded paint brushes. One thing is for sure: they all reflect the artist’s personality.

For the first time GO offered the opportunity to all its Brooklyn artist folk to open up their doors and let people walk in. Invitation nor introduction needed.
For the occasion an app was launched. A free download allowed you to register as a visitor. A map and a list of all participants made it easier to plan your itinerary well in advance. A matter of making a first selection, according to your personal taste and interest.

On the open weekend itself, and once you had started paying visits to the studios, each individual artist’s code could be entered on the app. Visiting five or more studios allowed you to actually vote for your three favorite artists. This interactive way of planning and visiting the studios, gave the whole event this special “audience participation” feel. And the best part: the artists you vote for become eligible to participate in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum which is scheduled December 1.

Yes, I have visited several studios.
Of course I will vote.
And I can’t wait to see which of my absolute favorites have made it to the December exhibition!

(the images here include work of the following artists, in order of visit : Newlyweds (Mark Bischel and Annette Rusin), Anne Gilman, John King, George Spencer, Joseph O’Neal, Marc Lambrechts)

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JANE´S CAROUSEL, a ride with a view

It doesn’t happen very often that you come home from an auction… with a carousel! It sure happened to Jane Walentas. It all fitted well in the plan her husband had for Dumbo’s park. (Dumbo: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

The carousel was built in 1922 and stood in Youngstown, Ohio. It barely escaped a fire and finally was put up for auction in 1984. In a very bad state.
Jane was able to buy the carousel as a whole, preventing its dismanteling and dispersion in pieces.

A timeconsuming and precise labor of restoration began in her workplace in Dumbo.
Layers and layers of paint had to be scraped off, untill the first and original layer came to the surface. The exquisitely carved wooden horses have been restored to their heyday splendor. Surely, the motor and electrical wiring have been replaced to meet with today’s standards.
Nearly 25 years after the auction, the organ is playing again.

Renowned architect Jean Nouvel designed an acrylic pavilion to protect the horses from the elements. It’s like a simple cristal box that holds a treasure. It opens completely on two sides and allows views in all directions.

Jane’s Carousel is a wonderful century-old piece of popular entertainment that speaks to everybody’s imagination. Jean Nouvel’s jewelry box is a fine example of modern day design.

But what makes the carousel so special is, whithout any doubt, its location.
Freestanding on the Dumbo waterfront! Right between Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges! A ride on Jane’s Carousel offers unbeatable views! All that for 2 dollars!

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