This Exhibit is past. Visit our Exhibitions page for information on the current programming.
Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal
This exhibition invites artists to consider what a “Utopia” (or ideal place) would look like for the communities bordering the Gowanus Canal.
On View: April 10 – June 26, 2022
Coffey Park Banner Opening April 9, 2023 from Noon – 5 pm, with art bazaar + performances
J.J. Byrne Playground Banner Opening April 10, 2023 from Noon – 5 pm, with art bazaar + performances
OSH Gallery Opening April 10, 2023 from 4 pm – 6 pm
Enjoy this virtual tour slide show of the exhibition, photographed by Etienne Frossard.
Participating Artists and Arts Groups:
Lisa Aurigemma, Sasha Chavchavadze, Dov Diamond, Chasity Fryer and Mary Glover, Nathan Kensinger, Leslie Kerby, Radha Korman, Clarinda Mac Low and Carolyn Hall, Karen Mainenti, Christina Massey, Robin Michals, Caitlin Miller, Carolyn Monastra, Lynn Newman/Artichoke Dance, Iviva Olenick, Red Hook Art Project, Amy Ritter, Manju Shandler, Daniel Anthony Vasquez, Liam Wiesenberger and Ella Yang
Arts Gowanus and the Old Stone House & Washington Park (OSH) are proud to present Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal, a multi-site exhibition opening April 9th and 10th that will feature over 200 artists to considering what a “Utopia” (or ideal place) would look like for the communities of the neighborhoods bordering the Gowanus Canal. These include Gowanus, Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill, and Red Hook.
Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal consists of an indoor exhibition at the Old Stone House (OSH) and two public outdoor art exhibitions of artwork printed on banners hung on the fences surrounding J.J. Byrne Playground and Coffey Park featuring a diverse group of local artists.
This project is part of the ongoing Brooklyn Utopias exhibition series, developed by OSH Contemporary Curator Katherine Gressel, that highlights the importance of artists and communities in helping shape the future of a changing Brooklyn. Some artists in Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal celebrate iconic or beloved aspects of the neighborhoods’ past or present that already feel “utopian” and the importance of their preservation. Others comment on existing plans for the area during a time of rapid redevelopment and rezoning. With climate crises, gentrification, financial instability and an ongoing pandemic hitting these communities especially hard, many artists present their own visions for a greener, healthier and more equitable Gowanus. Others explore a broader idea of urban utopia, with both local and global implications.
Select outdoor banners highlight local people and organizations that are actively working towards a better Brooklyn. Some feature the work of students created through workshops with youth organizations.
The OSH gallery exhibition’s artworks in diverse media provide deeper explorations. Daniel Anthony Vasquez, Chastity Fryer and Mary Glover, and Radha Korman celebrate the people–including artists, immigrants, public housing residents and families– maintaining homes, businesses and community gatherings in a rapidly gentrifying area. Ella Yang’s new “Disappearing Gowanus” paintings depict places that will be “nostalgic in the very near future” due to the rezoning of large portions of the neighborhood. Caitlin Miller’s dynamic sculptural installation chronicles the vacant storefronts in an area where “space is at a premium.” Public programs led by participating artists Clarinda Mac Low and Carolyn Hall, Iviva Olenick and Artichoke Dance will engage the community in such topics as Gowanus’s post climate-change future, textile art-making with local foraged plants, and the implications of developing an area still undergoing environmental remediation. Site-specific plant installations by Christina Massey incorporating materials from local manufacturers suggest the possibility of a more harmonious relationship between nature and industry. Public art in OSH’s gardens (in addition to the banner show) includes Sasha Chavchavadze’s directional signs alluding to the battles of the American Revolution that once took place at OSH/Gowanus, and Amy Ritter’s mailbox inviting visitors to comment on the American Dream today.
See below and visit artsgowanus.org for a full list of participating artists, curators, organizations, and events.
Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal is a partnership between Arts Gowanus, the Old Stone House & Washington Park, Coffey Park in Red Hook and The Red Hook Art Project. Funding for the Old Stone House exhibition is made possible, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Puffin Foundation. The banner exhibitions are part of the Arts Gowanus Gallery Dispersed program, funded in part by the Brooklyn Arts Council. Cover image: Leslie Kerby
ABOUT THE BANNER EXHIBITION:
Coffey Park Participating Artists:
Abigail Romero Montetro, Alanna Flowers, Amanda Aponte, Andrew Huff, Annakiya DeCoteau, Annemarie Waugh, Areta Buk, Argun Ulgen, Aspen (bri) Villar, Aynsley Leonardis, Beau Madden, Bernard Hallstein, Brie Spielmann, Brooke Julien, Carlos Moreno, Carmella Gullo, Carolyn Monastra, Chao Wang, Daniel Genova, Dytanya Mixson, Elisa Soliven, Elizabeth Meggs, Epy Carrieri, Faye Harnest, Felipe Torres, Fernando Sanon, Gabrielle Lansner, Hong Wu, Imari DuSauzay, Jenna Spevack, Jeremy Dennis, Jethro Gedeon, Jeylani Thomas, Johnny Camacho, Joseph Anastasi, Karen Margolis, Kasia Zurek-Doule, Katie Saltoun, Katie Godowski, Kendry Corbin, Kiki Valentine, Laura Corrin, Laziza Rakhimova, Li Ordanov Dan, Liev Arpante, Lisett Clark-Dziedzic, Lorna Leighton, Maria Lewis, Marie Hueston, Massah Fofana,Mayana Torres, Michael Flaherty, Michelle Mannix, Mollie Serena, Monica Gutiérrez Kirwan, Nicholas Papadakis, Nicole Vergalla, Patricia O’Rourke, Rachel Schapira, Richard Vivenzio, Sanny Ng, Sasha Lynn Roberts, Scarlett Esquivel, Stacey Billups, SumiSnack Symin Adive,Taeesha Muhammad, Terumasa Fujita, TiffanyStevens, Tizian Mazziotto, Tyesha Colthrust, Unice Gomez, Valerie Hill, Vanesa Alvarez, Whitney Lukens, Yue Yi Jiang
J.J. Byrne Participating Artists:
Aleathea Sapp-Jimenez, Allison Kaufman, Alicia Mccarthy, Amy Morken, Andrew Smenos, Anne Bartoc, Annette Rose-Shapiro, Anne-Sophie Plume, Aubrey Nolan, Audrey Anastasi, Axelle Destaing, Caitlin Miller, Catalina Lucero, Chasity Fryer, Christopher Swain, Daniel Anthony Vasque, Daniel McDonald, David Barthold, David Kutz, Dennis Darkeem, Doug Gately, Dov Diamond, Emily Chiavelli, Ilse Knecht, Jan Rattia, Janet Pedersen, JD Weiner, Jenna D, Jessica Dalrymple, Jessica DAmico, Jill Inbar, Jo-Ann Acey, Joann Amitrano, Joanna Oltman Smith, JoAnne McFarland, Joe Cantor, John Azelvandre, John Wilkens, Johnny Thornton, Jonathan Blum, Josh Seiden, Joyce Riley, Julia Forrest, Julie Peppito, K Haskell, Karen Cuchel, Katherine Gressel, Kathleen Collins, Kathleen Dobrowsky, Ken Rush, Kevin Rogan, Kristin Ducharme, Lawrence O’Neill, Leslie Kerby, Linda Adato, Linda Berkowitz, Lindsey Jones, Logan Kisiel, Lynn Cole, Manju Shandler, Maria Paula Rennis, Mari Renwick, Mark Thomas, Mark Phillips, Marybeth Zeman, Mary Negro, Michael Amendolara, Michael Koehler, Michael Freedman, Michael Jacobson, Miguel Ayuso, Miska Draskoczy, Monica Rich, Owen Foote, Peikwen Cheng, Peter Darnell, Phil DeSantis, Philippe Regard, Preetha Stephen, Radha Korman, Raya Dukhan, Rebecca Carmel, Rich Garr, Rick Secen, Risa Glickman, Robert Gould, Robert (Bob) Levine, Robin Michals, Robin Roi, Roxanna Velandria, Ryan Gallagher, Sandrine Gigon, Sarah Lucas, Sarah Drury, Sasha Chavchavadze, Seth Hillinger, Sherry Davis, Sofya Yuditskaya, Stacy Bergener, Steve Pauley, Susan Newmark, Susan Greenstein, Susan Yung, Tiane Goines, Traci Johnson, William Bartoc, William Patterson, Yukiko Izumi
Participating Organizations and Individuals, “Making a Better Brooklyn” Banners:
Cora Dance, 350Brooklyn, HashtagLunchbag, Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Tiffiney Davis, Camp Friendship, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, Portside, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Why Not Art?, Forth on Fourth Avenue, The Powerhouse Arts Youth Advisory Council, Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, Groundswell, Textile Arts Center, Turning The Tide, Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice, Theresa Davis, The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, CHiPs, Park Slope Parents, Gowanus Mutual Aid, Exploring the Arts, Theater of the Liberated, Arts Gowanus Artist Advisory Committee, David Kutz, the Old Stone House
Locations: Coffey Park, Dwight and Verona Streets, Red Hook, Brooklyn; J.J. Byrne Playground/Old Stone House, 336 3rd St., Park Slope, Brooklyn.
May 22, 2 pm: Gowanus Climate Futures: Collage Workshop
What do you want your climate-changing future to look like? Imagine and build your own utopian future for the Gowanus through collage making with Sunk Shore, Carolyn Hall & Clarinda Mac Low. Materials provided. This is an outdoor workshop (weather permitting) in the garden outside the Old Stone House.
June 25, 11 am: Gowanus plant foraging and natural dye workshop with Iviva Olenick, using local native and nonnative plants: Through foraging, touring OSH’s gardens and using local plants as colorants, participants will become more aware and knowledgeable of local native and cultivated plants, animals, insects and habitats. Meet in front of the Old Stone House.
June 25 and 26, 1 pm -3 pm: Brooklyn Utopias Interactive Performance Tour of Gowanus with Artichoke Dance. Through an immersive experience, audiences interact with and learn about the environmental justice issues impacting the neighborhood, community initiatives in relation to the impending rezoning of Gowanus, and the current remediation of the Gowanus Canal, New York City’s first named superfund site due to decades of extreme toxicity. More information and tickets available HERE! Tour begins in front of the Old Stone House.
Tiffiney Davis, co-Founder and Executive Director of Red Hook Art Project; Tiane Goines, artist and member of Gowanus Mutual Aid; Katherine Gressel, Contemporary Curator, Old Stone House & Washington Park; Elizabeth Masella, Senior Public Art Coordinator at NYC Parks; Johnny Thornton, Executive Director of Arts Gowanus and Gallery Director at Established Gallery; and Pam Wong, art writer and curator, Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse.
BACKGROUND ON BROOKLYN UTOPIAS AND EXHIBITION SITES:
The Brooklyn Utopias series was first conceived in 2009 by OSH Contemporary Curator Katherine Gressel as a way for artists to respond to Brooklyn’s resurging popularity in the 21st Century and often competing and controversial rebuilding and rebranding efforts. It was also inspired by Brooklyn’s history as an enclave for artists, social reformers, immigrants, environmentalists and others drawn to its iconic neighborhoods.
The Old Stone House (OSH) is a reconstructed Dutch colonial farmhouse located in Park Slope’s Washington Park/J.J. Byrne Playground. The playground and house restoration were first developed by Robert Moses in the 1930s, but the land surrounding the house made history long before then as the site of the 1776 Revolutionary War Battle of Brooklyn, and as a 19th Century Brooklyn Dodgers practice field. OSH is at the crossroads of ancient Lenape paths, adjacent to the historic town of Marechkawick, and has recently updated its permanent exhibition with information about the area’s native inhabitants, also making this a focus of our contemporary art programming. Today, OSH hosts history and environmental education programs as well as cultural and family events. Artists may contact OSH as a resource on the history of the Gowanus Canal and its connection to these historic events.
Opened in 1901 and bound by Verona, King, Dwight, and Richards Streets, Coffey Park is named for Michael J. Coffey (1839-1907), the former state senator, alderman, and district leader representing Red Hook. Renovated in 1999, Coffey Park features a playground with swings, benches, game tables, picnic tables, basketball courts, handball courts, and a baseball diamond.