Dumbo Arts Festival returns this weekend (Friday, September 28–Sunday, September 30) for a cross-cultural moshpit of multimedia exhibitions, events, performances, and installations.

My repeated hesitance accepting the Dumbo art scene as not forced into existence by a real estate development company and its lack of organic growth is hushed into a reluctant yet hopeful acceptance of corporate sponsorships paving the way to support artists as they produce and showcase their work.

DAF gloats participation from 500 artists, 100 studios and 50 exhibitions/performances/events. The streets come alive throughout the weekend and all cultural forms take advantage of the nooks and crannies of sidewalks, buildings, rooftops and even construction panels to display and submerge the audience in its artistic glory. Here we collected a short spectrum of studios, events, and installations you shouldn’t miss.

Projects & Installations

YouTube video

Codex Dynamic: curated by Leo Kuelbs and John Ensor Parker

Sept 28–30, 8pm, Manhattan Bridge Archway

One of the more obvious draws include Codex Dynamic, a video projection exhibition cast along the walls and archway of Manhattan Bridge. Last year I was blown away by the haunting 3D visual effects pulsating along the surface of the bridge, the wow factor and technical extravagance overpowering its artistic significance. This year it will be of similar influence showing the work of video artists questioning “subjectivity of space, time and the effect they have on our perceived reality”. In other words, prepare for another visual mindfuck. The artists participating in this “show” include Enid Baxter Blader, Monika Bravo, Gary Hill, Jaakko Pallasvuo, SYSTEM D-128, Sarah Walko + Malado Baldwin, and many others

King Dumbo by Lilka Hara (courtesy dumboartsfestival.com)

Lilka Hara – King Dumbo

Sept 28, 6–9pm, Washington Street at Water Street

King Kong is coming to town, this time in the form of discarded plastic bottles and bags. I hope we’ll be able to shake hands on the rooftop of a Dumbo warehouse.

Eladio (aka Demo) de Mora (courtesy dumboartsfestival.com)

Eladio (aka Demo) de Mora – ¡Los Osos Estan Aqui!

Sept 28, 6–9pm, 81 Washington Street

Also be on the lookout for very large plastic gummy bears.

Open Studios & Exhibitions

Scenes from the first week of this year’s Triangle Workshop (via triangleworkshop.org)

Triangle Workshop Brings the World to Dumbo

Sept 29–20, starting at noon, 20 Jay Street, Suite 318

After a two-week work session, 30 artists from over 20 countries will be opening their studios and sharing their work with the general public. If you want a taste of what to expect, check out their website, where they have been blogging photos from the studios every day.

Iviva Olenick (courtesy ivivaolenick.com)

Iviva Olenick

Sept 29–30, 1pm, Brooklyn Bridget Park Two

Iviva Olenick gives embroidery and crafts’ resurgence in contemporary art a social media kick. Tweet her your dirty little secrets @ivivaolenick to be regurgitated into physical space and installed in her studio throughout the weekend.

Monika Sziladi (courtesy msziladi.com)

Monika Sziladi

Sept 29–30, 12pm, 92 Plymouth Street

Monika Sziladi creates digital collages from photos shot documenting offline experiences instigated by our online identities. Niche meetups, networking mixers and online dating platforms give us the opportunity to invent identities that are executed with kinks in the real world. Moments of uncertainty, self-conscious obsession with self-documenting and relentless prophesizing over digital technologies are revealed in these images as our most vulnerable.

Randall Stoltzfus (courtesy sloweye.net)

Randall Stoltzfus

Sept 29–30, 12pm, 89 Bridge Street, 2nd Fl

Randall Stoltzfus creates paintings with layers upon layers of circles and dots rendered in large scale visual landscapes. I find obsessive mark making mesmerizing and will always remind me of the crazed persona of Yayoi Kusama.

Matt Straub (courtesy mstraub.com)

Matt Straub

Sept 29–30, 12pm, 68 Jay Street

Part Warhol, Lichenstein, and de Kooning the paintings of Matt Straub are self-professed “Mash-Up of sensibilities” that bleed nostalgia of the Westerns and cowboys. Saturated color palettes and layers of art & cultural histories abound.

Mark Dagley (courtesy minusspace.com)

Mark Dagley – Structrual Solutions at Minus Space

Sept 28, 6pm, Sept 29–30, 12pm, 111 Front Street

An exhibition of geometric oversized paintings by Mark Dagley. Relying on sequences and a systematic process to creating the works, Dagley strives to create an “impersonal look, but paradoxically, I want to achieve it painting by hand.” This duality will be interesting (or not interesting at all) to witness.

Events & Performances

Spontaneous Art

Sept 29, 12–9pm, roaming

YouTube video

On the subject of digital, technology and online/offline experiences we can’t forget the influence of video games and robots. Spontaneous Art’s central mission to creating participatory performances gives us grumpy folks a chance to dodge sponge bullets and jump through hoops maneuvered by green latex man-sters.

Childrens Museum of the Arts – Art Village

Sept 29 // 12 – 5pm // Tobacco Warehouse

If you’re exploring DAF with children in tow make sure to step into Art Village for hours of artertainment. Activities include stop-motion animation, clay sculpting, cardboard bridge making, sewing, and bike decorating.

The Dumbo Art Festival takes place from Friday, September 28 to Sunday, September 30 all around Dumbo, Brooklyn. 

Joann Kim Núñez is a Korean aquarius vata-dosha rat who grew up in Queens and currently reside in Brooklyn, NY. She works as an executive assistant for a chef/restaurant owner dealing with all things...