The Dumbo Arts Festival was pure unadulterated art-as-spectacle this weekend as tens of thousands of art lovers streamed along the waterfront, between streets, into buildings, and under the bridge to inhale an all-encompassing slew of pop-up art pieces strewn about the neighborhood. To consider the festival’s nighttime projections, interactive performances, dance routines, and live music an homage to public art is a slight understatement.
Archie Lee Coates III is one of seven curators of Beginnings-, a new gallery that launched Thursday night on a side street in Greenpoint. He met with me a few hours before the opening of their inaugural exhibition to discuss the challenges or the lack thereof to running a space with seven pairs of hands in the kitchen.
Dumbo Arts Festival returns this weekend (Friday, September 28–Sunday, September 30) for a cross-cultural moshpit of multimedia exhibitions, events, performances, and installations.
I never would have imagined stuffy mathematics and playful chance could blend in peaceful harmony, let alone lead to the series of subdued yet provocative drawings on display in James Bills’ current exhibition Golden Parachutes and Tin Handcuffs at Yes Gallery in Greenpoint. Only an artist adept in the language of architectural drafting could manage to successfully transform boring data charts into appealing visualizations of randomly generated numbers produced by the throw of a pair of polyhedral dice.
Walking past Open Space Gallery’s temporary space on Franklin Street I saw several anthropomorphic boxes lined against the walls, their hyper-simplicity too charming to dismiss. I walked inside where, as fortune would have it, artist Raphaela Riepl was manning the show, titled Adorable Steamed Sea Urchin. We spent some time discussing her work and creative process, and then I explored the exhibition’s crew of energetic sculptures. These coy creatures are the results of spontaneous outbursts of creative energy, a haphazard layering of whatever materials are available, laying strewn about her studio.
In organizing Greenpoint Open Studios, I was introduced to some 160 amazing artists producing a variety of works in their studios. Painters, photographers, sculptors, video artists and performers are all sprinkled around the neighborhood, but one collective whose studios I was most charmed by is Fowler Arts Collective. The 20-artist collective is housed inside the infamous Greenpoint Terminal House, once the largest rope mill in the world, a recent victim to a suspicious raging fire, and now host to film shoots, a wooden furniture shop and of course, artist and studio space not unlike that found at art school.