We happened to catch this art installation, “Silent Lights,” under the BQE at Park Avenue and Navy Street just outside the Navy Yard when we passed by recently. Readers of this blog will remember the concept: Sound energy from traffic is converted into glowing light. Valeria Bianco and Shagun Singh of Artist Build Collaborative originally designed the walk-through piece for an intersection under the Gowanus Expressway in Red Hook.
Editor’s note: We’ve covered BRIC House extensively, but this post has lots of new material on the architectural and design aspects of the development.
The Strand Theater had once been a grand Vaudeville theater among many show-business venues clustered around the intersection of Flatbush and Dekalb in Fort Greene. Built in 1918, the structure was in disrepair when the New York City Economic Development Corporation took control, leasing the building to two tenants: BRIC Arts|Media House, a nonprofit arts organization that produces and enables art and community media programs, and UrbanGlass, an artist-access glass center. Leeser Architecture was awarded a bid by the NYCEDC to transform the building into a functional facility for both entities while also giving them visibility from the street. (more…)
Photographer and Brownstoner regular Bob Marvin’s landscape photography is on exhibit at Tugboat Tea Company in Prospect Lefferts Gardens through December 5. A reception for “Landscapes From Top to Bottom” will take place this Thursday, November 14, from 6 to 9 pm. The show is part of the PLG Arts Tugboat Local Artists series, which Marvin curates.
All of the 16-by-20-inch prints show images taken in Brooklyn or southern Vermont. “They emphasize form and texture in details of the landscape that might otherwise be overlooked,” he said. He uses mechanical cameras, medium-format black and white film, and fiber-base silver gelatin photographic paper. He prints the photographs in his own darkroom.
Other current projects of PLG Arts include jazz concerts and a “weaving” of plants on the Lincoln road bridge fence over the Q train. Tugboat is located at 546 Flatbush Avenue, between Lincoln Road and Beekman Place.
Ben Snead’s fish heads sculpture at the corner of Prospect Place and Washington Street in Dumbo was packed up last month, but a new piece of public art has arrived to replace it. Two Trees, which manages the corner, has brought in a tall, white triangular sculpture created by British artist Nick Hornby. The 12-foot-tall sculpture, called “Bird God Drone,” is a robotically carved outline of Michelangelo’s “David.” Also part of the installation is this aerial video of the piece, which is supposed to reveal that David’s silhouette is lying horizontally on the ground. We’ve included a picture after the jump!
And a much more colorful installation has appeared at MetroTech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn. Public Art Fund has installed Katharine Gross’s “Just the Two of Us” (pictured), “a mass of jutting, brightly painted forms that transform the wooded space in the middle of MetroTech Commons into an undulating sculptural landscape,” according to the description. The exhibition also includes a smaller work at the entrance to the Jay Street-MetroTech subway, on the corner of Myrtle and Jay Streets, that “hints at the much larger installation only steps away.”
Florent founder Florent Morellet, energized by the scene in Bushwick, moved from Manhattan and into the condo-turned-rental CastleBraid apartments there, above, in September. Back in the day, he dressed in drag and promoted political causes at his celebrated 24-hour Meatpacking District restaurant, Florent, which opened in 1985. It recently closed because of escalating rent.
He is sick of hearing “everyone in Manhattan complaining about the way things used to be,” and was eager to escape the “naturally occurring retirement community” there, The New York Times reported. Bushwick “is very charged, with all the young people making art, making restaurants, they are forwarding ideas,” said his close friend Denise Dalfo. “In his life, he loves this, he feeds on this energy.”
He has no plans to open a restaurant there, he said, but he might do something — perhaps a bar or performance space. For now, he is enjoying the neighborhood, and helping out with a December fundraiser put on by EcoStation:NY:
He spends days scouting for new sneakers on Knickerbocker Avenue, watching the skateboarders in Maria Hernandez Park, buying stone crabs for $1.99 a pound at the Sea Town market on Linden Street and sampling fried pig’s ears and other Latin American street fare. Every experience is fresh for him. “It’s amazing. I just cry. I cry almost every day,” he said, tears dripping through his laughter.
Most interesting is his comparison of Bushwick now with bohemian New York of bygone days: “I found the New York that I love,” he told the Times. “It’s actually better than the one that I found when I came. It’s safer.”
City officials broke ground today on the St. Ann’s Warehouse redevelopment of the Tobacco Warehouse on the Dumbo waterfront. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, outgoing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and City Council Member Stephen Levin all spoke, along with State Senator Daniel Squadron, Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer and St. Ann’s Warehouse Artistic Director Susan Feldman and its executive director Andrew Hamingson.
The $27,000,000 project will revamp the 150-year-old building at 26 New Dock Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park into a 25,000-square-foot performing arts center and community hub. Marvel Architects are designing the 18,000 square-foot building, which will have a flexible performance space, offices, waterside lobby, and a separate 1,000-square-foot multi-use community space for local artists, education and community groups. The 7,600-square-foot triangle space in the warehouse will become an open air courtyard “imagined as a walled birch tree grove,” which will be landscaped and open to the public. Construction is scheduled to wrap in 2015.
The city Department of Transportation is working with artists and architects to install a series of light-up archways at a BQE underpass at Navy Street and Park Avenue, just south of the Navy Yard. Pedestrians will be able to walk through the glowing light boxes, called Silent Lights, which will convert sound energy from traffic — picked up via microphones — to light. Valeria Bianco and Shagun Singh of Artist Build Collaborative are designing the project, which was originally created for an intersection underneath the Gowanus Expressway in Red Hook. Commodore Barry Park and the Walt Whitman and Ingersoll housing projects flank either side of the installation site, where construction will start on November 11. Singh and Bianco hope Silent Lights will be open November 22 and stay up until November 2014. GMAP
The historic Strand Theater at 647 Fulton in Fort Greene will re-open tomorrow as the BRIC Arts/Media House, a 40,000-square-foot multi-disciplinary arts and media center. Architect Thomas Leeser, who also designed the expansion of the Museum of the Moving Image in Long Island City, supervised the $35,000,000 renovation of the 94-year-old theater. The new space includes a 3,000-square foot contemporary art gallery, a flexible performance space that can accommodate 240 to 400 people, a glass-walled television studio visible from the lobby, an artist work studio, a public lobby with a café and a state-of-the-art TV broadcasting center. The lobby cafe is an outpost of Park Slope’s Hungry Ghost, and the lobby opens onto a series of cement steps furnished with cushions called The Stoop, which will feature free programming for all ages. And Urban Glass, an organization dedicated to giving artists access to glass-making facilities, has a 17,000-square-foot glass-making studio inside the BRIC House. Strand Theater was originally built in 1919 and has gone through various incarnations as a bowling alley, movie theater and a print shop.
Click through to see more pictures of the ultra-modern interior and the new art exhibitions inside!
Steiner Studios, NYC’s largest movie studio complex, presented plans Wednesday night at a community board meeting to expand its empire by building six more stages on a vacant lot in the Navy Yard. They plan to construct six 16,000-square-foot sound stages at the northeast end of the Navy Yard, on a lot, above, bounded by Clymer Avenue to the north, Keap Street to the south, Kent to the east and Wallabout to the west.
And they want to build a New York City street backlot to help alleviate traffic problems and inconveniences caused by production companies filming in Brooklyn neighborhoods. Steiner also plans create a noise barrier by “artistically” stacking the shipping containers already on the lot and interspersing them with landscaping. See the rendering after the jump for an idea of what this might look like on Kent Avenue.
A couple of years ago, there was talk of putting retail in this spot. The auto auctions were cleared out from here several months ago. Construction of the new sound stages will bring an estimated 500 construction jobs to the area and roughly 600 permanent jobs, according to the movie studio. In addition, they will offer opportunities to students at the Brooklyn College Graduate School of Film under construction around the corner at 25 Washington Avenue, which is slated to welcome its first class in 2015.
Just up the road in south Williamsburg is 500 Kent Avenue, the site of a former power plant the state is decontaminating. It will likely become apartment buildings, as we reported earlier this week. (more…)
A family disco dance party will take place this Sunday, September 22, in Carroll Park. The We Are Family Dance Party is part of the Carroll Park Kids’ Concert Series, revived in 2008 by Carroll Gardens’ mom Simmi Degnemark, according to the blog Pardon Me For Asking. There will be disco dance lessons, a D.J., and live music by Mingo and the Metropolis Band NYC. Local schools benefit from concession sales. The fun starts at 2 pm and goes till 5 pm in Carroll Park, at the corner of President and Smith streets. PMFA has all the details, and photos of previous dance parties.
Council Member Steve Levin of Greenpoint has introduced a bill to save New York from being overrun by the finance world and pushing out artists, the New York Daily Eagle reported. “For many artists in New York City, it is a struggle each and every day to make a living,” he told the paper. “By having a cultural plan that maps our cultural priorities and figures out how we can improve conditions for artists, we can make New York City a place more accommodating to artists and the incredible work they do.”
The legislation, which was jointly developed with Queens rep Jimmy Van Bramer, would require the City to create a “cultural plan” by analyzing its cultural priorities, how different communities are being served by the arts, the condition of artists in the City today, how New York can remain artist friendly despite rapidly rising rents, and what communities want arts- and culture-wise. Such plans are routine in other cities nationwide, according to the story.
Without such a bill, “we’ll just be a congested banking city,” according to Chocolate Factory founder Sheila Lewandowski. “We need to establish a five-borough cultural policy that makes sure that all communities and all ages have access to art, and that artists are not only enticed to make it big in NYC, they are encouraged to stay and invest their talents where they live.” Above, a scene from Brooklyn’s Beat Festival. Do you think the City, and Brooklyn specifically, needs such a plan, or do the arts just take care of themselves here?
The Greenpoint artist collective Fowler Project Space will debut “All Together Now,” an exhibit about making art in a collective in New York City, this Friday. The exhibit intends to reveal “what we make, why we make it, and how working in a shared space might influence our work.” Friday’s opening is part of Greenpoint Gallery Night; more than a dozen galleries in the area will also host receptions.
Image by Fowler Project Space; photo by Philippe Halsman