Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lori Brown's Matilda Joslyn Gage Library: A Reflection

Matilda Joslyn Gage
When an art show ventures outside the realm of aesthetics and into that of the concept— especially one extending its hand to a community saturated with visual art(ists)—people are bound to leave with some questions. But that’s the point.

(The Missing Library) could not be a more conceptual exhibit. A show built around community engagement and provoking discussion about the unstable future of libraries, its lack of pretty pictures throws some visitors at first. But then they return, with questions they didn’t know they had and a new understanding of how (The Missing Library) isn’t a show that requires, or wants, typical gallery decorum. It’s actually one that invites you to stretch out on a giant pillow and watch Ghostbusters, to play a scavenger hunt, to take out a book but leave another in its place; it wants you to leave your mark as it leaves one on you.

The events, pieces, and projects involved in (The Missing Library) aren’t what they appear to be at first glance. It’s like a book you actually want to read two or three times. You got the storyline the first time around but it brought up questions—equal parts vague and personal—about how you view the world that bring you back in search of your answer.

With that said, I watched and listened with an open mind three Thursdays ago as architect Lori Brown talked about her proposed Matilda Joslyn Gage Library and the eponymous woman whose legacy just reemerged on the historical radar for the first time in over a century.


Friday, July 22, 2011


Friday, August 12, 10:30AM - 12:00PM
ages 4 and up

Dumbo Arts Center
111 Front Street, Suite 212
Brooklyn, NY
Come learn the art of printmaking with teaching artist Victoria Calabro. Participating children will learn how to create a relief with special foam blocks which they will use to print their own original series. Students will take inspiration from DAC's current art exhibition (The Missing Library) by Annie Shaw and make their prints into a unique book at the end of the class.  
Ages 4 years old and up are welcome accompanied by an adult. There is a cost of $25 per child/adult pair. All supplies are included in the class fee and each child will take home a series of their own art prints.
For additional information or to register, please call 718-694-0831 or email with the subject line: "Art Class." Registration is suggested but not required.

Calling all Brooklyn High School Students!

This summer DAC brings you: the Summer Art Lab, an exciting opportunity to make art and exhibit at the Dumbo Art Festival! This program is a four-week weekend intensive, led by teaching artist Victoria Calabro and kicks off on August 6, 2011. Classes will meet every Saturday in August from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Participating students will develop their skills, practice art making and learn about public and site specific artworks. Students will work creatively together and gain hands on experience in a gallery setting. In addition, the participants interact with professional artists who will visit DAC and conduct lectures and discussions. 
All students will be provided materials by DAC, and will produce an artwork under the guidance of our teaching artist. This art work will be exhibited during the Dumbo Arts Festival, a three day public festival to be held September 23rd-25th. 
For examples of Victoria Calabro’s work, go to:
For additional information or to register, please call 718-694-0831 or email with the subject line: "Summer Art Lab"
Summer Art Lab
For High School Students Ages 16-18yrs
Class Dates: Saturday August 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th
Times: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Cost: $25 per session

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Web Round-up!

Your guide to all things art-related around the web.

HENNESSY YOUNGMAN: Philadelphia artist Jayson Musson has created a persona that is equal parts comedian and sharply astute art critic. His "Art Thoughtz" videos range in discussion, from debunking Relational Aesthetics to discussing the role of race in the art world. Youngman's videos, which function as art in themselves, also serve to provide a platform for the role of art theory in contemporary culture.
For more information, check out this interview with Musson from Art in America.

ART.SY: Computer programmer and art connoisseur Carter Cleveland teams up with Christie's Sebastian Cwilich to launch the much anticipated a new interface that promises to allow for a new, dynamic way to search and find auction information about various pieces. The site has not been launched but visitors are able to put their names on an invite list.

VVORK: It's simple interface and straightforward design give the German art blog vvork a leg up on thousands of other similar sites. It's a constant stream of new art, from both established and up-and-coming artists.

BOOOOOOOM: Another general survey website that's frequently updated, but BOOOOOOOM focuses more on works on paper and canvas.

VIDEO_DUMBO: On a more local front, this site provides all the information you need to prepare for this year's video_dumbo, running from September 23-25. The 2011 lineup hasn't been announced yet, but we'll be sure to update you when it is. Meanwhile, perusing previous years' lineups gives lots of films to add to your "must see" list.

BROOKLYN FARMACY & SODA FOUNTAIN: Not necessarily related to art, but cooling off with a fresh blueberry soda from this Carroll Garden's throwback (with real blueberries in the bottom) might be the best way to clear your mind and keep hydrated in this heat.

Stay cool, everyone!

-Hannah, intern

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DAC Director Karl Erickson and Annie Show on TV!

Check out this nice interview Britain-based Crane TV did with DAC Director Karl Erick and (The Missing Library) organizer and artist Annie Shaw! It was great to have them here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

DAC Open Call for Exhibitions 2012

After a brief respite, Dumbo Arts Center's Open Call for Exhibitions is back!

We invite artists and curators from all levels of experience to submit proposals for 2012.  3-4 exhibitions will be chosen for production in our gallery space at 111 Front St. in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

For 2012, DAC will be organizing exhibitions around the theme of "Focus." Artists and curators are encouraged to interpret the theme as they see fit.

We will consider all proposals, though we will admit a bias to installation, video, the very loud, the very quiet and/or the very small. Proposals can be for solo or group exhibitions. As DAC is a small (and nimble!) institution, artists and curators will have a very hands on role in developing and installing the show. Proposals that include elements of public programming are encouraged.

Click here for detailed guidelines.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interview with "Missing Library" Participating Artist Marie Lorenz

Intern Hannah Mandel interviews Marie Lorenz

Q: The first question I have in viewing your work is to ask your opinion on Bas Jan Ader's In Search of the Miraculous. I'm sure you've spent a lot of time discussing this piece and how it relates to your work, and in a way, I almost see what you're doing as a kind of recognition of the qualities of the sea that Ader was trying to highlight in that work, but instead of giving yourself to the impossibility of the water, you are harnessing and accepting its constraints.

Marie Lorenz: I love that piece of course: how heartbreaking it is, and how unresolved. My work must seem so chatty in comparison. My web-journal of the Tide and Current Taxi has all these bright pictures of people having fun. But I guess I am always looking for ways to tap into that morose longing that the sea inspires. If one of my passengers says anything remotely gloomy or if our conversation turns to death or fear when we are out in the boat, you can be sure that I will work it into the story that I tell about it online. There is one piece that I made that I have always though about it relation to In Search of the Miraculous and that is this video I made a few years ago called Capsize. I made it sort of accidentally when I was testing out a sailboat that I made off the coast of Italy. I was drawn out to sea by the wind and ended up having to swim back to shore when the boat capsized. I want to make more videos like this- from the perspective of a person at sea, but in the city. 

Bas Jan Ader, In Search of the Miraculous, 1975 (

Marie Lorenz, Capsize, 2010 (

Q: From teaching sailing I know that spending time on a boat with a small group of people leads to a certain bond- you are all somewhat reliant and trapped with one another. How do you think this notion- in all it's connotations- romantic, terrifying and cathartic, has affected your process?

M.L: The desire to tell a story about that relationship- the one between me and the people stuck in the boat- is what the Tide and Current Taxi project is really about. Sometimes people as me if it is weird to be stuck with a stranger for so long (sometimes 6 hours or even longer). But the thing that happens, and is so reliant, is that we immediately begin to work toward this sort of absurd goal (getting the tide to take us somewhere in the city) and we are instantly bound in our determination. We are talking the whole time about these very practical things (can you move a little to the left, watch out for that branch, etc) and then some very personal things start to surface. It is always fascinating and that is what I try and write the web-journal about.

Marie Lorenz, Tide and Current Taxi (

Q: I noticed you went to RISD. I'm not sure how much time you've spent around Rhode Island, but if you sailed there, you must know that there's an odd culture surrounding it- sailing is historically a hobby reserved for the very rich or fisherman, and there's not a lot of leeway either way. How has the boating culture of Rhode Island affected your work, as well as the sociopolitical issues surrounding sailing?

M.L: Well, Providence is where it all started really. But not with sailing. When I was a freshman at RISD, I started making little rowboats to travel in the canals, which were muddy ditches back then during the reconstruction of the downtown "waterfront district". It was a fascinating time to be in school there, the whole downtown was being ripped up and I used to make these tiny boats and explore tunnels that went under the city. I didn't make a sailboat until I was in Rome. My dad took me sailing as a kid, but in rented boats at marinas operated by the military (he was in the Marine Corps) so my exposure to it was not as class oriented. I do have a sense of the culture that you are talking about, but I think that making the boats I used myself was always a way to invent my own context. For instance, I didn't like the way canoes or kayaks looked- too sporty or something, so I made things that were less recognizable.

Q: How separate do you view your boatbuilding endeavors and your projects? I know in Islip you built a boat that incorporated drawings. I would imagine that the stringency of boat building- the need for adherence to physics, etc, would hinder your creativity. Is this true?

M.L: My process making the boats is not very stringent. (probably why the one sailboat that I made was ripped up by the wind!) I use plywood and fiber-glass, and I end up repairing the boats every year. For me the interest lies not in the boat making itself but in what I actually do with the boats. I think your previous question made me realize that making the boats was initially w away to make up a context from scratch. I used to design them all myself, but when I started using fiber-glass I started working from existing plans. I alter the plans a bit but not in the overall shape, I alter the materials to make the boat lighter (also cheaper and easier to build). I did go to boat building school after RISD- the Arques school is Sausalito. But if they saw the boats I made now I'm sure they would be horrified. They mill their own timber and use hand tools for almost everything. It gave me a tremendous respect for the craft but I don't do anything the 'right' way now.


Big thanks to Marie! You can view her work at and

Be sure to check out DAC's Missing library exhibition, organized by Annie Shaw, with participants Jen Kennedy, Liz Linden, Marie Lorenz, Michelle Rosenberg and Angie Waller.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

James Leonard's "Captain America": Free Screening Friday, July 15

James Leonard's Captain America (+ Magic!)
Friday, July 15, 7 PM
Dumbo Arts Center
111 Front Street, #212, Brooklyn, NY
Free! Plus, Free Popcorn Pizza and AC (Donations encouraged!)

James Leonard's video portraits, "Captain America" and "Magic," stake out a wide territory of oral tradition and iterated story telling.

In "Captain America," portrait sitter and die-hard comic fan Lazzarus monologues the entire chronology of Marvel Comic's Captain America beginning with pre-war experiments on African Americans in the 1930's following all the way through to the character's demise in 2006.

In "Magic," portrait sitter and punk-rock fetish model Jax, recounts her ten year history working as a horse whisperer rehabilitating unwanted and abused animals.

Together, these two videos bracket the stories we keep, the stories we tell, and the stories that define us. Presented in conjunction with DAC's exhibition (The Missing Library), organized by Annie Shaw. For more information, please

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Misanthropy, Spite, and Bile: DAC Delves Into the World of the Written Word

Since moving to Brooklyn to intern at DAC, I’ve conversed with many of the local creative types. Whether waiting for the train or over the orange glow of a cigarette, strangers (more accurately, “pre-acquaintances”) on the streets of Kings County all seem to break the proverbial ice with the same question ---“So, are you an artist?"--- to which I unflinchingly reply, “I’m a writer.”

It’s a key example of the “Same-But-Different” phenomenon. Writers make art, express creativity and offer our perspective on the world but our process, our minds, our voice sounds much different than the more visual brood. However ironically, a theme that bridges the gap between word people and image people is misanthropy---it runs deep in all creative veins.

This summer, DAC caters to the literary crowd, writers specifically, with Misanthropy, Spite, and Bile: A Creative Writing Workshop on Thomas Bernhard. This workshop will focus onvoice, using Bernhard’s novels as a gateway to discussion and analysis of the nature and craft of voice in writing.

Led by John Holiday, a published fiction writer and instructor at Rutgers, the workshop emphasizes creation rather than critique. Every other week the group will discuss one of Bernhard’s (short) novels as a way to examine the author’s distinct and infectious voice and develop your own in its shadow. Writers will respond to prompts inspired by the novel and misanthropic theme to explore the sound of their voice in the context of Bernhard’s prose. In the weeks after discussing the novel, the group will workshop each member’s 1-3 page creative response to the text. These pieces can be prose, poetry, a new middle group yet to be categorized, collaborative, individual, cumulative or isolated---make it creative, make it yours.

The workshop requires three novels, Woodcutters, Concrete, and Correction, all by Thomas Bernhard, and an enrollment fee of $280 ($250 for DAC members).
If you miss the group workshop experience (I do!) and have Tuesday evenings open this summer, don’t hesitate to join the misanthropes. We’re not always so melancholy! But when we are, it makes for beautiful writing.

To enroll or for more info, check out
Misanthropy, Spite, and Bile: A Creative Writing Workshop on Thomas Bernhard with John Holiday
Class dates: Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 July 12, July 19, July 26, August 2, August 9 & August 16 6:30-8:30 PM
$280 per person | $250 for DAC members
"For there's nothing more terrible than to see a person so magnificent that his magnificence destroys us and we must observe this process and put up with it and finally and ultimately also accept it, whereas we actually don't believe such a process is happening, far from it, until it becomes an irrefutable fact, I thought, when it's too late."
—Thomas Bernhard, The Loser 83

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Where Have All the Libraries Gone?: Two Librarians Explain Why Every Community Still Needs Them and What’s Taking Them Away.

“Libraries are community places; they are public places. They’re not just a personal commitment to reading or to improving yourself; they’re a public commitment to that. They’re a compassionate statement that says we all want to learn, we all want to grow, there is something to learn from the people in our history.” — Phillip Kwik, Head of Troy Public Library in Michigan, in danger of closing (as so many others are) due to finances. This same library received 97 letters from literary greats such as E.B. White, Dr. Seuss, and Isaac Asimov promoting the public virtues of libraries to the town’s youth and community. One Marguerite Hart, children’s librarian at Troy Public Library, started the campaign that became known as “Letters to the Children of Troy, May 1971” by contacting hundreds of public ---not just literary---figures requesting their views on the importance of public libraries for a community and their fondest memories of reading and books.

Libraries and librarians---or their
threat of extinction---have been in the news lately. Our current exhibition aims to raise community discussion on the topics plaguing libraries today: what happens when all the books are digital? What roles does a public library play in our information and Google search age? Are we forgetting the community role libraries serve as we slash the nation’s fleet of librarians and libraries alike?

There has never been a library in Dumbo before
(The Missing Library) exhibition --- not for lack of trying.

This Thursday July 7th at 7pm, join us at Dumbo Arts Center for a talk with Lori Brown and Nate Hill, who worked to organize and create public libraries---Matilda Joslyn Gage and Dumbo, respectively.

Thursday, July 7 , 7pm Dumbo Arts Center: Lori Brown on Matilda Joslyn Gage Library & Nate Hill on DUMBO Library

-Post by Katie, Gallery Communication Intern

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Nate Hill will be unable to join us for the lecture. However, Architect Lori Brown will speak about the life of Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826 - 1898) and her proposal of building a library commemorating Gage's legacy. For two years, Brown conducted extensive research on the influential activist who has been largely left out of feminist history. Her project offers a point of view on what it means to establish a communal space dedicated to an individual, whose ideology continues to be radical even today.

Lori Brown has developed a practice that focuses on the relationships between architecture and social justice issues, with emphasis on gender and its impact upon spatial relationships. Two projects she has recently been working on include a local women’s shelter renovation and designing a roaming bus providing internet and community space for the Seneca Nation. Her current book project explores how highly securitized spaces, legislation, and the First Amendment affect places such as abortion clinics, domestic shelters, and hospitals to be published by Ashgate in 2012. She teaches at Syracuse University.

Please join us tomorrow (July 7th) at 7 pm for this event!

The Librar(ies) in (The Missing Library)

There are two actual libraries in DAC’s current exhibition.  Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass Library and The Feminist Library. Here’s how they work:

DUMBO Library
Not just part of the exhibition but a permanent part of Dumbo Arts Center, this library is populated by book donations made by Dumbo residents. This marks the first library in the Dumbo neighborhood---though not the first attempt.

Rules for:
Library Cards
Anyone who wants a library card come and get it! We just need a valid phone number, email and street address---not necessarily in Dumbo---and you’re free to take out anything from our lovely, community-generated book collection.
Book Donations
Max donation of 30 books per person and no one’s books are turned down---unless they’re falling apart. It’s a terrible experience to have a chuck of pages fall into your lap, don’t you think?
We need your info (name, email and phone number) to process the books and give credit where credit’s due for helping us build Dumbo’s first library.
What happens to unselected books?
Sadly, we can’t take all the books so we are staking the leftovers behind in the center of the gallery behind the reception desk. Don’t worry, we’ll sort and label them by donor.

Feminist Library Book Swap: A Completely Different Library
For the run of (The Missing Library), contemporary feminists Jen Kennedy and Liz Linden compiled a collection of books centering (or simply touching) on feminism. These books can be exchanged on a swapping system.

A book for a book---you bring in a book (preferably relevant to feminism) and you can take a book. But before you go, stamp the inside of your contribution with the “Book Swap” Stamp near the collection.

Then, go enjoy that book!

Post by Katie, Gallery Communication Intern

Friday, July 1, 2011

Something for the Kids! Imagination Comics: From Page to Puppets with Lauren Barnett

Lauren Barnett's "When I'm Sad"
This summer, instead of spending Saturday mornings watching cartoons your children can make their own (and bring them to life) at DAC’s Imagination Comics.

The three-weekend program lead by acclaimed comic illustrator and Brooklyn local, Lauren Barnett, kicks off July 16th with an introduction to the world of comics and the basics of cartooning. The second class will give the kids a chance to explore their imaginations by developing their own characters and creating their very own comic strip. For the final session, Lauren will help the kids bring their original comics off the page and into the 3rd dimension. By constructing puppets of their characters, the kids will experience cartoons in a way no funnies page or television show can offer.

To stretch your child’s imagination this month, enroll them in the workshop at
For examples of Lauren Barnett’s work, go to

Imagination Comics: From Page to Puppets with Lauren Barnett
For kids ages 8-11 years old
Class dates: Saturdays, July 16, 23, & 30, 2011
Cost: $75 | $60 for DAC members