Posts Tagged ‘Bushwick’

Brooklyn Spaces

Friday, January 21, 2011

My friend Oriana, whose name you may recognize as a frequently-thanked tipster, has an amazing new blog project of her own called Brooklyn Spaces documenting creative use of space in our fine borough and interviewing the masterminds behind each project. The latest entry on the community garden and guerrilla gardening group Trees Not Trash will be of particular interest to readers of this blog.


Photo by Maximus Comissar (ripped from Brooklyn Spaces)

Members set up planters made from used tires and other recycled material around the Bushwick neighborhood, built a community garden out of a previously garbage-filled lot and have requested and helped to plant thousands of trees throughout the area.  Also, they have a cute tagline: “Putting the bush back in Bushwick.” Check it out Oriana’s interview with co-founder Kate here.

Gertrude Berg, pick-up artist

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Austrian-born, Boston-trained trash artist Gertrude Berg made this video of a woman picking up trash with high heels on the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn as a comment on the hypocrisy of gentrification: outsiders descend on an industrial neighborhood, gut and polish the insides of buildings while the streets remain as trash-strewn as ever.

“Pick-Up Artist” was carried out in 2007 as part of Conflux, an annual New York festival designed to examine city living in artistic ways. For Conflux 2006, Berg made a many-pocketed dress out of Tyvek, which she wore everywhere during the festival and used to store all the trash she created during that time.

Photo via artist's Flickr stream

Photo via artist's Flickr stream

This project reminds me of a similar venture my friend Myra designed in college called “Trash Bellies”. She has been promising since the beginning of this blog to dig up photos of that work. Myra, are you reading this? Send me pictures!

Note: Conflux 2009 will be held this September. And it’s not too late for artists to get involved. Sumbissions are due Agusut 15. I wonder what urban and trashy wonders the next event will hold!

This post was made possible by a tip from a supercool attendee of the NYC Repro Health Happy Hour. Thanks, tipster!

Dumpster divers on the high art seas

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photo via New York Magazine

As you may have heard, a crew of 30 artists, gearheads and dumpster divers from Brooklyn rolled up to the Venice Biennial in a fleet of vessels made of New York City trash. They built the boats to resemble one the street artist Swoon saw in a dream.

While I have mixed feelings about the often self-congratulatory artistic happenings that come out of North Brooklyn and the street art scene in general, I can appreciate that my skepticism is both a bit knee-jerk and shared by the practictioners themselves. For example, I first learned about Swoon when I heard her speak on a panel on street art where divirsity came up a lot (in that self-conscious way it tends to in academic settings referencing hip hop culture), as did the fact that the mostly white street art scene (born of art schools) benefits from the same badass caché now afforded to grafitti (born of the ghetto) while the “risks” taken by the “outlaw” artists of today’s movement don’t match those taken by the bombers of the 80’s. Not by the farthest stretch of the imagination. Case in point: you’ll notice the NY Mag article uses Swoon’s real name repeatedly. Let’s see if she gets arrested for vandilism.

That said, potential jail time isn’t a prerequisite I use when judging art I like. And I truly enjoy the wheatpaste prints Swoon puts up around town. Sometimes, art is just pretty and fun. Bonus points for using trash.

“The culture of eating and building out of Dumpsters is not an endpoint, not what any of us wants to be doing,” Swoon says. “It’s about living off a bad culture that we wish didn’t exist and making the resources that contribute to that situation no longer available to you.”

For more on Swoon, I recommend searching the lovely and amazing clearinghouse, Wooster Collective. That’s how I found this Walrus TV video.

Hey, Victor, note that they may take these trash ships to the Copenhagen climate change meeting. Now that might spice things up!

Can’t get enough? More photos are over at PSFK.

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