Last year, we profiled local Polish-born artist Martynka Wawrzyniak and her upcoming public art project, Ziemia (which means earth in Polish). Martynka is collecting dirt (not the gossip kind) from local residents—she’s asking folks to contribute a handful of soil from a place that represents their identity. The dirt will become the glaze for a spherical ceramic sculpture baked out of Greenpoint clay, and installed in McGolrick Park this May. The deadline to contribute soil to the project is March 1st! You can drop off your soil at Proper Real Estate, 100 Nassau Avenue. Don’t miss this chance to unite with your neighbors and be a part of Greenpoint history.
He might be the last cowboy in Brooklyn. Like those adventurers of yesteryear, Jamie Toll (that’s MRToll to you) wandered to a new land seeking adventure and opportunity. An immigrant from Australia, Toll moved to New York in 2003 and quickly rose from local bartender to worldly artist to social justice guru. His work has spanned continents and mediums; his cracked-open, silicone eggs scattered about the US border highlighting the fragility of the immigrant experience caught the attention of the United Nations who employed Toll to travel to El Salvador and Turkey to build community through street art. Alongside his wife, Toll is also crafting a documentary called I Am Migration. Based on their cross-country journey handing out free DNA tests, the film aims to unearth the perceptions of whiteness and blood purity, tackling racism and xenophobia along the way. Meanwhile in Greenpoint, he creates jubilant birds and clay eggs and cartoonish skulls that are peppered around the neighborhood as Easter eggs for residents to discover.
Toll is simultaneously planning, tackling, and executing a number of projects. Before this interview, he said he prefers to delve into just one and discuss its impact as opposed to scanning over many and diluting their effects. And so we discussed his one true love: Brooklyn. (“I’ve never put up art in Manhattan,” he says with pride.) He’s forthright, but don’t mistake this for harshness; Toll exudes compassion, is masterfully warm, and radiates an envious amount of charisma. Maybe it’s the Aussie accent, or the casual way he sipped a whiskey during our interview. He was in his own bar after all — the summer hotspot and winter hideaway Northern Territory, located at 12 Franklin Street. Perched on a barstool, he’s excited yet at ease, and it’s contagious. After getting to know Toll for an hour or so, it’s not hard to feel gravitationally bound to him, even as he tells you that in two years’ time his cozy bar will close. Come March 2020, Northern Territory’s lease won’t be renewed and the building will make way for a high-rise office space. This is just another verse in the dirge of local bars being bought out, but as with cowboys, another adventure is always on the horizon.
WHAT: A Hopeful Nature: The Diasporan Road to Home, a performance in an intimate salon-setting of Persian (Iranian) poetry, music, snacks and wine! Enjoy an early evening of Persian culture, immersed in metaphors—the poems and songs you’ll hear will touch on hope, love, and nature as an inspiration and a canvas for our deepest emotions, longings, and desires. These songs are of a diaspora in their search for home, and nature as a form of expression, and also a place to come back to. WHERE: Secret Greenpoint Location; location is disclosed after you purchase a ticket WHEN: Saturday, February 3rd, 4pm-6pm COST: Tickets $12 (100% to the artists) available here
I spent last Wednesday evening with artist Matthew F. Fisher at his new studio in Inglewood, California, a diversified and quieter southwest suburb of Los Angeles. We began the night at Fisher’s home by unboxing various eras of paintings and ink drawings, the evidence of a recent cross coastal move. It was a treasure hunt, where the gold was getting to examine his tight, ornamental, almost sculptural figures up-close. Matthew, his wife Nora and their 16-month-old son Ferdinand moved to Inglewood six months ago after living and working in Greenpoint for eleven years. Their relocation was prompted in part by their desire to be closer to family, and for Nora’s continuing education.
After getting acquainted with Fisher’s neighborhood, we made it over to his studio building in downtown Inglewood. The neighboring storefront, coincidentally titled BigWaveRealty, was labeled with a hand-painted wooden sign in the shape of a breaking tidal wave. Matthew smiled adding, “They asked me if I would hang up a painting.” While the move has had distinct influences on Fisher’s work, his various iconic seafaring motifs seem to be around to stay. Leaping synchronized waves, stoic ocean rocks, and tides peeling back to reveal glittering sand are all seemingly familiar imagery, but now with a West Coast influence.
Greenpointers: How has your work changed since moving to L.A.?
Matthew F. Fisher: I’ve been obsessed with this idea of near symmetry. I used to see it in paintings by John Mclaughlin, an abstract minimalist painter from L.A. in the 1950s. After I moved out here, I started to look at the architecture and noticed that the structure of the houses would be symmetrical, but then the windows would be slightly off. I feel like that energy is starting to play into the work in a way where I am not interested necessarily in working symmetrically, but I’m interested in the idea of elements being almost symmetrical or elements indirectly lining up symmetrically with other elements. For me, it makes it not necessarily supernatural, but a once in a lifetime experience. These things had to have happened at some point in time, considering we’ve been around for tens of thousands of years. The paintings are almost like this snapshot, or a wink in time I am capturing.
Greenpoint’s own (and totally adorable) craft destination, Brooklyn Craft Company (165 Greenpoint Ave), is hiring for Pattern Makers and Workshop Instructors. Read more for full details on the gigs and how to apply: Continue reading →
Ok, y’all… how we doing with those New Year’s resolutions? It’s been about three weeks, you still with me? Because I know one of those resolutions was to “see more art” or “soak up the culture” or “take full advantage of this great city,” something like that?
“Don’t be silly, Andy,” you say. “I love art, I see art all the time!”
I double-dog dare you to hit two of these six galleries this weekend.
Microscope is very pleased to present Break The Sky, the first solo exhibition at the gallery by Jeanne Liotta, whose works we have previously shown in “Triple Blind” (2013), “Slide Slide Slide” (2014), and “Dreamlands: Expanded” (2016-17), a series of expanded cinema events presented in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of the exhibition “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema & Art 1905-2016”.
A recurring theme of Liotta’s practice – which spans the mediums of moving image, photography, collage, installation, painting, drawing and performance – is a personal and poetic interest in the intersection of art and science and the tools and technology thereof.
The Exponential Festival is back again this January 2018, bringing a diverse collection of experimental and indie theatre, performance, dance and art to North Brooklyn and beyond. The last two weeks of the fest are happening right now, with these unique performances happening right here in our ‘hood this weekend and next week at varying times. We’ve listed all the remaining local performances below, and you can check out the rest of the fest’s calendar here.
VITAL JOINT | 109 Meserole Street Dandy Be Good, Jan 17-20, 24-27 @ 8pm, RSVP to [email protected] — Dandy Be Good is a site specific interactive performance and a sexy, queer, underground cabaret! Dynamic host GJ is teaming up with a marvelous array of performers to bring you a fantastic bouquet of storytelling.Continue reading →
On a quiet stretch of North 7th Street, neighboring the BQE, in the shadows of rising condominiums, lies a glass-front, converted warehouse space. There’s no signage, no buzzer, and from the outside, it’s unclear what is going on inside: a handful of people hover over large gray machines, operating levers and rolling cranks. With just a little imagination it could be a white-walled submarine or some kind of steel widget factory.
“I’ve never hung a sign out front,” says the founder and owner, Daniel Gardiner Morris. “When I have events, I have a little A-Frame sign that I’ll sometimes put on the sidewalk. It’s almost maybe superstitious at this point that I’ve never put a sign up.”
Not knowing what they do in there is one thing. Not knowing it’s there is another—it’s been at that same location since opening in 2004.
Inside, the space is awash in daylight from the large windows. The room itself is longer than it is wide, and lined with silver and grey metal machines, rollers attached, a few rustic wooden cabinets, and in the middle of the room is a grouping of tables topped with posters and wood blocks and artist tools.
Is it beginning to come together? Yes! It’s The Arm (281 N 7th St), Williamsburg’s longstanding public access letterpress studio, which Daniel Gardiner Morris has owned and operated for nearly 15 years.
By now you’ve surely noticed the 4-story mural on the building on the corner of Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue. Completed in late October, painted by Swedish artist Ola Kalnins, the mural covers the entire building facade at 903 Manhattan Ave, which is owned by Peter Kirchhausen.
In a neighborhood that seems to be more and more inundated with advertising (hand-painted or otherwise), it’s damn refreshing to see some art for arts sake.
Funded by the Consulate General of Sweden, the creation of this beautiful mural is documented in this short film. Enjoy!