Blogalogue

Compact little essays from a stay-at-home tourist.

Summer Art

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Every summer, several opportunities arise for just about anyone to participate in large group art shows. This year I put work in three shows, the last being at St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO, from whence I’ve just returned. I have a couple of miniatures in their annual Toy Theater show.

I took the subway out, immediately got lost, but was happy about that, happy to wander around the defunct industrial buildings under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. The low-lying, old and mostly abandoned warehouses might have been painted by Ault, Sheeler, or Demuth. The diesel-oil and faintly fishy smell was delicious.

Tired of going in circles like the unexpected carousel balancing at the edge of the East River, I went into an alley behind an old brick warehouse that bore the sign KUNSTHALLE. I mounted three dark flights, hoping to find someone to ask directions. The gallery was empty except for two men discussing an art piece in German. I ventured into the office, where a lone curator was pecking away at a computer. I knew St. Ann’s must be very close, and asked. The youngish curator remained silent; she neither addressed nor looked at me, but gloomily tapped a few keystrokes and swung the screen around for me to see a map. Down the three murky flights again, and out under a big sunny sky with cloud fleets in full sail.

A set of bridesmaids in low-cut, skin-tight, floor-length black dresses was being photographed at some distance from the bride, who wore a low-cut and skin-tight gown in white.  Someone helped move the bride’s position by lifting a profusion of shiny fabric–an Arctic avalanche of bunched fabric at the bottom of the overwrought gown. Supported by her aide-of-honor, the bride wobbled like an old lady across the cobblestones, to where the photographer wished her to stand. 

I knew I’d never be able to find a subway, so decided to walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge, every inch of which is iconic, including the massive cables quilting the sky like ship rigging. Fragments of Whitman, Melville, and Hart Crane appeared intermittently, like gulls trailing a scow. But the words flew out of my head each time a full-tilt cyclist whizzed by, hundreds of them, all frantically dinging little bells, and augmenting the sweet ting-ting with guttural, admonitory cries. 

 

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Categories: General

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2 Responses

  1. Claudia says:

    Jane, This absolutely sounds like a dream or nightmare, depending on the sensibilities of the reader. Did you make it to your exhibit? For the sake of this high-flying tale, it didn’t matter. Thank goodness it was “summer art.” Claude

  2. Carol says:

    My immediate thoughts about your adventure up the three flights – you’re very brave or you’ve lost your good sense. Brooklyn Bridge is accepting Spiderman as it’s guest. Photo is wonderfully filled with detail. Are aware the the B—B— is safest of the NYC bridges with G—W—B— coming in 2nd?

    As usual I enjoyed your entry ;~)