The DART Board: 04.10.2023

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday May 10, 2023

Powerhouse Arts opens its doors to the public on Sunday, May 21 following a 7-year rehabilitation. This center for Brooklyn art community makers offers facilities that include a metal fabrication shop, ceramics studio, and print shop. These vital, affordable manufacturing resources for artists are accompanied by a 13,000-square-foot events space that will showcase creative work on a singularly dramatic stage: the Great Hall, formerly the power plant’s turbine room, where many of the interior surfaces, including the graffiti, have been maintained. A former power plant built in 1903 for the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, the building was vacated in the 1970s. It became known to locals as "the batcave" for its cavernous and decaying interior that also served as a hive of artistic activity and expression and as a canvas for graffiti artists.


Explore this visionary example of adaptive reuse with Open House New York at Powerhouse Arts on Sunday, May 21st. Timed-ticket admission offers an opportunity for self-guided exploration, and the ceramics studio and print shop will be open to allow a glimpse of artists 

Powerhouse Arts,  322 3rd Avenue Brooklyn, NY Register  


Continuing: Old Tree by Pamela Rosenkranz on the High Line

Newly installed on the Spur of the High Line, Old Tree is a 25-foot-tall sculpture by Pamela Rosenkranz that follows Sam Durant’s Untitled (drone), installed in 2021, and Simone Leigh’s Brick House, which inaugurated the Plinth program in 2019. Old Tree is a vibrant pink and red sculpture that animates myriad historical archetypes of the tree of life that connects heaven and earth. With its striking colors and form, the sculpture resembles the branching systems of organs, blood vessels, and tissue of the human body, inviting viewers to consider the indivisible connection between human and plant life. 

On the High Line—a contemporary urban park built on a relic of industry—Old Tree raises questions about what is truly “artificial” or “natural” in our world. Standing in stark contrast to the buildings around it, the work provides a social space, creating shade while casting an ever-changing, luminous aura amid New York’s changing seasons. The exhibition of Old Tree on the High Line will be activated by public programming around themes of botany and anthropology, with more details to be announced. Old Tree is on display over the intersection of 10th Avenue and 30th Street, through Fall 2024. Info  @pamelaememrosenkranz Photos courtesy of High Line Arts



Continuing: Nature,Crisis, Consequence at Historical Society

This new show looks at the social and cultural impact of environmental crises on different communities across the United States throughout history. Showcasing artworks drawn from New-York Historical’s permanent collection, recent acquisitions, and loaned works, the exhibition examines subjects ranging from the proto-environmentalism of the Hudson River School to the razing of homes and churches to clear land for Central Park to the toll of the transcontinental railroad to contemporary Indigenous artists’ calls to action. Above: Osceola Red Shirt (Oglala Lakota) (b. 1976) and Genevieve Red Shirt (Rosebud Sioux, Chickasaw, Taíno) (b. 1978),

Highlights include an arresting seascape by Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee), which reclaims present-day New England coast as Indigenous; and a woven ceramic basket by Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock) inspired by the mass fish die-offs on Long Island caused by climate change, and  “The Course of Empire,” Thomas Cole’s five-painting meditation on humanity’s relationship with nature.

New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY Info



Thursday, May 11, 6-8pm: My Velvet Shadow | John Brooks, Anthony Goicolea, Kris Knight at Clamp

The exhibition “My Velvet Shadow” presents three Gen X painters whose work exemplifies queer time and queer style. These artists came of age with the residual fear that sex, intimacy, and love could likely lead to death. Their work incorporates anachronistic coded language and cross-cultural signifiers. It neither takes on the mantle of radical sexuality as activism prominent in 1980s predecessors such as David Wojnarowicz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar, and Jack Smith; nor does it celebrate the unabashed sexual exuberance of many younger queer artists.  Above, detail from Man with Clouded Eyes…by John Brooks

Instead, the work in “My Velvet Shadow” carves a space between melancholy and joy. It presents mostly solitary figures in moody, ambiguous scenarios that hint at conflicting emotions and desires. Alone in the devastating aftershock of a gay plague, the subjects of these works seem to exist/survive in unguarded vulnerable states surrounded by a host of disparate appropriations that act as a twisting road map for the preservation of queer culture. 

Clamp, 247 West 29th Street, New York, NY Info


Thursday, May 11-Monday May 28: Independent Art Fair

The Independent remains one of my favorite spring destinations for its reasonable scale and selectivity. Founded in 2010 by gallerists Elizabeth Dee and Matthew Higgs, the fair returns this week to the sun-lighted Spring Studios. The Independent is known for being a lauchpad for artists and ideas, this year with a focus this year on magical realism in the visual arts.

In an interview for artnet news, Higgs said,  “From the outset, more than a decade ago, the goal of the Independent was to create an art fair that artists would actively want to participate in. Artists were, and remain, central to the Independent’s ethos….In eschewing the distinctions between emerging and established, between insider and outsider, etc. the Independent hopes to create an environment where unexpected encounters can take place between artists of all generations. We are invested in the idea that art is made by very different people, in very different circumstances, and often with very different intentions. The ultimate ambition of the Independent is to represent something of the complexity of contemporary visual culture.”

Spring Studios, 50 Varick Street, New York, NY Info


 Saturday, May 13, 1-6 pm: Beyond Mud | Ceramics in 2023 at BWAC

This national juried art exhibition sponsored by the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, exhibits ceramic work that explores ideas about form using clay. Come experience works that are beautiful, exciting, edgy, unusual, and wonderful. Juried by Talia Shiroma, Curatorial Assistant, Arts of the Americas and Europe at the Brooklyn Museum. 

Left: Maternal Shield, by Syma; installation includes a vintage victrola table with papers, pencils and invitation to write a message to a maternal figure. Written notes will be burned in later smoke-firing, sending the messages to the heavens.

BWAC GALLERY. 481 Van Brunt Street, Redhook, Brooklyn, NY Info






Closing May 14: Xiyadie: Queer Cut Utopias at the Drawing Center

The name Xiyadie, which translates to Siberian Butterfly, is one the artist chose for himself to describe his upbringing in the Shaanxi Province of Northwest China. A reflection of his personal and artistic evolution, the pseudonym also denotes Xiyadie’s enduring resilience despite the fact that he has never been able to freely show his homoerotic work or live openly with regard to his sexual orientation. Queer Cut Utopias will feature more than thirty of Xiyadie’s intricate paper-cuts, dating from the early 1980s through today, each of which articulates his longing to fully express his queer desire.

Xiyadie is the first known Chinese paper-cut artist to publicly depart from the Chinese folk-art context. Since the 1980s, he has deployed traditional techniques to articulate, destigmatize, and celebrate queerness. “This is my stage. Here I can dance with abandon, I can give free rein to my thoughts, I can live out my fantasies,” the artist has explained referring to his medium. “Here, I can fly to the moon, I can become a butterfly, I can love, and I can hate. This is the place where I can be free."

The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, New York, NY Info