Proteus Gowanus is an interdisciplinary gallery and reading room. Named for the Greek sea god of change and the adjacent Gowanus Canal, Proteus Gowanus acts as an interpreter of culture and place, deepening the community’s sense of context and connection.

Current Exhibition

Thirst: an Exhibition and Participatory Laboratory

March 22 - April 19, 2014

This year at Proteus Gowanus, our annual theme is WATER! The third show of the Water year is Thirst, curated by Lydia Matthews + Current Collective, with Hope Ginsberg + Sponge HQ. [more]

Next Exhibition

Combined Overflow

April 27 - May 24, 2014

The fourth show of the Water year is Combined Overflow, an exhibition of creative responses to the Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal, two New York City waterways whose common histories of industry, pollution and neglect have resulted in Superfund Site designations for both. [more]

Archival Exhibits

Our exhibition spaces include several archival installation that accrue and slowly evolve: Hall of the Gowanus, Reanimation Library, and Morbid Anatomy Library. Come and spend a quiet hour or two browsing the books, studying old maps, examining curious artifacts.

Baby Minke Whale Skull ("Sludgie") Exhibit

Proteus Gowanus was asked by TEDxGowanus to create an installation that revolved around the skull of the baby Minke whale "Sludgie" who died in the Gowanus Canal. The skull and elements of the installation are now on view in our Hall of the Gowanus.  Come see the installation and peruse the history, science and culture of the Gowanus Canal and its environs.



Since its inception, Proteus has created or hosted eight Projects-in-Residence, located in spaces adjacent to the central gallery. Some of these projects grew directly from our yearlong exhibitions, while other initiatives were invited to join based on their shared love of books, their wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, and their desire to engage the community in inclusive interdisciplinary explorations.

bkbx [Brooklyn Box]
Fixers’ Collective
Hall of the Gowanus
Morbid Anatomy
Reanimation Library
Writhing Society


Study Hall

Proteus Gowanus invites you to join Study Hall, a place for contemplation, study and work. Members use the Proteus galleries and reading rooms to work in quiet community with others in a setting filled with art, artifacts and books. [more]

Ongoing Events

Writhing Society

Wednesdays at 7pm

The Writhing Society, open to writers and non-writers alike, practices methods of constrained writing invented by the French group Oulipo and others. [more]

Fixers Collective

Third Thursday of every month

The Fixers Collective is a social experiment in improvisational fixing. Bring your broken thing and together we will see what can be done. [more]


Space Rental

Proteus Gowanus rents out all or some of its galleries for events, readings, photo shoots, product launches and parties. Our book- and art-filled rooms offer intimate spaces for gathering, as well as a larger area for presentations. [more]


Upcoming Events

Documentary Films On Women Who Surf

Thursday, April 24, 7pm
$5 admission

Join us for an evening with the documentary filmmaker Charlotte Lagarde for a screening of her award-winning trilogy about women surfers. Charlotte’s love of the sea led her to document these women’s lives. The films are Zeuf (4 min), Swell, (23 min) and Heart of the Sea (55 min). A discussion with the filmmaker will follow. [more]

Opening Reception: Combined Overflow

Sunday, April 27, 6pm

Meet the artists and community group members whose work creatively explores the two NYC water bodies branded Superfund! by the Environmental Protection Agency. The work on exhibit represents these toxic sites as fertile areas of collaboration, invention and public engagement. Join us for free wine and conversation! [more]

The Gowanusian Ball!

Thursday, May 15, 7pm

Join us for our annual benefit party in celebration of disorderly conduct and delightful dereliction, down by the canal! Strange creatures from the Gowanusian mud will cavort with you as we drink, dance and conduct ourselves badly on the banks of our nasty, beloved canal. Gowanusian attire will not be discouraged! [more]

Drawing the Gowanus: a Zone A Workshop

Saturdays 10 am – 12 pm
(Participants can attend one or more workshops)

An introduction to drawing techniques, including charcoal, graphite,  pen and ink and collage, artist and instructor Lado Pochkhua leads this workshop for parents and/or children, 8-16 years old.  Participants explore the post-industrial landscape and artifacts of the Gowanus Canal. [more]