The Play theme year was fun, a protean unfolding of related art, books, artifacts, objects, films and performances generated by visitor suggestions, by our PG Correspondents – artists and workers in other disciplines – and by the rich interdisciplinary resources of our eight collaborating non-profit organizations. Through an associative process in which one idea leads to another over the course of the year, we explored the versatile meanings of  “Play,” investigating its history and future as the bedrock of culture; its regenerative power as the creative basis of every discipline and as the spark that ignites the child’s imagination; as well as its darker role in our entertainment-obsessed culture.

Play also featured an Artistsbook Library, curated by Maddy Rosenberg.

Play Co-curator: Maddy Rosenberg.
Play Correspondents: artist/animator Pahl Hluchan; artist/filmmaker Jeanne Liotta; Brooklyn Museum Librarian/Curator of Books Deirdre Lawrence; toy designer/historian/educator Karen Hewitt; and author/video game expert Heather Chaplin. Pahl Hluchan curated an animation series. Jeanne Liotta curated a film series about play projected from a new fixture at PG: a television monitor located in the alleyway above the front door, designed and installed by artist Charles Goldman.

We introduced the year with The Play Book, not a catalog, but a book to be played with – a loose compilation of artist-designed games, play-related text and images. The Play Book was the first of a series of publications called Proteotypes that grow out of Proteus Gowanus programs.

Play Contributors: Rosaire Appel, Gerard Barbot, The Brooklyn Museum Library, Cabinet Magazine, Ted Chafee, Heather Chaplin, Chris Cogburn, Donn Davis, Susan Dunkerley, Joanna Ebenstein, Kristin Eno, Janice Everett, The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, Marty Greenbaum, Melissa Hensley, Karen Hewitt, Andrew Keating, The Kentler International Drawing Space Satellite Flatfile of Contemporary Prints, Susan Happersett, Halona Hilbertz, Pahl Hluchan, Sharon Horvath, Leslie Kerby, Jenni Knight, Tom La Farge, William Lamson, Jeanne Liotta, Desi Minchillo, David Moore/Bing and Ruth, Jim Osman, Place in History, Shervone Neckles, Debra Pearlman, Alan Rosner, Lance Rutledge, Shirley Sharoff, Sandrine Sheon, Sally Sturman, The Institute For Figuring, Dan Torop, Ugly Duckling Presse, Paulus Van Horne, Vertical Player Repertory, Wendy Walker, Melinda Yale, Christa Wolf Jane Zweibel, 99 Hooker.

The Artistsbook Library

Curated by: Maddy Rosenberg
Contributors: Eileen Arnow-Levine, Carol Barton, Mindy Belloff, Doug Beube, Mark Staff Brandl, Stephanie Brody-Lederman, Catya Plate, Libby Clarke, Lucinda Cobley, Beatrice Coron, Maureen Cummins, Evelyn Eller, Sandra C. Fernandez, Anne Gilman, Geoff Green, Martha Hayden, Bob Heman, Susan Hensel, Kumi Korf, David Lantow, Andre Lee, Jill Mckeown, Veronica Morgan, Florence Neal, Heidi Neilson, Susan Newmark, Sarah Nicholls, Donna Maria deCreeft, Amee Pollack and Laurie Spitz, Purgatory Pie Press – Dikko Faust and Esther Smith, Maddy Rosenberg, Susan Rotolo, Elsie Sampson, Miriam Schaer, Susan Share, Shirley Sharoff, Carolyn Shattuck, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Micki Watanabe Spiller, April Vollmer, Debra Weier.

Additional Projects

Installed at Proteus in 2007-08

Two of the new installations of an archival nature grew out of the previous year’s Library exhibit. Reanimation Library, curated by Andrew Beccone, serves artists, writers and cultural archeologists. The second installation, which closed in 2010, was Anonima,  an archive of art, books and ephemera from a 1960’s artist collaborative established by Ernst Benkert, Francis Hewitt and Ed Mieczkowski. These artists worked collaboratively, developing drawings and paintings that were precise investigations of the scientific phenomena and psychology of optical perception. They also developed a substantial library of their own writings and related books which were on display at Proteus Gowanus for three years.

During the Play year, Proteus also featured a selection of Cabinet magazines and books with a rotating mini-exhibit curated by Cabinet Magazine and housed in a four-ton 1900 safe; a selection of art, artifacts and books related to mathematics courtesy of The Institute For Figuring and The Kentler International Drawing Space Satellite Flatfile of Contemporary Prints offering a selection of prints by over 80 contemporary artists curated by Florence Neal and archived by Sally Sturman.

Click here for a bibliography of books related to “Play.” (pdf)