Proteus Gowanus » Gowanus An interdisciplinary gallery and reading room Sat, 19 Sep 2015 22:40:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Waterlines: a Performance on the Gowanus Sun, 08 Jun 2014 16:16:52 +0000 Saturday, June 28, 4:30pm
Location: Union Street Bridge, Gowanus Canal

Waterlines, by Daniel Rothbart, is a choreography for floating sculptures and two canoes in the Gowanus Canal between the Union and Carroll Street Bridges.  A floating constellation of sculptures in the water will be shifted and reoriented by Daniel Rothbart and Jessica Harris in dialogue with the currents and the ever-changing environmental situations of the historic waterway.

After the performance, you are cordially invited for a glass of wine and to view the final exhibition of the Water year at Proteus Gowanus, down the alley off Nevins Street. The exhibition, Water Works, features work by New Orleans artists.

Rothbart’s glass and aluminum sculptures are informed by growth forms in nature but realized in the vernacular of industry and modern architecture.  This tension emulates the complex relationship between Gowanus Creek and New York City that first resulted in a canal for commerce, later a dangerously polluted waterway and currently a Superfund cleanup site.


During the test float of a sculpture in the canal, a bird came to perch on the work as though it were a real tree.  Similar confusion has proved fatal to a whale and dolphins that have recently made their way from the East River into Gowanus Bay and the canal, succumbing to organic pollutants. Waterlines explores dichotomies of appearance and reality, nature and civilization, creation and destruction, contamination and rehabilitation.

Tableaux flottants viewed from the Union Street Bridge circumscribe the water’s surface but the sculptures were also conceived for perception below the waterline. The performance will be videotaped underwater, from the banks of the canal and the bridge.  A video work edited from this footage will be presented at Rothbart’s forthcoming solo exhibition at the Galerie Depardieu in October 2014 curated by Wolfgang Becker.

Daniel Rothbart is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn. His work explores the relationship between nature, urban postmodern identity and metaphysics. Rothbart holds a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, an M.F.A. from Columbia University and was awarded a Fulbright grant to Italy. Daniel Rothbart represented the United States at OPEN10 with a floating sculptural installation in Venice. Projects include exhibitions at the Andrea Meislin Gallery, Exit Art and the LAB Gallery in New York and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill. European exhibitions include the Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna in Rome, the Galerie Depardieu in Nice, the Galleria Il Ponte in Florence and the Cultural Centre of Belgrade in Serbia. Rothbart has participated in numerous international artists’ residencies and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts grant.

For more information, visit Daniel’s website at

Jessica Harris is a dancer, educator, choreographer and performance artist based in Brooklyn, New York.  As a dancer, she has worked with Shen Wei Dance Arts for more than ten years. Performances with the company include the Lincoln Center Festival, Kennedy Center, Sydney Opera House, Walt Disney Concert Hall, La Fenice in Venice, Het Musiztheater in Amsterdam, Hong Kong Grand Theater, Sadler’s Wells and more.  Ms. Harris joined Shen Wei in choreographing material for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and has taught company master classes throughout the US and Europe, including in Hungary, Spain, and Italy.  As an educator, Ms. Harris has taught numerous classes and workshops in technique, choreography, and somatics, and served a one-year teaching appointment in the Dance Department at Pomona College, where she introduced a course in Site Specific Performance.   In her choreographic work, Ms. Harris experiments with the use of physical limitations and specificity of task as a method for movement generation.  Her work includes concert dance, music videos and musicals.  As a performance artist, Ms. Harris is interested in how to use performance to communicate information.   She has created performances pieces for conferences, events, commercial spaces and for educating children.  Ms. Harris is pursuing a Master’s degree in performance and marketing at the Gallatin School of individualized Study at New York University.


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Gowanus Drinks: A Workshop/Walking Tour of Thirsty Plants & People Tue, 01 Apr 2014 22:43:57 +0000 THIRSTLAB WORKSHOP #3: Gowanus Drinks: A Workshop/Walking Tour of Thirsty Plants and Thirsty People
Saturday, April 5th, 4-7pm

Gowanus is a literal backwater, a tidal swamp that has been channeled and paved over by political, economic, and environmental forces since the first European colonists arrived. Tracing a meandering path through the region’s history–from its early agricultural roots, to the infamous Whisky Wars and Prohibition Era, to Superfund and today’s hydroponic farms, craft liquor distilleries and DIY brewery shops–this workshop culminates in a two hour walking tour that will investigate the dark and bright sides of the Gowanus. We’ll begin by exploring how water quality relates to agricultural methods and industrial processes, and how these issues may help account for the emergence of small-scale urban farming and alcohol production methods. We will bring together scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and DIY enthusiasts to exchange ideas about how pollution, disease, and economic crisis–as well as new industries, culture, and social life– are fed by the Gowanus canal. Does the proliferation of DIY activities and small-scale local businesses respond to people’s real needs for agency in their daily lives? How have these ventures factored into real estate speculation and quality of life in the area? Explore these questions first-hand through a walking, talking & tasting tour led by artist Jeremy Olson that will include stops at Gotham Greens Hydroponic Farm (located on the top of the neighborhood’s new Whole Foods store), Brooklyn Homebrew, and Breuckelen Distilling Company, the first gin distiller to open in Brooklyn since Prohibition. Put on your walking shoes and join us as we open our minds and wet our whistles.

Workshop Leaders: Jeremy Olson (Artist/Current Collective Member), Aaron Cooper (Artist/Current Collective Member), with Bhawani Venkataraman (Interdisciplinary Scientist, Eugene Lang College The New School), Cleo Woelfle-Erskine (Hydrologist & Co-Founder of Greywater Guerrillas) and July Cole (Poet and Co-editor, Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground), Viraj Puri (Co-Founder & CEO, Gotham Greens),Alex Wenner (Brooklyn Homebrew), Brad Estabrooke (Founder, Breuckelen Distilling Company)


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