Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City Opening 09.16.10 @ 6P

Posted: September 14th, 2010 | Author:

Photo by Dan Sagarin

Please join me at the OPENING RECEPTION for



336 Third Street (Inside the Park!)
Fifth Avenue between 3rd & 4th Street, Park Slope
F/R to 4th Avenue/9th Street or R to Union Street

What would a Brooklyn Utopia look like?

Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City invites artists to respond to urban agriculture as a “utopian” solution for Brooklyn, considering the borough as a case study for future “farm cities”.

Brooklyn already is home to a fertile cross section of both traditional and experimental urban farming methods. Home-grown food and a DIY culture are on the rise. Brooklyn has a rich agricultural history settled by Dutch farmers who created the Nation’s most productive farms until 1920s. Now, its soil is presumed toxic waste.

How can the real or imagined Farm City catalyze new visions for social and environmental change that may bring about a “Brooklyn Utopia?


Artists are increasingly incorporating farming, landscaping, and ecology into their practice. The predominance of environmentally concerned exhibitions at contemporary art institutions is one mark of the shift of environmentalism from a marginalized grassroots and activist effort to a more institutionalized and popularized subject that infiltrates every sector of society.

The artworks range from symbolic and visionary to living and earthy. Christina Kelly’s process-work, Maize Field, re-fertilizes Brooklyn neighborhoods once tilled by Native Americans. Jess Levey and Katherine Gressel also ponder the connection to Brooklyn’s agrarian past juxtaposing colonial, present, and future imagery of the Old Stone House and creating a site-specific and localized entry point to contemplate “Utopia.”

A futuristic video by Work.AC and never-before shown plans and drawings by Mary Mattingly predict more sustainable futures for land, water, and air use in the context of Brooklyn’s fate as sea levels steadily rise around it. Eric Sanderson is also focused on the future — contrasting imaginary and actual digital maps of Brooklyn drawn from his 2009 bestseller Manahatta , combining the present with an idealized agrarian aerial view of the borough in 2409.

Mimi Oka and Doug Fitch’s satirical Land of Cockaigne depicts a sybaritic depiction of heaven of effortless consumption that eerily tracks our own current dystopian abundance of cheap, fattening and false foods.
Scott Nyerges, Kate Glicksberg, and Dan Sagarin use photopgrahy and blogging to capture existing newly-green farm oases hidden in unusual places throughout Brooklyn’s endless hardscape — from fire escapes to rooftops.

L-A-W-N by Tattfoo Tan

Kim Holleman and Tattfoo Tan explore the edible and educational potential of mobile farms, joined by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis presenting Truck Farm at our Opening Party on 09.16.10 — on display throughout the weekend.

In another amazing temporary installation on 09.18.10, The Greenhorns (a collective of Young Farmers and Artists) erect FARM FORT, an interactive multi-media camp that will show films and hold discussions in a 10 x 10 tent.

Eve Mosher’s mini plant “modules” demonstrate her use of social networking to link and multiply Brooklyn’s smallest farms while Hernani Dias employs technology to link Brooklyn to urban farms overseas, displaying the vital signs of new potatoes to a shared website interface — like a Facebook stauts update for plants.

Andrew Casner and Hugh Hayden demonstrate how art itself can be made from Brooklyn’s rejuvenated organic material, including compost and live insects. Outside, Mathilde Roussel-Giraudy’s human body sculptures of growing edible plants, Ça Pousse!, bring new meaning to the phrase “You are what you eat!”


Not-to be missed temporary outdoor installations opening weekend, Sept 16, 18-19:
Ian Cheney & Curt Ellis (Truck Farm) (on view Sept. 16, 18-19)
The Greenhorns (FARM FORT, an outdoor farm information tent) (Sept 18-19 ONLY!)
Kim Holleman (Trailer Park) (Artist talks Sept. 16, 6-8pm; Sept. 18 & 19, 1-2pm and 5-6pm)
Tattfoo Tan (S.O.S. Mobile Classroom): (Artist presentation Thurs, Sept. 16 6-8pm; and SUNDAY ONLY, Sept. 19, 10-2pm)

Video projections by Jess Levey
Live musical performance by the People’s Champs

Featuring artwork by:
Andrew Casner, Hernani Dias, Kate Glicksberg, Katherine Gressel, Hugh Hayden, Kim Holleman, Christina Kelly, Jess Levey, Mary Mattingly, Eve Mosher, Scott Nyerges, ORPH, Mathilde Roussel-Giraudy , Dan Sagarin, Eric Sanderson, Tattfoo Tan, Work.AC


Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City will correspond with Crossing the Line: Farm City, a comprehensive 3-week exploration of urban agriculture through markets, workshops, tours, films and discussions running from September 12-25, 2010 at the French Institute Alliance Francais, and Open House New York Weekend, a citywide architecture and design tour October 9-10, 2010 organized by Openhousenewyork, Inc.


Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City is a mash up of two curators’ related projects devoted to exploring the relationship between art and place. Last year, Katherine Gressel launched Brooklyn Utopias as an annual exhibit in which artists consider differing visions of an ideal city through the “concrete” example of Brooklyn. This year, Derek Denckla initiated FarmCity.US, a broad-based, long-term action-research project that aims to engage public enthusiasm for environmental change through transformative collaborations between arts and urban agriculture.


The Old Stone House is symbolic of Brooklyn’s gradual return to its agricultural “roots.” Originally a Dutch colonial farmhouse, OSH now boasts five community gardens and corresponding arts and environ mental education programming — providing food for artists’ boldest thoughts of an entire future city that can again help feed itself.

The Old Stone House of Brooklyn is a modern reconstruction of the Vechte-Cortelyou House, a 1699 Dutch stone farmhouse that was the site of the largest battle of the Revolutionary War and the original home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Old Stone House is dedicated to creating a strong sense of community through history, environmental education and the arts.

Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City

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One Comment on “Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City Opening 09.16.10 @ 6P”

  1. 1 Farm City - new visions for urban agriculture 2010 said at 10:28 am on September 27th, 2010:

    [...] TheGreenest.Net [...]

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