Weekend-Long Art Under the Bridge Festival Kicks Off Today

09/25/2009 1:04 PM |

Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen The Experience of Green

The 13th annual Art Under the Bridge Festival runs today through Sunday all over Dumbo. This free showcase is the largest urban forum for experimental art in the country, and it opens tonight at 6pm. The festival guide and links to an iPhone app can be found at the Dumbo Arts Center homepage, and they are recommended, as the entire neighborhood will transform into an urban exhibition space and it gets tricky navigating the open studios, performance art venues, galleries and pop-up spaces, not to mention all the video installations in the concurrent festival video_dumbo.

Last night, Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen unveiled their contribution to the festival, “The Experience of Green” (pictured), at the DAC Gallery (30 Washington St). The artists “forested” the industrial space in support of nature and industry co-existing, as it was explained to me by Shannon Legg, one of the high school interns who has helped with preparations for the festival and who will also have an exhibit with partner Elisabeth Pianel—their piece, “BKLYN C-KRETZ”, will show throughout the festival at 20 Jay Street. This theme of ‘environment’ will emerge in various works, along with the rise of technology, homelessness and responses to the recession, to name a few of the recurring issues.

Because Art Under the Bridge is an exhibition of temporary, on-the-spot projects, the influence of contemporary culture and dialogue is expected. The spontaneous nature of the festival, combined with its inherent tendency towards touchable, accessible, and interactive art makes for an exciting concentration of over 80 projects on display. I’ve already been able to see John Monteith’s block-long oyster carpet, “River’s Edge” in Fulton Ferry State Park, and a couple of the exhibits I’m most looking forward to this weekend are Artcodex’s gold rush town performance “Welcome to New York: Boomtown 2006″ and Reina Kubota’s plastic bag installation “Tree of Life”. Click here for a full list of participating artists.

The DAC has been the sole producer of Art Under the Bridge throughout its history. The festival was borne out of its mission to inspire and incubate relationships among artists, their local community and the public at large. It was the first non-profit arts organization in Dumbo and has established itself, and the Dumbo art scene, through year-around gallery exhibitions, site-specific commissions, and educational programs for professional artists as well as high school students.