This weekend, for the 15th year, the DUMBO Arts Festival (Sept. 23-25) will take over every available space in the neighborhood beneath the bridges. In that decade-and-a half most artists have left the now-posh area—save for a few holdouts and those who've scored studio residencies, about which more later—but a strong set of galleries and art world power players like incoming Two Trees cultural affairs director Lisa Kim have kept the festival very strong. This year, as always, there's more worthwhile stuff to see than there is time to see it in, so here are ten exhibitions and events not to miss.
Open Studios, Janet Biggs' "Wet Exit" and New Exhibitions by Rachel Beach and Isidro Blasco Smack Mellon: Janet Biggs' videos of explorers at distant ends of the earth are incredible, so the stakes are high for her multimedia performance at the waterfront organized by Smack Mellon. Promisingly, the piece (which takes place Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm) "combines projected video images, vocalist and musicians, with choreographed kayakers performing in the East River." During the DUMBO Arts Festival Smack Mellon's resident artists open their basement studios to the public (Saturday 12-8pm, Sunday 12-6pm), which this year means we'll get to visit Liz Magic Laser! And, if performances and studio visits aren't your thing (as if that were possible), Smack Mellon is opening two great-looking shows on Saturday: a photo-architectural installation by Isidro Blasco and a collection of new abstract sculptures by Rachel Beach.
Summer Comedown Concert at St. Ann's Warehouse: The weather's supposed to be warm and humid this weekend, so basically summery even though it'll be fall by then, so St. Ann's is hosting this free concert from 1-6pm on Saturday featuring six local bands (La Defense, You Won't, Young Boys, The Long Eye, Paper Fleet and Adam's Castle), food trucks and a bar. Because it wouldn't be an art party if you couldn't drink and dance.
Gimme Shelter at Kunsthalle Galapagos: Our favorite new Brooklyn gallery is back in action with this six-artist sculpture show that borrows its themes of failed utopian dreams and uncertainty from the titular Rolling Stones track.
video_dumbo: This year's massive video art festival-withing-the-festival has been curated by Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy, and once again takes over the massive raw warehouse space at 112 Water Street, with mid- and feature-length moving image art screening throughout the afternoon and evening on Saturday and Sunday, and a big group projection on Friday at 7pm to start things off.
Matthew Franklin Wilson in 45 Main Street Loading Dock: This tends to be one of the DUMBO Arts Festival's most inventive uses of space, and last year featured the excellent Seth Wulsin piece at the top of this post. On tap for this year: an epic chalk drawing by Matthew Franklin Wilson that will gradually fill the entire street-level space.
81 Front Street: This usually-vacant retail space will be full of artists' projects this week, including verdant miniaturist Kim Holleman (who'll also have her Trailer Park parked in the Pearl Street Triangle) and a presumably hilarious sculptural installation by Adam Parker Smith.
Leo Kuelbs Collection's Mapped Projection on Manhattan Bridge Anchorage: Every year several artists project really incredible video and digital art onto various parts of the Manhattan Bridge's massive anchorage—last year's selection was really exceptional—and this weekend's looks pretty spectacular, judging by the rendering above.
DUMBO Dance Festival: In addition to the DUMBO Arts Festival's plentiful performance programming there happens to also be this huge free dance festival happening in the neighborhood this weekend. While not strictly speaking affiliated, if you need a break from the art, come see pieces by some of the best contemporary choreographers from all over the world.
Manifest.AR Augmented Reality Pavilions in Main Street Park: This international new media artists' collective will be "installing" seven of their augmented reality pavilions in the park, inviting smartphone-brandishing visitors to explore them in futuristic telepresent real time.
United Photo Industries' foto/pods: DUMBO already has more than its share of photography galleries, but it'll get a few more this weekend in the form of these tiny exhibition spaces inside shipping containers along Main Street. Inside will be shows by Aperture, Georgios Makkas and a giant camera obscura by La Fototeca Guatemala.