Yesterday evening a fleet of seven boats, or floating sculptures, docked at Deitch Studios in Long Island City. The arrival of the flotilla was part of the opening of a two-part exhibit called the “Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea” designed and constructed by Brooklyn based artist, Swoon. The first part of the exhibit is a large-scale installation inside the Deitch LIC gallery space. The second part takes place on the water with the seven sculptural sea vessels. The hand-made boats, comprised of scrap wood and other found objects and recycled material, started in Troy, New York and have spent the last three weeks on the Hudson River making stops at various locations to do musical and theatrical performances. Swoon has collaborated with playwright Lisa D’amour, composer Sxip Shirey, Kinetic Steam Works from San Francisco, and the band Dark Dark Dark in order to fully bring the flotilla to life. The exhibit will be open to the public until October 18.
Art Observed Exclusive Videos of the opening:
The marching band gets the crowd ready to receive Swoon’s Flotilla via Art Observed [Youtube]
The second ship makes it’s entrance at Deitch Studios via Art Observed [Youtube]
A Floating City With Junkyard Roots [NYTimes]
Swoon’s Green Fleet Sails to Queens [Gothamist]
Floating exhibit shows alternative [Times Herald Record]
‘Swimming Cities’ Docks in Manhattan [NYMag]
Swoon: Switchback Cities of Switchback Sea [Coolhunting]
Art Ships Are Stopped [NYTimes]
Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea [Official Website]
Swoon: Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea [Deitch]
The installation that fills the inside of the gallery is made up of found and recycled objects and material such as scrap wood, glass bottles, ladders, old doorways, etc, all interlaced with Swoon’s delicately cut paper. Swoon explained her conscious effort to use recycled materials to the New York Times “Very early on from the first large installation,” she said, “I looked around, asked myself, Am I really going to clear cut half of a forest to make an installation, is that really conscionable? And of course the answer is no.”
The concept for the installation, as the Deitch press release explains, came to Swoon in a dream she had while sailing down the Mississippi River last year in a similar nautical project called “Miss Rockaway Armada”. In the dream she was concerned with rising water levels on the river and dreamt that the boats found refuge in the skirt of a woman. The 25 foot central piece of the installation is a construction of ladders, chairs, paper, and other materials, and represents the envisioned woman and her protective skirt. The rest of the walls are designed as if the whole gallery space had flooded, horizontally dividing the space with an imaginary water line.
Swoon, a graduate from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, got her start as a street artist specializing in wheatpaste prints. Since her start in the late 90s, she has had her work exhibited at P.S.1, Art Basel Miami, the MoMA, and the Brooklyn Museum.