Brooklyn Utopias is an ongoing exhibit and event series, founded in 2009 by artist and curator Katherine Gressel, in which artists, youth, activists, architects, designers and urban theorists consider differing visions of an ideal city through the “concrete” example of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Utopias? installed two simultaneous exhibits in Fall 2009, at the Old Stone House and Brooklyn Historical Society, featuring the work of over 35 artists all addressing different aspects of Brooklyn’s history and recent development. A corresponding youth exhibit at Starting Artists, Inc. invited local youth to create their own work around the exhibit theme.
In 2010, Katherine Gressel and co-curator Derek Denckla organized a second Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City show at the Old Stone House specifically around the theme of urban agriculture in Brooklyn, in conjunction with the French Insitute/Alliance Francaise’s Crossing the Line: Farm City festival.
The third exhibit and programming schedule in this series, Brooklyn Utopias: Park Space, Play Space took place at the Old Stone House in Spring 2012. Overlapping with opening ceremonies for the renovated Washington Park/J.J. Byrne Playground surrounding the House, this exhibition invited artists to consider the history, politics, and planning surrounding public parks and recreation spaces.
The fourth exhibition, on view from Fall 2013-Winter 2014, Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion, invited artists to respond to differing visions of ideal urban transportation systems, or envision their own.
Please visit the Current Exhibitions page for information on curator Katherine Gressel’s summer 2015 exhibition at the Old Stone House, In Search of One City: Sensing (In)equality, exploring artists’ role in investigating, navigating, and mitigating income inequality, with a focus on New York City. While not officially part of the Brooklyn Utopias series, this exhibition continues in its tradition of addressing timely current issues through contemporary art.
To facilitate discussion around each show, a series of public programs has invited architects, urban planners, and community-based organizations to dialogue with the exhibition artists and curators–sometimes including interactive games and art workshops, and hands-on demonstrations on different aspects of sustainable living and public space advocacy.
BU’s work has been recognized by Time Out New York, Hyperallergic, the L Magazine, The Brooklyn Paper, News 12 Brooklyn, DNAInfo, Gothamist, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and Brooklyn Independent TV. Critics and community leaders have described the past BU exhibits as “expansive,” and “provocative and thoughtful fusions of practical imagination and artistic vision.” According to Allison Meier in Hyperallergic, “After spending time in the tranquility of Brooklyn Utopias: Park Space, Play Space  in the Old Stone House…it was possible to imagine…that artists are an essential voice in imagining an exuberant, yet intelligently developed, future for the borough.”