Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion (2013)

2013 Exhibition

Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion

Above image: detail from Martin McCormack, "A Proposal for a Rail Link Connecting Midtown Manhattan, 2 Pulaski St, Brooklyn and Coney Island," 2013 digital collage

Above image: detail from Martin McCormack, “A Proposal for a Rail Link Connecting Midtown Manhattan, 2 Pulaski St, Brooklyn and Coney Island,” 2013, digital collage

NEW: EXTENDED Exhibition dates: September 17, 2013-February 16, 2014
Exhibition Opening: Tuesday, September 17, 6:30-9pm
*VIP curator preview for Kickstarter backers of $10 and up: 6pm*
Special opening performance and walking tour by Marie Christine Katz: 6:30-7pm

Utopia: An ideal place or state
Imagine a Brooklyn Utopia

Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion brings together 19 artists and arts groups responding to differing visions of ideal urban transportation systems, or proposing their own. Brooklyn and New York City pioneered, and were largely shaped by, mass transit, from early ferries to modern subways and highways. This past year has seen the celebration and expansion of NYC’s transit infrastructure, with Grand Central Terminal’s Centennial events, the new Citi Bike share program, and the ongoing construction of new ferry, subway and express bus lines. 2012 also exposed the system’s weaknesses, after Hurricane Sandy brought all transit to a halt. Issues of access, affordability and sustainability promise to factor prominently in the 2013 NYC mayoral race.

Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion provides the opportunity for diverse groups to reflect on all these topics. Exhibiting artists are tackling issues like transit fare hikes, traffic congestion, the presence of “transportation deserts” in underserved neighborhoods, and adaptation to rising sea levels. Some artists take inspiration from Brooklyn’s existing transportation landscape, while others ask the questions, through exaggeratedly Utopian and Dystopian transportation proposals, “Who gets to make decisions about the future of transit?” and, “What role can artists play?”

Events throughout the fall will further engage visitors in dialogue about the exhibition theme, including a “Utopian” subway art tour and a panel discussing addressing the decision-making process behind transportation design. Visit our Upcoming Events page for more information.


Location: The Old Stone House & Washington Park, fifth avenue between 3rd and 4th street, Park Slope.
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 11am-4pm; Fridays, 3-6pm; or by appointment, (718) 768-3195 or

Project Director and Curator: Katherine Gressel

Artist Selection Committee:
Katherine Gressel, Curator, Brooklyn Utopias; Noah Budnick, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives; Emily Colasacco, Urban Art Program Manager, New York City Department of Transportation; Kim Maier, Executive Director, Old Stone House.

Exhibiting Artists:  Dara Alter, Bicycle Utopia NYC with Nick Normal, Marco Antonio Castro, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Heejung ChoMolly Dilworth, Rebecca Hackemann, Samuel Holleran, Martin McCormack, Simonetta Moro, Nancy Nowacek, Carlo Sampietro, Nicole SchulmanMaureen Shea, Petra Valentova, Jason Varone, Emily Weiskopf, Ezra Wube

With events and workshops by: Center for Urban Pedagogy, Marie Christine Katz, Transportation Alternatives, and others TBA. Visit our Upcoming Events page for the most up to date list!

Simonetta Moro, from the “Venice/Gowanus: Mapping Watery Landscapes” series, 2011, ink on paper, 21×17” (framed)


Several exhibiting artists’ work symbolically references transportation transitions, whether historic, personal, or communal. Molly Dilworth drapes OSH’s colonial Dutch interior with textile banners whose patterns allude to Brooklyn’s maritime transportation history, while Heejung Cho’s drawings reveal a present-day Park Slope inextricably linked by transit.  Samuel Holleran’s text-based prints explore the migration of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community via the East River ferry, and Ezra Wube’s video animation erases and retraces the artist’s daily commute.

Other projects creatively visualize current problems and solutions. Map-inspired paintings by Dara Alter and Nicole Schulman call attention to the growing need for better transit between NYC’s outer boroughs and surrounding suburbs. Jason Varone’s installation projects scrolling headlines relating to the Kheel Plan, a proposal to make public transit free and charge more for cars. Petra Valentova’s interactive mural of the nearby congested 4th Avenue allows visitors to literally block traffic.

Simonetta Moro and Nick Normal/Bicycle Utopia explore sustainable transportation modes for a changing climate, from hurricane relief delivery bikes to boats traversing a network of watery streets. Prototypes for Marco Antonio Castro’s public bus gardens and Nancy Nowacek’s “Citizen Bridge” connecting Brooklyn and Governors Island showcase artist-driven transit designs and attempts to actually realize them in public. In contrast, Rebecca Hackemann’s hand-manipulated Phenakistiscopeanimation depicts a more futuristic means of hassle-free travel via personalized pods.

Other projects address the process behind transit decision-making; the Center For Urban Pedagogy’s “Fast Tracked” newspaper investigates the contested recent extension of the No. 7 Line to Manhattan’s far West Side. Martin McCormack employs “friendly corporate speak” and slick renderings in his mock proposal for a Coney Island-bound rail line that would benefit mainly himself and his neighbors at the expense of most Brooklynites, commenting on the top-down nature of some of the city’s most notorious transit projects.

hc svnt dracones-1

Nicole Schulman, Title image from “HC SVNT DRACONES (Here Be Dragons)-The Transportation Deserts of NYC,” Acrylic and mixed media. Part of a larger painting involving the NYC subway map.

Two public sculptures outside OSH in Washington Park, to also open Sept. 17, include Maureen Shea’s climbable scale model envisioning the past, present and future of Flatbush Avenue, and Carlo Sampietro’s chair repurposed from a common traffic barrel.

In 2013, for the first time Brooklyn Utopias and the Old Stone House are partnering with the NYC Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program to present a temporary public art installation on the nearby traffic median on 4th Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets, by artist Emily Weiskopf and opening by mid October 2013, on view through September 2014.


Emily Weiskopf, “Unparallel Way,” sculpture installation at traffic median at 4th Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn


Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC).

Programming and promotional support provided by Bicycle Utopia, MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design, The New York City Department of Transportation, Old Stone House & Washington Park,  and Transportation Alternatives.

In-kind donations from Bicycle Roots, NYC Bicycle Shop, and Recycle-A-Bicycle.



One Response to “Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion (2013)”


  1. Announcing the artists for “Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion!” and Kickstarter launched! | Brooklyn Utopias - August 22, 2013

    […] Upcoming Exhibitions […]

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