This past weekend, we went to Proteus Gowanus, a magical and strange gallery that is very un-gallery like. It's named for the Gowanus Canal which is a creepy industrial part of Brooklyn. The creepy abandon industrial buildings have (naturally) attracted artists and it is in these buildings where they work and make strange things. When our friend Richard Reiben, Brooklyn native, gave us his famous tour of Brooklyn, his told us that the mob used to dump bodies in the Gowanus Canal. Today, there are mostly plastic bags, but no dead Italians.
Back to Proteus Gowanus. It's the sort of place that you may have visited in your dreams where there are strange and curious things lying about in jars like pickled fish and sticks and cotton balls, odd books new and old, and placed on shelves like a bronzed cowboy hat of someone's father who was a dancer accompanied by a story about him, pictures of jellyfish, a jar full of bread ties and a story about why this one person has been collecting them... a box with two holes and headphones on a peg. When you look through you see underneath the Manhattan bridge and you can listen to cars driving over the bridge and the ambient sounds recorded from under the bridge. I will take you to Proteus Gowanus if and when you come to visit because you will like it.
We followed a strange path to the Museum of Matches, a small room filled with Cold War memorabilia and match artwork, a Russian American artist's exploration of the Cold War and her father who invented a game with matches that he played from the time he was a boy through his time as a CIA operative. The room is dominated by what looks like a giant game of risk under plexi glass with armies of matches placed on the map, sand and other objects dressing the board. The art itself was kind of childish looking, but the volume of material she had collected, literature and visual representation was impressive. I love the metaphor of the match as a soldier.
Most interesting to me was the picture above, which I found in a small side room empty except for a desk that had some business cards on it and a dish full of one dollar bills that said "Free Money". I just emailed the bureau and hope to get my assignment for a psychogeographic journey soon. A little woman in her 60s who looked like someone's Nonna with a fanny pack was in the room, hoping to meet the man/woman behind the bureau. She had taken a journey and said it was a must. She said that you receive an assignment and had to collect something though she would not say what.
In more pedestrian matters, I am going to Macy's today in hopes of securing a part time job at a make up counter. I need stuff to do and the security of work when I'm not booking anything... like right now. I will leave you with more pictures of Gowanus which I took when shooting an independent film earlier this month in which I had a small part as a futuristic librarian.