BRIDGES: New Paintings, Works on Paper, and Video by Sam Messer


June 29 - August 6, 2017
Tue - Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun 12-6pm; Closed Mondays


FREE Admission


Gallery at BRIC House
647 Fulton Street
(Enter on Rockwell Place)
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States
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Sam Messer, Entering the Narrows 2018



ON VIEW: June 30 - August 6, 2017

CURATED BY: Elizabeth Ferrer, VP of Contemporary Art


BRIDGES is a solo exhibition of work by noted Brooklyn-based artist Sam Messer. The exhibition reveals the breadth of Messer’s body of work and includes large-scale paintings of New York City’s iconic bridges, portrait drawings, and animated videos from Messer’s Years of the Cock, comprised of one video made daily in response to President Trump’s first 100 days in office. While the Years of the Cock videos provide trenchant commentary on politics of the moment, for Messer, the bridges have both physical and metaphorical appeal: “They are succinct and quite beautiful, and bring people together,” he explains.

Messer is an artist best known for his sustained series of paintings in collaboration with writers like Paul Auster,  Jonathan Safran Foer, and Denis Johnson. If this body of work represents a departure for Messer, it is above all, a turn to the political—a desire to focus his artistic talents on responding to our current political climate. The pieces in this exhibition are varied: paintings of New York’s bridges, sketches of a wide range of people in Messer’s sphere, a series of video animations on the Trump presidency, and evocations of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The through line? A desire to speak about community, democracy and embracing humanity.”


Sam Messer received a B.F.A. from Cooper Union in 1976 and an M.F.A. from Yale University in 1982. He is represented by Nielsen Gallery, Boston, and Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles. His work may be found in public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Art Institute of Chicago, and Yale University Art Gallery. Mr. Messer has received awards including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant in 1984, the Engelhard Award in 1985, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 1993, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996. He has recently collaborated with Paul Auster on The Story of My Typewriter, and with Denis Johnson on Cloud of Chalk. He was appointed senior critic at Yale in 1994 and in 2005 was appointed associate dean and professor (adjunct). He also serves as director of the art division of the Yale Summer School of Music and Art in Norfolk.



FREE Tours of the exhibition are offered on Wednesdays at 11:30am for groups and individuals. Learn more and RSVP here

June 29 | 7-9PM: Opening Reception - free and open to the public!

July 12 | 7PM: In Conversation: Sam Messer and Garnette Cadogan
The artist sits down with essayist and journalist Garnette Cadogan to discuss his life, art, and walking.

July 19 | 7PM: Drawn Together: An Evening of Portrait Drawing
Bring your pencils and sketch book for an evening of community portrait-drawing night where participants are both the artist and subject of one another’s drawings. Sam Messer and other professional artists will take part.

July 26 | 7PM: An Evening with Vernon Reid
An evening of music with the Grammy-award winning guitarist, songwriter, photographer, and composer, Vernon Reid.  Messer is a long-time collaborator with Reid, a Bed-Stuy native and founding member of Living Colour.

August 2 | 7-10PM: Summer Art Social
Celebrate the summer with BRIC's contemporary art program during our fourth annual Summer Art Social! Open studios, performance art, art-making, tasty treats, music by DJs Adam R and Oscar Nñ from Papi Juice and more!


Venue Information:

The 3,000 square-foot Gallery in BRIC House has soaring 18-foot ceilings that permit major exhibitions focusing on emerging and mid-career artists and curators. 

Beginning Nov. 1, 2022, attendees of any BRIC House programming will no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter the building. Masks are encouraged but not required in all BRIC operated spaces. If you have questions regarding this protocol, please email For our full BRIC House COVID-19 policy, visit: