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BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance, in Partnership with NYC Parks, Announce New Commission by Brooklyn Artist Collective Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine at Prospect Park Bandshell

Oct 5, 2020 • 10:00 AM

BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance, in Partnership with NYC Parks, Announce New Commission by Brooklyn Artist Collective Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine at Prospect Park Bandshell

Major New Public Art Installation On View Now 

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Photo by David Andrako. Courtesy of BRIC.

(BROOKLYN, NY — OCTOBER 5, 2020​) BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance, in partnership with NYC Parks, have commissioned the collaborative duo Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine to create a public art project at the Prospect Park Bandshell, on view from October 3, 2020 through May 2021. Titled, Inspired By “What Is Left,” the text-based installation quotes the late poet Lucille Clifton and offers the Brooklyn community a message of resilience and perseverance. With this new public art installation, BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance present a powerful message for the Brooklyn community. It is the first major public art project in Prospect Park since the pandemic, and one of the first installations at the Bandshell in its history.

“This public artwork provides a message of strength and joy, celebrating and uniting our community during these difficult times,” states BRIC’s President, Kristina Newman-Scott. “We are delighted to continue our important partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance through this meaningful activation of the Bandshell inspired by a local and engaged arts collective.”

"In the past six months, Prospect Park has played an essential role in our community, and we could not be more delighted than to welcome the Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine to Brooklyn's Backyard," said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance. "We are pleased to be able to extend this new collaboration to our partnership with BRIC, and to celebrate and illuminate the resilience of our community through public art.” 

Inspired By “What Is Left” is an extension of Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine’s ongoing project in Crown Heights which reimagines unoccupied public spaces with new alternative purposes. Their monumentally-scaled text-based fence weavings, inspired by the neon colors of protest posters, publicly address the current moment by often unheard voices in Black Radical Thought and take a barrier meant to separate an immigrant community and envision it as a space for community knowledge and uplift. The artwork aims to remind viewers of the struggles that have been faced and the work yet to be done for racial equity. It references lines from a poem by Lucille Clifton (1936-2010), a prolific poet and two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Clifton wrote about the Black experience and endurance in the face of adversity, using substantive yet pared down lines.

“won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton  
won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Source: Book of Light (Copper Canyon Press, 1993)

Prospect Park has always played an important role as a gathering space for the melting pot of people and cultures that make Brooklyn unique. This has come even more to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, where it has served as the backdrop for moments of protest and joy, celebration and memorialization, making it the perfect location for this installation.  

For over 40 years, BRIC has presented its signature summer concert series, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, at the Prospect Park Bandshell. From its very first performance in the summer of 1979, the mission of the Festival has been to bring Brooklyn together. These free experiences at the Bandshell enhance the quality of life and understanding of the world by centralizing diverse voices and illuminating the vibrant cultures that make Brooklyn unique. 


ABOUT BROOKLYN HI-ART! MACHINE
Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine was created in 2010 by artists Oasa DuVerney and Mildred Beltre.  Grounded in grassroots organizing and Black Feminism, their practice is centered on the visibility and anti-criminalization of Black bodies. Their large-scale text-based fence weavings take a barrier meant to separate an immigrant community and envision it as a space for community knowledge and uplift. Along with the fence on Lincoln Place (between Franklin Ave and Classon Ave), they have realized public installations at The Brooklyn Museum, the Wyckoff Farm House, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. 

DuVerney is a 2019-20 recipient of BRIC’s ArtFP open call initiative. She recently exhibited Black Power Wave in BRIC’s Project Room, a series of large-scale, dimensional graphite drawings of waves—an allegorical exploration of urgencies of communal protests against social injustices, many of which are impossible to put into words. Beltre was a 2018 BRIC Media Arts Fellowship recipient (now BRIClab: Video Art).

ABOUT BRIC
BRIC is a leading arts and media institution anchored in Downtown Brooklyn whose work spans contemporary visual and performing arts, media, and civic action. For over forty years, BRIC has shaped Brooklyn's cultural and media landscape by presenting and incubating artists, creators, students, and media makers. As a creative catalyst for their community, BRIC ignites learning in people of all ages and centralizes diverse voices that take risks and drive culture forward. BRIC is Building Brooklyn's creative future.

ABOUT PROSPECT PARK ALLIANCE
Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, "Brooklyn's Backyard," in partnership with the City. The Alliance was founded in 1987 to help restore the park after a long period of deterioration and decline. Today, the Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the Park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. The Alliance cares for the woodlands and natural areas, restores buildings and landscapes, creates innovative new destinations, and provides volunteer, education and recreation programs. Learn more at prospectpark.org

ABOUT NYC PARKS ART IN THE PARKS
For over 50 years, NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program has brought contemporary public artworks to the city’s parks, making New York City one of the world’s largest open-air galleries. The agency has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, NYC Parks has collaborated with arts organizations and artists to produce over 2,000 public artworks by 1,300 notable and emerging artists in over 200 parks. For more information about the program visit nyc.gov/parks/art.


BRIC’s contemporary art program benefits from generous private funding from B&H Photo Video, Coby Foundation, Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Humanities New York, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and numerous individual supporters. 

General support for BRIC is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Booth Ferris Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Con Edison, Howard Gilman Foundation, Industry City, JP Morgan Chase, Lambent Foundation, M&T Charitable Foundation, New York Community Trust, Scherman Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Surdna Foundation, Tiger Baron Foundation, and numerous individuals.

Public support for BRIC is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Prospect Park Alliance receives major, year-round support from Booth Ferris Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Leon Levy Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Kettering Family Foundation, Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, National Audubon Society, New York Community Trust, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation and Tiger Baron Foundation. The Alliance also receives support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citi, conEdison, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, REI and Weill Cornell Medicine.


PRESS CONTACT
Danellys Wong                  
Account Coordinator, Cultural Counsel
dw@culturalcounsel.com