Something Out of NothingOctober 3, 2009 - November 14, 2009
Beware: The Invisible Dog was unleashed on October 3, 2009! The exhibition Something Out of Nothing brought a warmly decrepit out-of-use belt factory on Bergen Street in Brooklyn to life. Today, The Invisible Dog Art Center plays an active role in the area´s cultural programs.
The exhibition opened a week after an Improv Everywhere event of massive participation. Following the tails of this stunt, the show presented a multitude of site-specific works reflecting both the history of the space and the profound beauty of the Invisible Dog Factory, known for producing the famous “Invisible Dog.” The exhibition also riffed on the 70s gag, a void object waiting for creative minds and hands to bring it to life.
Here in the factory, artists collected the many trimmings, reels of fabric, leather, and other materials and transformed them into something new. The artist duo Steven and William created a “chandelier” of abandoned belt buckles. Guerra de la Paz amassed tons of discarded clothing, one color at a time. Here, de la Paz’s “trashy” tribute became an imposing, yurt-shaped spectral prism. In the neighborhood spirit, Tom Sanford brought Jonathan Lethem’s novel “Motherless Brooklyn” (which takes place on this block), to life via a fantastic, larger than life mural. Even the freight elevator was transformed. Here, Giuseppe Stampone took us on a trip from Hell to Heaven à la Dante.
The Invisible Dog, a new three-story art center in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, is an exuberant example of the integration of forward thinking and care for the past. The art center, admittedly, had a leg up: its home came equipped with an irresistible history. Built in the late nineteenth century, the 20,000 square-foot factory went through a number of industrial incarnations before its owners struck gold in the 1970s with the invisible dog trick: a stiff leash and collar surrounding the empty space where a dog would be. A mixture of party-hearty silliness and tongue-in-cheek trompe l’oeil, the trick became an icon of its era. But eventually public taste moved on; meanwhile, over the years, the Brooklyn neighborhood was changing. The factory closed its doors in the late 1990s; the boarded-up building was a blight on its quiet Brooklyn block.