From colonial settlement to urban renewal, the US has historically been obsessed with utopian communities. Brooklyn is no exception, with its history as a home for Dutch colonial and myriad immigrant settlers, social reformers like Alfred T. White and influential artists and writers from Walt Whitman to Spike Lee. Brooklyn's recent renaissance exemplifies the increased draw of city life and the attempts to build improved urban communities.
The Brooklyn Utopias? project invited both professional artists and emerging teen artists to identify and respond to the often-conflicting visions of the most livable and sustainable Brooklyn, and/or imagine their own Brooklyn "utopias." The resulting work of over 30 artists and Brooklyn teens will now be on display in a series of three Brooklyn Utopias? exhibits: at BHS, Brooklyn's Old Stone House, and the nonprofit youth art center Starting Artists, Inc. in Fall 2009. The participating artists at the Brooklyn Historical Society exhibit bring diverse approaches to the Utopias theme. Artists include Triada Samaras with photos of her “Democracy Wall,”—an interactive mural protesting large-scale development in Carroll Gardens. A second category of artworks include Jess Levey’s guerrilla photo projections on condos and Tracy Collins’ photographs of Atlantic Yards construction.
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