Group Art Exhibition Examines Death and Mourning • Brooklyn Paper

ByJames I. Robertson

Feb 17, 2020

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This show is to die for!

A new group art exhibition delves deeper into how women deal with the serious topics of death and bereavement. “Death Becomes Her,” which opens at Bric House on February 19, features the work of 10 female artists, each exploring the end of life in their own way. An artist will present tiny versions of the street sanctuaries she encountered while living in Bushwick, which commemorate both bikers and pedestrians killed by cars, and provide a warning about street safety.

“These memorials and shrines are increasingly used as calls to action,” said Rachel Grobstein, who now lives in Philadelphia. “The ghost bike is a very important sign for people to slow down – especially in New York where you have all those bike deaths. “

Among Grobstein’s creations is a 5-inch-long ghost bike, based on a real white-painted bike near his former Bushwick studio that honors 23-year-old cyclist Timothy “TJ” Campbell, who was fatally hit there by a garbage truck in 2010.

Rachel Grobstein created nearly 30 of the small shrines. Photo courtesy of Rachel Grobstein

The artist has made nearly 30 miniature shrines, each based on photographs she took of their real-life counterparts. She used materials like gouache paint, polymer clay, wire, and fabric to make tiny beer cans, toys, clothes, flowers, cards, and other leftover items. at memorials by relatives of the victims.

Memorials like these have become all too common in the borough, said Grobstein, but she says shrinking shrines into works of art is bringing them renewed attention.

“Once I start to pay attention they’re everywhere which is a bit sad,” she said. “I think a miniature is a good way to bring attention to something that is often overlooked.”

The small models draw attention to the numerous sanctuaries of the village. Photo ccourtesy of Rachel Grobstein

The artist will present six of his pieces at the Bric Salon, which will transform his usually cheerful open-air gallery into a tomb-like environment, complete with mood lighting and a more intimate enclosure.

The downtown arts organization has partnered with Green-Wood Cemetery to produce the exhibit, and several death-themed events will take place in the cemetery over the coming months. Performance artist McKendree Key will lead “5×10 @ The Catacombs,” three talks about death, death, and the afterlife in the underground cemetery catacombs in March. And Freya Powell’s immersive “Only Remains Remain” performance on April 11 will build on the Greek tragedy “Antigone” to create an elegy for the hundreds of unidentified migrants buried in mass graves in Texas.

“Death becomes her” at Bric House [647 Fulton St., at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 855–7882, bricartsmedia.org]. From February 19 to April 19. Opening on February 19, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. To free.


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