BUSHWICK – In 1872, the factory at 81 Beaver Street housed William Ulmer Brewery, a lager brewery founded by German immigrants. In the century since Prohibition began in 1920, the building sat empty. And now, in 2019, it has reopened for the “The Chimney x Ulmer Arts” group exhibition.
The exhibition premiered on Saturday, June 22nd, to a crowd of young Brooklyn residents and passersby. Attendees gathered in the industrial space, browsing six spacious gallery rooms spanning three dusty floors. Among exposed pipes hung neon tapestries, and beside defunct machinery sat amorphous glass sculptures. The show’s nine artists are both American and international, some hailing from as far as Finland and Japan.
For some artists, the exhibition space opened up new possibilities for their artwork. French artist Nelly Zagury created an installation mural and sculptures. She usually works on a far smaller scale, but says the space gave her the opportunity to try painting on a ceiling-high canvas—and now, she says, she’ll have a hard time returning to smaller-scale painting.
Other artists include Desire Moheb Zandi—her tapestry, Emancipation/Plantasia (2019) is pictured above—whose experimental textiles reference back to her childhood spent watching her grandmother weave. Towards the back of the first floor, attendees climb a dim staircase, lit with sequenced blue, red, and green lights. These RGB lights animate the paintings of Lino Bernabe, whose works shift and change with the gradations of light. As visitors watch Bernabe’s paintings shift, percussive noises sound off in the next room. There, one encounters Aaron Taylor Kuffner‘s sonic kinetic sculptures affixed to an eroded wall.
The exhibition was headed by the pre-existing Bushwick gallery, The Chimney, whose main location is at 200 Morgan Avenue. The Chimney was opened by Clara Darrason and Jennifer Houdrouge in 2015. Darrason and Houdrouge co-curated the show at William Ulmer Brewery.
The Chimney collaborated with Ulmer Arts and Tungsten Partners to produce the show. Ulmer Arts is a creative partnership behind the renovation of the Brewery; Tungsten Partners serves as creative advisor and minority owner in the Brewery’s 21st century development.
The exhibition is on view until July 28th. Visiting hours are between 2pm to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Learn more at thechimneynyc.com.