A true street art Opening in Brooklyn, with shutters open wide and many doorways to contemplate.
A collection of 30 artists on the street art scene are contributing to the vision of the adoorable Luna Park and her co-curator Billi Kid. Ms. Park, a well-travelled street art photographer who calls Brooklyn home, is among a very select group of intrepid souls cris-crossing the borough by any means possible to get the right shot.
Well regarded and always smartly outfitted, Ms. Park and Mr. Kid have added a bit of poetry to the street art oeuvre by decorating the departure, edifying the entrance, festooning the frontage, and gilding the gateway!
Image by Luna Park featuring a Celso in the doorway.
Brooklyn Street Art: How did you and Billi Kid conjure a show using doors as canvas?
Luna Park: Last year, Billi Kid, Jim and Karla Murray, Cern and Elisha Cook Jr. decorated a room at the Carlton Arms Hotel, which is known for it’s fabulous, one-of-a-kind, artist-decorated rooms. I highly recommend it as an affordable place to send your arty guests. To capitalize on the network of artists they’d built through the hotel, in March 2008 the owners opened Artbreak Gallery in Williamsburg. When Billi Kid contacted them about the possibility of doing a doors-themed street art show, they were immediately on board. I agreed to participate last December and the rest, as they say, was a matter of logistics, logistics, logistics.
Brooklyn Street Art: As you march across the city looking for great shots, have you found that some artists gravitate to doorways?
Luna Park: Definitely! I’d even go so far as to say not only SOME, but MANY. Your average urban door is the perfect gateway to graffiti – pardon the pun – it provides a smooth, even surface, accessible to all and, most importantly, visible to all. Although I don’t subscribe to the so-called “broken windows” theory of graffiti leading to crime, I do think it holds true for doors in the sense that graffiti on doors DOES attract more graffiti. It generally starts with a lone tag and – provided that tag isn’t buffed – the tags soon multiply. Before you know it, stickers get in on the action, the odd wheatpaste sticks around and, voila, suddenly you have a proper door!
Brooklyn Street Art: Why would a doorway be better than, say, a wall?
Luna Park: I’m not saying doors are better than walls, but as a surface on which to write or stick, a doorway offers a certain degree of protection from prying eyes. No one looks twice at someone who is ostensibly fumbling for keys in front of a doorway, but that same person loitering by a wall…
Cake from “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: Where did all of these come from? Have you been dumpster diving?
Luna Park: Well, I’m certainly not one to condone any kind of illegal activity, ahem, so I’m assuming the doors were all acquired legally, perhaps through a fine, neighborhood purveyor of sundry household items.
I personally salvaged two doors from the curb down the street from my house. Billi Kid acquired his door and several others at a farmhouse sale in rural Connecticut. A few people must have visited demolition sites, as there are a number of extraordinarily heavy fire doors as well. The doors really run the gamut of everything from vintage to factory fresh.
Brooklyn Street Art: Are most of the pieces in this show made specifically for “The Great Outdoors?”
Luna Park: Yep, with one notable exception, all of the pieces for this show are brand spanking new!
“Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
The Dude Company for “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: Every door has two sides; has anybody addressed both for the show?
Luna Park: We asked the artists to decorate only one side of the door – to make hanging them all the easier – but Celso and LA2 collaborated on one side of a door that already had a piece on the other side. I’d mention who, but that would spoil the surprise.
Brooklyn Street Art: It’s not the same as painting ox blood over the doorway, but do you think there is any symbolism to the act of decorating a door?
Street art and graffiti covered doors aside, I think the decorated door functions as a marker, defining the threshold between the private and the public spheres. There are certainly any number of cultures around the world that place markings on doors to celebrate rites of passage: in the part of northern Germany from which my mother comes from, it is not uncommon to see important family dates chalked onto doors, presumably in conjunction with some kind of religious blessing.
“we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Feral for “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: On a grander scale, this show could be a commentary about the times we’re in, with many doors slamming shut, while others that we scarcely imagined only two years ago are opening wide. Do you care to philosophize?
Luna Park: I’m an optimist at heart and a pragmatist by nature, as such, I believe very much in silver linings and unforeseen occurrences. Especially in times of crisis, one has to embrace change, because only by accepting change can one move forward. When Billi Kid approached me with the opportunity to co-curate this show, you better believe I opened that door, despite initial misgivings about never having organized anything of this magnitude before.
I can only speak for myself, but having this show – something I’ve come to see as an incredibly positive force in my life – to occupy me and to look forward to has made the struggles I endure at work all the more bearable. I am slowly realizing that this show has opened doors for others, and that has made this experience all the more meaningful to me. By the same token, the outpouring of support from the street art community – BSA included – has been enormous and for that I am very grateful.
Brooklyn Street Art: Given their past locations and your personal experience shooting the streets, what does it feel like to see these doors lined up in a spare white box gallery space?
Luna Park: There is often critique of street art and graffiti work in galleries, in many cases justified in that some work simply does not translate well onto canvas. But in this case, we’re literally bringing doors in off the street and taking them to the next level (the gallery’s on the 2nd floor). Because the doors are relatively large and heavily decorated, being surrounded by a clean, white gallery wall gives each piece space to breathe. Above and beyond that, it’s nice to see the humble door elevated to a place of honor.
“Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.” – e.e. cummings
Brooklyn Street Art: What door surprised you the most?
Luna Park: Without a doubt, Blanco! I’ve been following his stencils since he first started putting them out, seeing his progression with each, more intricate piece. When we invited him to be part of the show, I had high hopes, but he’s really exceeded all expectations and then some! Bravo, J!
That having been said, I’m very pleased by the quality of ALL the work and am super proud of everyone’s efforts. My sincerest thanks to everyone that helped make this show possible.
Brooklyn Street Art: What time do doors open on Saturday?
Luna Park: Doors open at 6pm. I for one can’t wait to find out if it’s Bachelor #1, #2 or #3 behind my favorite door! ;p
“Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.” – Brooklyn’s own Mae West
THE GREAT OUT DOORS
MAY 2 – 29, 2009
Art Break Gallery
195 Grand Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Thursday through Sunday, 1-7 pm.
Opening Reception Saturday May 2, 6-10 pm
At the opening Saturday you’ll also get to see a projection show of Luna Park’s photography, specifically images of doors on Brooklyn streets and elsewhere.