Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Night in Williamsburg: Opening Party for "Indigenous" NYC art show at The City Reliquary

One of the joys of having Dumbo HQ at its present location in Williamsburg is an easy walk to truly amazing places like The City Reliquary, the community museum that's so amazing that something like the above pic should be in the dictionary illustrating the word "amazing."

While our T-shirts, socks, shorts, boxers and towels were spinning around one of the dryers at Metropolitan Laundry early this evening, we cruised down the avenue, crossing under the BQE, to the City Reliquary to catch some of the indigenous art on display at the opening reception for the show "Indigenous," featuring the work of a collective called M.A.M.A.L., a group of artists raised in New York City.

The exhibition seeks to celebrate both past and present landmarks of New York.
As Ming Lin, one of the artists, said in Time Out New York, “We want to give an alternative perspective on what New York is like, commemorating places that are gone and those that are still here.”

We're indigenous to New York, but we think everyone who's spent any amount of time and feels like a New Yorker would appreciate it.

It's got the little things and places of everyday life here that we treasure but don't always we realize we do until they are, suddenly, not there any more, sometimes seemingly overnight.

Since our time was laundry-limited, we plan to go back to get a closer look, maybe more than once.

This delightful art show features the unsigned work (in this age of self-promotion, we liked that collegiality a lot) of Dixie Appel, Laila Caron, Ming Lin, Victor Kerlow, Anny Oberlink, Anna Delavin, Maggie Prendergast, Betty Roytburd, Samantha Silverman and Alex Tatarsky.

Surrounding the pieces are neat little poems or, more often, little tributes to the places - stores, restaurant, objects (religious candles) and places (Socrates Sculpture Park, the Brighton Beach boardwalk that we were strolling this very morning thanks to the Q train) that the artists love.

Or have loved, because some of them - Ralph's Discount City on Chambers Street, Avenue A flea market) are gone.

As M.A.M.A.L. states in the exhibition booklet,

New York may be on the most expensive cities to live in but it can also be a poor man's paradise. Gourmet dumpster diving! World-class musicians playing free on street corners! Tai Chi with old Chinese ladies in Tompkins! Free medical care from a magical Jewish healer in Washington Square! . . .

Poets, gamblers, thieves, ballers, babes, hustlers, homies, statues, swingers . . . The best thing to do is throw your cell phone into the East River (just kidding, recycle it) and wander the streets with no plan and no inhibitions. The city will deliver its soul to the tongue of your Jordans.

M.A.M.A.L.'s artists/writers get NYC the way few people do.

There was a nice-sized crowd, and we saw some of the artists or their friends pointing out the work of individuals.

We were also able to enjoy the City Reliquary's pretty backyard and get some refreshments.

Too bad we couldn't stay for the special performance by Lucky Chops Brass Band later.

Visitors are invited to record their stories and add to a growing archive of memories.

The exhibit is at The City Reliquary till August 15, and while you're loving it, don't forget to look at the other (here's that word again, which we haven't used so much since the pennant race 40 years ago) amazing objects and stuff at this wonderful museum.

As a woman who'd never been to The City Reliquary before tonight told us, the place is a hidden treasure.

We'll leave you with just a couple more of our blurry cell phone pics that don't do justice to the work.

There's lots more worth seeing at The City Reliquary.

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