Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Evening in Williamsburg: nbART, OSA and DOT Unveil "Plan Ahead" by Magda Sayeg under the Williamsburg Bridge

We took the 5:57 p.m. Q59 bus at Union and Metropolitan Avenues through scenic Williamsburg over to South 5th Street and Wythe and walked over to Kent Avenue to see the North Brookyn Public Art Coalition (nbART), the Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn (OSA), and the New York City Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Urban Art Program unveiling of Plan Ahead, a 600-square-foot knitted installation by internationally recognized Knit Graffiti artist Magda Sayeg.

Here's the press release stuff:
Plan Ahead was selected through a competitive process as part of the Urban Art Program’s pARTners track, which is designed to connect artists and community organizations to neighborhoods to create site-specific art for the public realm.

The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn provided additional support. Sayeg first participated in the DOT pARTners track in May 2009 when a team of local knitters covered 69 parking meters along Montague Street with knitted cozies. That Brooklyn public art project was commissioned by the Montague Street Business Improvement District.

Magda Sayeg, founder of Knitta, has taken knitting out of the home and into the streets.

The simple juxtaposition of woven material and the urban environments in which she places it, has inspired an entirely new a new approach to knitting. One that questions the assumptions of a traditional craft while adding a previously unused material to the world of street art.

When Magda began Knitta in 2005, it was her response to the dehumanizing qualities of an urban environment. By inserting handmade art into a landscape of concrete and steel, she adds a human quality that otherwise rarely exists.

Her work has been recognized or its influence on street art as well as the craft of knitting. Magda Sayeg is based in Austin, Texas.

Though the last unveiling we attended was for our late great-uncle Abe and took place at New Montefiore Cemetery, we've seen knitting in art projects before, mostly by Agata Oleksiak, who goes by the name of Olek and has a lot of work in New York City. We last saw Olek's work at the Festival of Ideas for the New City in June on the Bowery.

Magda Sayeg, though, is considered by many to be "the mother of yarn bombing.” In 2005 she knitted a blue-and-pink cozy for the door handle of her shop in Houston, and it proved so popular that she began knitting lamp posts and stops signs, and then there was no stopping her, we guess.

We couldn't attend the reception that followed the unveiling. It was at IndieScreen (not the Knitting Factory?), but we were on our way up Kent Avenue to hear what we could hear of Real Estate, Dr. Dog and Bright Eyes from the soccer fields of Bushwick Inlet Park.

We didn't have tickets but we planned ahead and didn't have to squoosh together our final A and D.

We just had to walk away.

(Video courtesy of stoptheweakness)

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