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Best proof that the Gowanus Arts District may not be entirely a real estate fiction New York 2006 - Proteus Gowanus

Proteus Gowanus

Proteus Gowanus

543 Union St.

Brooklyn, NY 11215


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In Greek mythology, Proteus was a sea god who could change shape at will. If you attempted to trap him, he'd become a snake, a lion, or even water, and slide away. But we're hoping that Proteus Gowanus—an interdisciplinary gallery, reading room, and community space built along the odoriferous shores of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal—doesn't alter too much. We'd miss the building, a squat former warehouse emblazoned with the words "National Packing Box Factory"; the entrance through an alleyway roofed with tetanus-inducing fire escapes; and the door with a fist-clenched golden arm above the lintel. The gallery provides space for the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, the Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn Community Housing and Services, and other local organizations, while also curating ever varying multimedia shows organized around a set theme and often featuring local artists. Last season's stated theme was "Travel"; 2006–2007 will revolve around the idea of "Libraries" and will include an installation by the Brooklyn Museum Library. In the back room a seemingly permanent exhibit entitled "The Museum of Matches" features Cold War art and artifacts ostensibly inspired by Nabokov.
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