Melissa Hope Matlins

Form, Place, Time, and the New Galapagos Art Space
November 15, 2008, 6:57 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Design, Green, New York City, Sustainability

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The Galapagos Islands are renowned for their sheer number of endemic species, unique animals that inspired Darwin’s thinking about the interdependent relationship between form, place and time. Much like the islands from whence the Galapagos Art Space takes its name, their new performance and exhibition venue in the heart of Brooklyn provokes soul-searching questions about the transformational nature of culture in our city.

Artists that perform and show their work in New York City are survivors of the torrential rains of cash that have flooded the real estate markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, washing away their cheap studios, workshops and performance spaces. Some artists and entrepreneurs have adapted, accepting assistance from developers no less, who provide low rent lifeboats in order to preserve the attractive cultural diversity of their investment. The artist Chuck Close has likened this new relationship to a “forcing a tulip bulb.” The evolutionary wheel turned, and a new interdependency formed. As a result, the latest iteration of the Galapagos space feels less experimental and spotaneous, and more programmed and curated, much the way a visit to the Galapagos Islands might feel today.

Galapagos Art Space has emerged stronger thematically and symbolically from a design standpoint, proudly wearing the title of the city’s greenest performance venue (their LEED certification is pending.) Material themes of the old space are carried over to the new, concrete, tread plate, and shallow reflecting pools, but with a greater degree of sophistication, and an eye towards sustainability. Plans for a green wall and/or a green roof are in the works. A little less rock and roll, and a little more country (in the city.)

Photo: Peter Paris


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i wanna go

Comment by neil matlins

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