Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) is pleased to present The Wonder Under, Photographic Cabinets of Curiosity, a new public art installation by Brooklyn-based artist Matthew Jensen. This is the third public art installation to be featured in the Community Room gallery and corridor at 99 Plymouth, a former NYC Department of Environmental Protection maintenance building that was recently adapted for park use.
Jensen began the project by building an extensive collection of objects from the shoreline and construction sites at BBP - with a particular focus on the newly completed Main Street section of the park. The objects, all found by Jensen in plain sight, reveal how the past and present are intertwined in this landscape. Jensen then arranged the 550 meticulously cut photographs of these objects on two-dimensional ‘curiosity cabinets’ that reference museum vitrines but without employing the rigid order commonly associated with such forms of display. “I love thinking about the timeline of objects and that undefined moment when something becomes an official artifact worthy of preservation. I am also using photography to shift the value of these cast-offs, the old and the new appear side-by-side and now compete for attention,” says Jensen.
“The Wonder Under is a wonderful addition to the Community Room at 99 Plymouth,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer. “Jensen provides a unique perspective on local history though his use of photography, historic research and exploration. We look forward to welcoming visitors to this new exhibition.”
Historical artifacts include 19th century porcelain and redware, large pottery fragments, a half-cent from 1850, and flint and obsidian spear points, mixed together with contemporary castoffs of plastic, foam, metal and glass. Many of the objects are familiar, while some are strange and unidentifiable. “As photographs, some of the most interesting things to look at are the more grotesque, anthropogenic amalgamations,” says Jensen. Countless pieces of coal and amorphous blast furnace slag are reminders that residue from the industrial revolution remains part of our environment.
The Wonder Under will be on display and open to all through March 24, 2016, at the 99 Plymouth Community Room gallery and corridor. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, December 3, 6:00pm to 8:00pm as part of DUMBO’s monthly First Thursday Gallery Walk. A talk between the artist and curator Jennifer McGregor will begin at 7:00pm. Over the course of the exhibition, Jensen will also lead walks through the same spaces from which his installation was created.
About the Artist
Matthew Jensen is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist whose work combines walking, history, photography and collecting. His practice brings special attention to the experience of landscape, particularly public space. New York City landscapes have been the subject for many of his recent photographic and collection-based projects. Jensen has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brandywine Museum of Art, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wave Hill, Third Streaming Gallery among others. His solo show Feels Like Real was on exhibit at Yancey Richardson Gallery this past spring and his series The 49 States is currently on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. He has participated in residencies at the Queens Museum, MacDowell Colony, L.M.C.C., Wave Hill and Kimmel Harding Nelson. Jensen currently teaches at Parsons/The New School. He received his MFA from the University of Connecticut and BA from Rice University.