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2009 Arsenal Gallery Exhibits

Exhibits by Year:

December 11, 2009 – January 6, 2010

The Wreath: Interpretations

Parks & Recreation celebrates the holiday season with its 27th annual exhibition of over two-dozen unique, unconventional wreaths. A diverse selection of professional artists, graphic designers, the Horticultural Society of New York, a Parks blacksmith, and other spirited contributors enliven this ageless holiday symbol. Materials such as turkey feathers, delicately crafted aluminum can flowers, a gnarly motorcycle jacket, vintage dolls and bicycle wheels adorn the walls of the Arsenal Gallery. Be sure to check out the taxidermal prehistoric African Winged turtle, treasured finds from Randall’s Island and to smell the crisp evergreen foliage.  This exhibition is sure to be one of the most thoughtful, enjoyable experiences of this year's holiday season.

Image: Takeshi Yamada, Rogue Taxidermy Wreath (African Winged Turtle, Japanese Giant Terrestrial Planarian), 2009

One of the wreaths on display

October 15 – December 4, 2009

Richie Lasansky, Menagerie

Menagerie features Richie Lasansky’s large-scale pencil drawings of zoo animals. In the exhibition the artist re-imagines the animals in a variety of whimsical, surreal and improbably wonderful ways. In Lasansky’s work, a bear and human sit together in quiet contemplation, a goat wears a tie, and an ostrich gazes flirtatiously towards the viewer. The work charms without becoming cute as it re-imagines the existence of these marvelous creatures.

Displayed in the historic Arsenal, which housed the original Central Park Zoo, Lasansky’s drawings in Menagerie are based on sketches the artist made at the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Central Park Zoo. In these parks he collected the raw material for his work. To the realistic details Lasansky applies his imaginative details. Perhaps more than any visual art style, Lasansky is influenced by the Latin American literary tradition of magic realism, such as the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Lasansky, like the author, does not explain the fantastic and improbable, but presents them as facts.  Curated by Clare Weiss.

Image: Richie Lasansky, Bureaucratic Goat, 2008, pencil on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Bureaucratic Goat, by Richie Lasansky

September 10 – October 8, 2009

GreenThumb's Gotham: A Photographic History of New York City's Community Gardens

Historic and contemporary photographs, posters, protest signs and other ephemera, tell the story of urban gardening in New York City and the advent  and growth of the GreenThumb program.

The extraordinary story of New York City’s community gardens is told visually, from the early 20th century through the contemporary era. The photographs reflect the gardener’s diverse backgrounds and shared commitment to strengthening communities. Demonstrated throughout this colorful collection are consistent themes of self-sufficiency, cultural pride, and sharing the rewards of one’s hard work with others.

Image: La Plaza Cultural – Armando Perez Garden, 2007. Photo by Glenis Holder.

GreenThumb?s Gotham: A Photographic History of New York City's Community Gardens

June 18 – August 13, 2009

Bascove, A Walk in the Park

This exhibition celebrates the beauty and diversity of Central Park's bridges. In her colorful oil paintings and drawings, Bascove shares her fascination with these structures by capturing their individual architecture.

Throughout her career, Bascove has painted many of New York City's bridges. From the Verrazano Bridge to the Harlem River Bridges, she has spanned all five boroughs using curved geometrical strokes and vivid colors to render monumental bridge structures. For this exhibition, she has concentrated on Central Park and the smaller arch structures that span its waterways and paths.

The Gallery wishes to thank Thomas Paul Fine Art for their generous support of this exhibition.

Image: Gothic Bridge, 94th St, oil on canvas, 2008

Bascove, A Walk in the Park

May 14 – June 11, 2009

Nancy Mladenoff Post-Audubon

The Arsenal Gallery is pleased to present Post-Audubon, a series of watercolor and marker studies of the major species of birds and insects in North America by Wisconsin artist Nancy Mladenoff. By delving into ideas such as botany, entomology, ornithology, geography, and history as they relate to contemporary culture, these works not only become a witty take on the work of John James Audubon, but a post-modern look at naturalism in art.

Artwork by Nancy Mladenoff

March 12 – April 30, 2009

Urban Woodlands: Drawings by Mary Reilly

Mary Reilly's Urban Woodlands is an exhibition of graphite drawings rendered employing imagery captured within parks located in all five boroughs in New York City. Revealing the unexpected—ancient forests with magnificent old trees, winding rivers and streams, creeks and marshes, lakes and ponds, and miles of sand dune filled beaches—Reilly captures the essence of each location by focusing on areas that lie beyond one's passing glance.

Reilly's drawings are rendered using reductive and additive process. By laying a mid–tone on the paper's surface with up to eight layers of graphite, she then develops her image by pushing the darks and lifting the lights. This working and reworking of each piece brings into focus nature's determined perseverance against time, and the subtle shift in tone produced by her intricate process imbues each piece with a sensual soft–focused photographic quality.

Mary Reilly was born in Yorktown, New York and has been a resident of New York City for over twenty years. She has studied at the School of Visual Arts, the Art Students League of New York, and the National Academy School for Design. Reilly is represented by the DFN gallery, and her work has been featured in American Artist Drawing Magazine.

Urban Woodlands: Drawings by Mary Reilly

February 2 – March 5, 2009

The African American Experience

This exhibition features paintings, drawings, collage, quilts, ceramics, and photographs by artists, Parks & Recreation employees, retirees, and participants at the City's recreation centers. The show is organized in conjunction with the Parks & Recreation's Ebony Society Black History committee.

Image: Hydrant Song by Anthony Almeida

View a sampling of archival photographs in the gallery, plus an online exhibition of captioned archival images.

Hydrant Song by Anthony Almeida

History of the Arsenal

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