It’s been nearly one year since Hurricane Superstorm Sandy hit New York City, laying waste to countless art spaces and artists’ studios in low-lying and waterfront areas, to say nothing of the homes and lives destroyed throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. But the sense of community and mutual support left in the storm’s wake has been incredibly inspiring, a mood captured and amplified by “Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year 1,” a sprawling exhibition curated by Brooklyn Rail founder Phong Bui at Industry City in Sunset Park, for which a VIP opening was held last night.
Visitors arriving at the enormous warehouse on 36th Street were greeted by some gargantuan works right upon entry to the galleries, including Dustin Yellin‘s 12-ton triptych collage-on-glass sculpture “After the Flood” (above) — for which engineers had to be brought in to test the industrial building’s floor to make sure it wouldn’t collapse — and an installation of inflatable “union rat” sculptures and a musical pizza metropolis by the irreverent Bruce High Quality Foundation collective (below).
In the courtyard, visitors milled about amid more massive sculptures by Joel Shapiro, Mark di Suvero, and Mel Kendrick, as well as some more human-scaled pieces by Lee Tribe, under crisscrossing strings of lights.
While upstairs on the building’s third and sixth floors, the bulk of the show’s works filled a series of long and vast galleries. Though the ground-floor areas became packed with people over the course of the evening, the upstairs aisles remained roomy, a testament to the utter enormity of the building. The art, likewise, never comes across as cluttered, with pieces hung pleasantly and a few large-scale installations given requisite room to breathe.
Among the notable artists and figures on hand for Thursday’s VIP opening were Chuck Close, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Wendy White, Josiah McElheny, Rico Gatson, Loren Munk — though he was in James Kalm mode, camera in hand — Art in America’s Lindsay Pollock, dealer Kristen Dodge, and countless more. No doubt the crowds will be even larger for Sunday’s general opening.
“Come Together: Surviving Sandy, Year 1” opens to the public on October 20 and continues through December 15 at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Photos by the author.)