A class I took a few years ago called “Art in the 21st Century” is what led me to first attend a dumbo arts festival. In class, we spent several weeks discussing how art had arrived in the new era, relying heavily on ideas expressed by the artists themselves in the awesome lessons offered by the PBS site Art21. Naturally I responded more to the art of Kara Walker, Shazia Sikander, Eleanor Antin and Walton Ford when I heard those artists explain the incredible thinking that informs their work.
So the same can be said for visiting the artists at dumbo. Nothing I have found in New York will help you appreciate new art the way you can when you have an opportunity to speak with the artist and let them give you a better idea of what they are about and what context they place their work in.
In their own words:
DISTINCTIVELY DUMBO: THE ONE AND ONLY, ONCE A YEAR, ONE WEEKEND OCCUPATION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD BY ARTISTS: FREE, ACCESSIBLE, MOOD-ENHANCING, SOMETIMES PUZZLING, OFTEN CHALLENGING, CAPTIVATING, PERPLEXING, MISCHIEVOUS, ENERGIZING, CAN BE FUNNY, NEVER BORING, TOTAL IMMERSION VISUAL ARTS EXPERIENCE, WHERE ART & ARTISTS INVADE STREETS, LOADING DOCKS, LOBBIES, SIDEWALKS, FACADES, RIVER, WATERFRONT, BATHTUBS, ELEVATORS, ALLEYS, CORNERS, STOREFRONTS, AND STORES PLUS THE VIDEO_DUMBO FESTIVAL OF NEW VIDEO ART, SCORES OF OPEN STUDIOS AND MULTIPLE EXHIBITIONS, ALL ON A CURIOUS CAMPUS SPANNING 27 BLOCKS BETWEEN THE MANHATTAN AND BROOKLYN BRIDGES, FROM THE FULTON FERRY LANDING TO VINEGAR HILL, KNOWN AS DUMBO, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.