Don’t Shower When It Rains

Don’t Shower
When It Rains
Emily Kloppenburg
Curated by
Leeza Meksin
August 27 —
November 2016

Ortega y Gasset Projects is excited to present the first project in the 2016-2017 line-up for our newly minted space The Skirt, dedicated entirely to site-specific work. Emily Kloppenburg’s site-specific installation Don’t Shower When It Rains will open to the public on August 27 and remain on view through the end of November, 2016. 

Don’t Shower When It Rains levels Ortega Y Gasset Projects with the neighboring Gowanus Canal. Using the gallery’s subterranean entry vestibule as a guiding frame, the artwork immerses spectators within the adjacent body of water otherwise off-limits. The Canal is of particular significance due to the broad spectrum of distant histories and more recent developments it pertains to. Pre-war roads, expired industrial plants, Whole Foods and contemporary real estate projects all convene around a government mandated Superfund Site, constituting a vertical stratum of narratives from past to present.

The project incorporates Ortega Y Gasset Projects into this topography as a means of exploring the incredible diversity, urgency and contradictions that describe this area of Brooklyn today.

The title of Kloppenburg’s installation derives from the advisories of Owen Foote, a local architect, city planner and lifelong New York City resident who has been leading canoe tours on the Gowanus Canal since 1999. On rainy days, excess runoff frequently pushes city sewage into surrounding bodies of water, such as New York Harbor and the Gowanus Canal, a phenomenon exacerbated by the flow of NYC tap. In response, Don’t Shower When It Rainsdirectly addresses the actions of the individual within the city.

Using dual channel video projection and poster installation, the piece visually and geographically addresses an accumulation of urban issues encapsulated by the Gowanus, including city-wide pollution, food supply, industry and hyper-real estate development. Video footage vertically adjoins adjacent, yet disconnected elements of the Gowanus district—murky waters, oil globules, grass patches, concrete, organic raspberries, new and abandoned buildings, sand and stone—abutting a bending wall blanketed in CAUTION posters announcing the site’s toxicity. Through enclosure and submersion, the installation forces individuals to assess their personal relationship to the state of the Gowanus terrain. Rendering the invisible visible, Kloppenburg’s work probes the slippery boundaries between landscape, architecture and the city, positioning the concerns of the urban upon a fluid continuum rather than preserving them as uniquely distinct.

Emily Kloppenburg lives and works in New York, NY. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2016, and a BA from Vassar College in 2011. Kloppenburg has exhibited at Finished Goods Warehouse (2016), Black & White Gallery Project Space (2016), The Fisher Landau Center for Art (2016), The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery (2016 & 2015), The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University (2016), Judith Charles Gallery (2015), and ArtSpace New Haven (2014).