The Gowanus Canal

For five years in the early 2000’s, I lived within blocks of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. I made a woodcut, Gowanus Canal Dweller, that was included in the 2000 Brooklyn Arts Council’s Print Portfolio. More recently, I spent several days sketching the Canal, which resulted in a sore throat and burning eyes. The Canal is presently being dredged, as developers continue building luxury high rises along its banks. I also reviewed antique maps and city plans of the Canal at the New York Historical Society. The Gowanus Canal is an artist book focused on my impressions of the Canal’s history and my own personal experiences. Natural & urban detritus add texture to the pages. Other aspects of the book depict the toxic but beautiful mosaic-like surface of the Canal, using hand marbleized paper and screen printed images. Additionally, a short stop motion animation accompanied the exhibition. A clip of the film, The Gowanus Canal, can be viewed here. Lastly, the industrial history of the Canal is memorialized with an art piece framed in a weathered porthole. Other sketches, done on site by the Canal, are displayed in antique finished floater frames. Hopefully my project will prompt reflection about the fate of this remarkable urban waterway. This work was developed as part of the 2023 On the Waterfront: A View from the Coast (Line) exhibition, Central Booking in Collaboration with the New York Historical Society.
All work can be purchased from Central Booking. A catalog of the exhibiiton is available for purchase, On the Waterfront: A View from the Coast (Line).

Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal, Joseph Alexiou, New York University Press, New York, NY 2015.
“Long-Overdue Dredging of Gowanus Canal Turns Up ‘Black Mayonnaise,’ Sunken Cars, Evil Stench”, Nathan Kensinger, Gothamist, December 15, 2020. “