Abandoned spaces as creative places? Definitely!

The sphinx, a work in sugar by Kara Walker Photo by Liz Cooke
The sphinx, a work in sugar by Kara Walker at the Domino Sugar Factory
Photo by Liz Cooke

Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety” (now through July 6 at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is just one of several art exhibits that take full advantage of the history, architecture and acoustics found in abandoned spaces.  We wish more places in the Hudson Valley could be used so creatively.

Play this building, Cementon Photo by Andy Milford
Play this building, Cementon
Photo by Andy Milford

For instance, we’d love to see a sound installation at Cementon. All those pipes and beams clanging and chiming at once? Fantastic! David Byrne of Talking Heads famously “played the building” at the Battery Maritime Building in NYC (and several other places) to resounding response.

Imagine the Orange County Government Center with colored light coming through those windows Photo by Liz Cooke
Imagine the Orange County Government Center with colored light coming through those windows
Photo by Liz Cooke

We can also imagine (and have imagined) theatrical lighting shining through the windows at the Paul Rudolph-designed Orange County Government Center in Goshen? For inspiration look no further than the LED lighting used by artist Luisa Alvarez to illuminate an abandoned house.

Or a land art installation in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed gardens at Hudson River State Hospital? Many artists have taken innocuous plots of land and transformed them into something magical, including this gorgeous tree cathedral built on the slopes of Mount Arera in Italy.

Land art at HRSH Photo by Liz Cooke
Land art at HRSH
Photo by Liz Cooke

Art has the power to transform the most mundane space into the most expressive, revealing layers of history and beauty that might otherwise be ignored. The possibilities for reusing,rehabilitating and reclaiming abandoned places are endless when you think creatively.