25 Years of Gowanus: As it WAS, As it IS

25 Years of Gowanus: As it WAS, As it IS

25 Years of Gowanus: As it WAS, As it IS

Where some people see filth, Mark D Phillips sees artistry.

Mark’s 25-year photographic documentation - “25 Years of Gowanus: As it WAS, As it IS” - will be featured for one weekend during the Gowanus Open Studios Tour 2017. On Oct. 21 – 22, 2017, the bottom floor of Movers, Not Shakers! corporate headquarters becomes a gallery showcasing the changes along the polluted Brooklyn waterway.

Mark happened upon the Gowanus Canal in 1992, just a couple of years after moving to Cobble Hill from Florida. The waterway became a long-term photographic project, continuing throughout his 40-year career as a photojournalist. Now designated a Superfund site, the Gowanus Canal has a beauty that Mark has captured in its abandonment, grunginess, and now its resurgence.

Once one of the largest shipping companies in the world, all that remained of ISBrandtsen was a collapsed pier in Gowanus Bay. The pier was replaced by a ConEd generating station in the early 2000's.

In his early years photographing the canal, it had an eerie quality, with collapsed structures lining its banks; ISBrandtsen’s old shipping line pier, once one of the busiest in the world, barely remained above the surface of the water, a testament to the decline. The old Central Power Station of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company was built in 1896 and stands empty on the east bank, a grand skeleton looming high over the water. Purchased by a philanthropist, construction is underway with plans to turn it into art studios and exhibition space. Old metal piers have vanished and the silos that stood by the Carroll Street Bridge have transformed into high-end apartment complexes.

The oil still floats atop the water, joined by canoes and paddle boards. There are times when the colorful sheen stretches from bulkhead to bulkhead at the Ninth Street Bridge, creating a mosaic that resembles some of Tiffany’s finest stained glass. When the water is calm, the city reflects across its mirrored surface.

Perhaps, one day, it will become something more than an oddity.

Oil forms intricate, beautiful patterns in the early morning light along the surface of the Gowanus Canal.

Movers, Not Shakers! moved to their location astride the Gowanus Canal at 131 3rd Street, Brooklyn, in 2014. The green moving company is keeping the area’s history alive as a magnet for Brooklyn small business. Mark Ehrhardt, the President and Founder of Movers, Not Shakers!, Inc., has been friends with Mark Phillips for over 15 years. In his words, “The photography that Mark has captured over the years of the Gowanus Canal and surrounding areas is captivating, filled with images that create that sense of Deja Vu of looking back to Brooklyn’s past, and allows one to reflect on how much has changed here over the last 20 years. Our team is excited to create a space within our warehouse that will be a unique way to view our friend Mark’s photographs in a (quickly disappearing) industrial setting.“

South Brooklyn Internet is the publisher of southbrooklyn.com, a website dedicated to the arts, photography and happenings of brownstone Brooklyn, featuring the work of Mark D Phillips.

The large scale prints in “25 Years of Gowanus: As it WAS, As it IS” are courtesy of exhibition PATRON supporter Philip Henn of CitiHabitats.

South Brooklyn Internet and Movers, Not Shakers! are proud to present “25 Years of Gowanus: As it WAS, As it IS” as sponsors of the Gowanus Open Studios Tour 2017, a free annual weekend featuring over 300 artists with studios from Bergen Street to 18th Street, and from Court Street to 5th Avenue.  Movers, Not Shakers! is located in the center of the show area, just across the Gowanus Third Street bridge from Whole Foods.

 

 

 

Movers, Not Shakers!
131 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY  11231
First floor Gallery

“25 Years of Gowanus: As it WAS, As it IS”
by Mark D Phillips

Saturday, October 21, 2017: noon to 6pm
Sunday, October 22, 2017: noon to 6pm

 

 

A crane lifts scrap at Benson Scrap Metal from piles to load a barge on the Gowanus Canal at Sunset. ©Mark D Phillips
A crane lifts scrap at Benson Scrap Metal from piles to load a barge on the Gowanus Canal at Sunset. ©Mark D Phillips