In 2009, 51 Bergen Street became the Invisible Dog Art Center. This is the story of how our building was transformed through love and hard work; a long-term romance like any other. What emerged from this love was a very unique way of operating an art space. We began as a self-sustaining business in which the building’s innate resources were used to generate income that would allow us to best maintain the building and provide space and time for artists to fill it with their creative dreams. The foundation of our story is marked by three elements: an enormous inflatable ant that showed us that our space has incredible capacity for containing an artist’s imagination; a few hard-working artists renting studios who would forever be our lifeblood; and a chandelier, created from the discarded materials from the building’s former life as a belt factory that would invoke the image of grand theaters in Europe and forever remind us of our proud history as space for production. And from there we grew: 27 artists-in-residence; a robust annual season of performing, visual and multi-disciplinary projects; residencies for artists from around the city and the globe; strong relationships with partner organizations; and no end to the number of artists, at various career levels, creating new work in our beloved space. In that way, as much as we have grown, our love for this building, YOUR love for this building, has remained a constant and a rudder. The most daunting limitations of this building are the key to its greatest generosity, and we will never stop loving it because of that inspiring tension.
Over the years, our recognition has expanded to include prominent critics to artists who seek us out, knowing that we genuinely provide space for experimentation with a consistent demand for rigor and care. But recently, we received a new level of recognition. In June we were informed that the process we started almost two years ago to become a 501c3 is now complete! The Invisible Dog Art Center is now a fully incorporated, non-profit organization. Our project, the community that has rallied around it, and our method is now irrefutable. We arrived at this permanence organically; we didn’t start the Invisible Dog with the goal of being a non-profit. We arrived at this goal through our dedication to supporting artists with the physical resources they need to do their best — and the understanding that we could grow that support to include financial resources so that they could deepen their practice and do more within our walls. It’s thanks to you – our community, our partners, our artists, and our supporters – that we have achieved this important status. And it’s with your belief in us that we will use is to continue to increase access to arts and culture within our building.
We live in a disturbing moment. Every day we are reminded of the violent consequence of generations of injustice. Images of fascism flicker on our screens and revolution seems to be inevitable – but what, or more so, who, will be the cost? It is clear that our systems aren’t serving us, are leading us to greater destruction. We need our creativity to help us envision a new way of working, a more equitable way of sharing resources. For this reason, now more than ever, we believe in the power of creative expression and education. Without education, we cannot help but perceive all difference as a threat. We believe that art provides people with the means celebrating difference and creating an inclusive world, an ever expanding home for us all. The Invisible Dog will continue to be a place for artistic exploration and community building. As a 501c3, we hope to grow our funding to better support these pursuits and the people generating them. We will strive to continue our program development with care – for artists, for audience – and we will stay true to our values.
One way that you can continue to support us is to make a now 100% tax deductible donation during our annual appeal in October. We hope that now that all donations will be tax deductible that you will consider making a larger contribution if you can.
And, we’ll continue to be here for you. We invite you to seek us out, to engage in our space, to bring us your most creative, most expansive dreams.
We’ll do the same.
Lucien Zayan, Founder – Director
Risa Shoup, Board of Directors Member
Photo by Juan Sarmiento G.
New York-based artists and brothers, Steven and William Ladd, have dedicated the past thirteen years to collaborating on hand sewn boxes containing meticulously constructed environments related to their shared memories. Their values- Spend your life doing what you love, Be focused and disciplined, Collaborate- are embedded in their work, and indeed, in their lives.
When closed and stacked, the boxes become sculptural Towers, majestic works of art, at rest until the Towers are dismantled and contents revealed. It is often through a rhythmic and choreographed performance that the brothers open the boxes and arrange them in their landscape formations. The landscapes are often composed of found materials that the brothers have worked- sewn, beaded, scrolled, rolled, stacked- into tightly organized environments that reference memories from their lives.
Materials from The Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn- a former belt and buckle factory turned into a major hub for art and artists may have been their largest influx of materials yet. Lucien Zayan, the director of that space, generously made all of the leftover trimmings and trinkets of the space available to the artists to fuel years of creativity. Relationships are at the heart of the brothers’ work, and their relationship with The Invisible Dog, and Lucien, have fostered a rich and powerful collaboration.
In 2011, the Ladd brothers had their first solo museum exhibition at the Contemporary Museum Hawaii. Using a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (2010), they were given the entire museum—over 5,000 square feet—to showcase new works featuring Ant Infestation – a large Tower that opens to reveal a beautiful landscape of hand-beaded trees with an infestation of 600 small cast ants.
Following their hugely popular and critically acclaimed Hawaii show, the brothers began working on a new series, entitled Shaboygen, focused on their shared high school memories presented at the Invisible Dog Art Center, and internationally at Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Austria, 2012. For this body of work the brothers pushed the scale of the boxes. And, for the first time, some of the boxes were mounted on the wall, representing a major shift in the presentation of the works, which have traditionally been placed on the floor and viewed from above.
The brothers then had an exhibition of around 500 objects at The Mingei International Museum in their museum solo, Function + Fantasy. This exhibition traces those threads through the artists’ work over the past thirteen years.
In October 2014, Steven and William had a solo exhibition at the newly constructed Parrish Art Museum in the Hamptons, New York. Here their works showed their exploration of shared memories from their grade school, whose name became the show’s title- Mary Queen of the Universe.
The Invisible Dog seeks a dynamic Venue Manager
* form strong, positive relationships with the artists working in the building
* welcome artists; answer basic questions about the facility; act as intermediary between artists and Director
* collect and organize necessary technical and artistic information from artists in advance of exhibitions and performances; deliver this information to Director promptly, consistently and concisely
* supply partners, renters, et al with necessary information about the venue — as directed by, and at the sole discretion of, the Director
* welcome patrons; inform them about exhibitions; maintain an open and friendly atmosphere in the space
* act as an intermediary between the Director and the public
* answer questions about the space and programming
Facilities Management & Communications
* closely observe building; track changes and alert appropriate staff as needed when issues arise
* light maintenance of the main gallery and Glass House: sweep, restock bathroom supplies, wash storefront window, etc.
* select and hire interns for fall and spring
* write introductory newsletter text (roughly 2x, per month, due 5PM on the Sunday before it is to go out)
* assist Director with outgoing correspondence
* receive and organize deliveries
* deliver mail to artist mailboxes on second floor
* Friendly and good sense of humor
* Reliable and strict adherence to rules and regulations
* Highly organized and detail-oriented
* Strong understanding of social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
* Familiarity with WordPress in order to assist with updating the website
* Extremely punctual
* Strong command of English language – written and spoken
* Comfortable working alone and self-directed
Important to Note
* We are not looking for a “professional.” This position is not contingent on a specific level of past work experience in the arts. However, we do expect applicants to have passion for the arts and culture, a working knowledge of the NYC arts ecosystem, and a strong desire to forge good relationships with artists, patrons, cultural partners and the space itself.
* This position requires you to work closely with the Director. Collaboration is key to the success of the Invisible Dog. We have been growing steadily since our opening in 2009. In the last few years, we have made a concerted effort to increase programming, develop an individual donor base, and cultivate relationships with private and public foundations. The Venue Manager will have an opportunity to give feedback and participate in the future growth of this dynamic institution.
Send resume, cover letter detailing your interest and qualifications for this position, three references to Director Lucien Zayan firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are due by 5pm on Friday April 10th.
THURSDAY APRIL 27 – 1PM to 10PM – EXHIBITION – WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW ABOUT LOVE by Mikki Brammer & Wesley Verhoeve – Love defines us all – the highs and lows of it, the absence of it, the search for it, the way it both nourishes and confounds us. Romantic love, platonic love, paternal love … it takes all forms. And it’s the intricacies of those relationships and the complex puzzles they create that make life – and love – so fascinating.
Throughout history, more works of art, literature, and film have been dedicated to making sense of love than to almost any other topic. Inspired by this endless human quest for understanding love, we talked to a diverse selection of New Yorkers about what it means to them.
On viewing on Thursday April 27 from 1PM to 7PM
Opening Reception from 7PM to 10PM
VARIOUS DATES 7-9 PM – DRAWING FIGURE – A figure drawing workshop with live model for artists and amateurs alike. You should bring a drawing board, paper, charcoal and/or other art supplies. Chairs will also be provided.
RSVP to JEFF at figuredrawinginvisibledog[at] gmail [dot] com
The goal is not to simply do a cool project that will get cleaned up by the city or thrown away, but to make something – even something temporary – that will change how a place works and is perceived. And once that change has been made, to figure out how it can be made again or made permanent.
Nate Berg, The Complete Guide to Tactical Urbanism
Dear Supporters, Dear Friends
We could tell you again how overwhelmed we are by your support, how excited we are to give the money we raised to the artists presented this season, how grateful we are to be part of such an amazing community of donors, artists, and institutional partners. But you know that.
We want to tell you what we learned: when we asked you to help us raise $25,000, each individual donor gave an average of 25% more than last year, and we raised $33,000
You have given us a mandate: you gave more to us because you want us to do more for you.
We promise you, not just more artists, not just more events, but more opportunities to change how the arts, our building, our neighborhood, and all of us together interact to be a permanent home for creativity and culture.
Lucien Zayan, Director & Risa Shoup, Associate Director
JANUARY 27 – ROSEROSEROSE is an interactive sound installation that explores trauma, grief, and memory. The work fully activates through audience interaction, in two ways: preparation and submission. Preparation: guests arrange various provided sculptures on a table. These are read by sensors, where their arrangement composes an aural poem of fragmented recorded memories. Submission: one must kneel inside the piece, and bow their head in order to receive the newly composed aural poem. This resultant poem tells the story of personal loss and the ways in which grief manifests after the loss of the artist’s grandmother. Operating from the intersection of religious, cultural, and sexual rituals, ROSEROSEROSE is one part of a larger poetic series about the fracturing of self-love after tragedy.
Opening reception: Friday, January 27 from 7-10 pm
Gallery Hours: Friday, January 27 from 1 to 10pm
Nick Von Kleist’s work explores the potentials of sound and interactive media to expand the poetry’s audience. He is currently a production manager for Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc program. He has worked on various productions including Laurie Anderson’s Habeas Corpus, Marina Abramović’s Goldberg, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, Great Performers, And Mostly Mozart. He was also a member of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. He is a graduate of Eugene Lang College and Parsons of The New School, with degrees in Literature, Fine Arts, and Chinese (Mandarin). nvk has read, published, and performed in New York and the UK.