Park Slope

Wellness and utopia main themes of art show at Old Stone House

August 25, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Zoey Hart sitting and knitting in front of her “Empathy Suit” and her “In Honor of Imperfection” series that incorporates scanned shots from personal sonograms and CT scans. Eagle photos by Paul Frangipane.

Dozens of people crammed into the upstairs of the Old Stone House Thursday in Park Slope to explore the idea of being well and searching for utopia, as artwork displayed from about 10 different artists greeted them.

“What would an ideal (or “utopian”) state of community health and wellness look like, and how are current efforts succeeding or failing?”

That was the question at the forefront of the exhibition, and using a wide array of different materials and mediums, artists took their crack at answering it.

A performance by Zoey Hart, the artist behind the wearable “Empathy Suit,” helped to guide the night.

It started as a four-person performance, but quickly gained participants from the entire room as an upright bass conducted swaying movements of Hart and her performers, all draped in Hart’s wearable art made of thick thread.

The show began with the performers sitting in a triangle and climaxed into a room of spectators swaying back and forth with each other until the music slowed and the performers sat back down.

Hart stressed the importance of connecting with “anyone and everyone” in today’s times.

“There’s pretty diverse work in the show,” the show’s curator, Katherine Gressel, said to the crowd.

The exhibits were variously made out of thread, velvet, sounds, videos, pictures, prints, plastic, acrylic, postcards, CT scans and Sonograms.

“The first step to understanding wellness, illness and sort of overcoming barriers that that could create is to reach out to others, build communities [and] exercise empathy, so you’ll see a lot of projects can relate to that in one way or another,” Gressel said.

“Birds of Brooklyn” by Jenna Spevack gave visitors a backdrop of Brooklyn bird sounds coming out of a small wooden box.

Postcards that were sprawled out allowed people to write to politicians to make sure they represent their constituents. It was mostly taken over by children, and one postcard bluntly read, “Global warming is real” in dark blue marker.

The Old Stone House has been standing since 1699 and was the original home of the Brooklyn Dodgers and a site of the Battle of Brooklyn in the American Revolution.

It now stands in the middle of Washington Park in Park Slope with orange-lit lampposts leading way to the entrance, as a place of “culture, education and recreation.”

“Being Well: In Search of Utopia?” is part of the house’s ongoing Brooklyn Utopias exhibit, founded in 2009.

The exhibit will be on display until Oct. 8.