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An Old Door Factory Is Now a Giant Art Playground

See a 'Cadillac' of paper towels and IV drip equipment become a drum orchestra at the Knockdown Center.
All images courtesy the Clocktower

Sound, installation, and performance art inhabit Knockdown Center's 50,000 square foot space in Queens, New York this month, for a second installment of Clocktower's exhibition Anxious Spaces: Installation as Catalyst. The renovated warehouse—once a glass factory, then a door factory—feels today like an immense, post-industrial cathedral complex one can easily get lost in. The exhibition's title "refers to a certain demand of the artists, and then of the audience, to reconsider everything about the building's design and role," explains Joe Ahearn, who co-curated the exhibition with Alanna Heiss.


He adds: "For me, this sort of exploration is best achieved by pairing a wide breadth of performance styles with visual artists. This happens in alternative art spaces all over the world outside the white-box format, but there are few places other than Knockdown that you might be able to pair so many of these worlds with one another under a single roof."

The exhibition presents site-specific work from eight artists. Will Ryman, known for his sculptures of oversized flora, turns his attention to the man-made with Cadillac, a replica of a 1958 Eldorado Biarritz made entirely out of resin and Bounty paper towels. Nearby, Ben Mortimer's One and the Other reads like a catastrophe frozen in time: a curtain of shattered glass falls diagonally into a structure of splintered wood emerging from the floor.