Though the launching of 1stfans is being done mostly online, one of the critical goals of the group is to get people to come and enjoy the Museum in person more often. 1stfans is different from of our other Membership categories in many ways, but one way in which it is similar is that Members receive special benefits when they show up to the Museum. Since 1stfans is launching in person at Target First Saturday on January 3, 2009, we wanted to be sure that 1stfans had something really, exceptionally cool to do that night. I think you’ll agree that getting Swoon’s studio to do a print exclusively for 1stfans Members live that night is a good way to kick things off.
Swoon appealed to us as an artist for many reasons. We knew we wanted to do something with an artist that fit at least one, and preferably all, of the following criteria: an artist in the Museum’s collection, someone with a connection to Brooklyn or our Museum community, and whose work has a strong following one of the social networking websites we are using. In addition to being an artist that Shelley and I both admire, Swoon fits those criteria. Her installation piece, on view in 2006 and early 2007, was a huge hit with visitors. Her work literally covers the streets of Brooklyn and the rest of NYC, and prompts art enthusiasts to spend their weekends keeping their eyes peeled. The icing on the cake was her incredible presence on Flickr (18,000 images and growing), a testament to her following and to Flickr’s utility as an art resource. With all of this in mind, we nervously approached Swoon with our idea and asked her if she’d be willing to help us out. To our incredible delight (there may have been some high-fiving involved), she said yes! And that’s how we arrived at the Swoon interactive printing event for 1stfans on Saturday, January 3rd. We should fully disclose that Swoon herself is NOT going to be here. She is traveling (far) outside of NYC, but has dutifully overseen the production of the screens you see above and she will be dispatching four of her studio assistants to do the actual printing.
Swoon’s work uses a lot of found materials and she is encouraging people to bring their own paper for their print. I may spend hours looking for the perfect piece of paper for my print, but I’m enough of a realist to realize that not every 1stfan Member will do the same. That’s where Materials for the Arts comes in. In the video below, you can watch me and Shelley take a field trip to Materials For the Arts, which is a non-profit organization, partially funded by the city, that gives away recycled supplies to other non-profit arts and education organizations. Materials for the Arts is based in Long Island City, Queens, and we had quite a trip to and from their warehouse in Shelley’s bug. There, we were able to pick up a wide variety of materials on which 1stfans get their Swoon print. Carpet and fabric samples, framing materials, poster board, all kinds of paper, signs, you name it. We’re not sure if the print will turn out well on everything we picked up, but at least we have plenty of stuff to work with!
We hope to see you on January 3, and if you have any questions please e-mail me here.
Will Cary was the Brooklyn Museum's Membership Manager from January 2008 to May 2010. In addition to making sure all Brooklyn Museum Members got the most out of their Membership, he also developed the 1stfans Membership program in order to grow the Museum’s community of supporters. Before joining the Brooklyn Museum in January 2008, Will worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Will graduated from Williams College with a degree in Art History and Economics. Will now works in Membership at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine.