Brooklyn Museum Installation
As suggested by her assumed name, the artist known as Swoon is an admirer of urban art like that featured in the special exhibition Graffiti, on view elsewhere on this floor. Trained in printmaking in Prague and at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, she decided to take her own art to the streets in l999, pasting her large linoleum- and woodcuts, printed on thin paper, on the sides of the industrial buildings of Brooklyn and the Lower East Side.
The artist’s main subjects are the people of the city, often her family members and friends but also strangers. “I go and look at people hanging out on the street,” she says. “So what I wind up with is actually a street scene—a portrait of the city.”
Recently, Swoon has begun creating large, intricate installations in which layers of printed and cutout material projecting into space are supplemented by objects found in the street. Brooklyn Museum Installation is a site-specific work based on a 2003 piece called Coney Island Cyclone, after the landmark Brooklyn roller coaster. The artist translates the coaster’s image into an intricate web of printed fragments. The lacelike appearance reveals influences as various as Indonesian shadow puppets and the printing methods of German Expressionism.
The artist’s attraction to Coney Island derives from an all-American fascination with this place of wonder, magic, and bizarre personages. For Swoon, who was born in Florida, Coney Island encapsulates New York and its never-ending surprises, possibilities, and mystery.