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The Bright Passage

Duke Riley

Contemporary Art

In this drawing Duke Riley presents real and imagined accounts about the original residents as well as an imaginary group of contemporary inhabitants of Mill Rock Island, a small, inhospitable strip of land just north of Roosevelt Island in the East River of New York. Initially named Bright Passage or Hell Gate by Dutch explorers, the island and the river become a mythical place in Riley’s densely rendered scenes. Influenced by tattoo art as well as woodcuts and nineteenth-century whaling art, this large-scale drawing invites the viewer to find hidden treasures and stories depicting tales of sexual exploits with pirates, mermaids and other mythical creatures. Part of Riley’s vast multimedia project East River Incognita 1, The Bright Passage further evokes the ambiguous line between history and myth by including fragments and landmarks of contemporary life in New York.
MEDIUM Ink on Architectural Canary drafting paper
DATES 2006
DIMENSIONS sheet: 71 × 118 in. (180.3 × 299.7 cm) frame: 77 1/2 × 124 × 2 in. (196.9 × 315 × 5.1 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Liberman and gift of Donald T. Johnson, by exchange
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Duke Riley (American, born 1972). The Bright Passage, 2006. Ink on Architectural Canary drafting paper, sheet: 71 × 118 in. (180.3 × 299.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Liberman and gift of Donald T. Johnson, by exchange, 2006.27. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006.27_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2006.27_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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