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In November of 2014, Knockdown Center proudly presented a group exhibition of painting, sculpture, video and installation by artists and their artist parents.

The works in this exhibition explored the ways in which a creative pursuit is inscribed and inherited throughout an artistic life. Emblematic of diverse processes and intentions, the works alluded to one another in subtle and overt ways and served as a non-verbal correlative to collected video stories presented amidst the installation. By portraying similarities and differences in styles and techniques of an artist and their artist parent, the pieces created a framework for examining the creative process as a life-long commitment that transcends the expectations of profession and audience.

What strategies are artists using to sustain a consistent and meaningful lifelong relationship with their work and in what ways could relatives participate directly in the creation of an art piece?

The exhibition was accompanied by the publication of the catalogue LEGACY. To request a copy, please email us here.

Lilian and Ulrike Feser
Lola Goeller and Mona Sommer
Constantin and Ulrich Hartenstein
Chelsea and Thurmont Knight
Rebecca and Lee Bamberger Leopold
Casey and Kurt Schultz
Clemens and Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm

Negative Space


Negative Space featured five artists whose works reference the domestic environment. Through various media, the artworks in this exhibition explored the temporal and spatial intervals between humans and the objects that most closely surround them; as the viewer encountered references to the emotional and psychological space of home, they were placed in stark contrast to the Knockdown Center’s vast industrial space. The artworks situated the viewer in a contemplative space, at once personal and claustrophobic. The comfort and security of home was juxtaposed with raw open space. This exhibition explored how works depicting the domestic can simultaneously convey an emotion of feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Jeremy Coleman Smith carefully built a 12 x 12 x 8 foot room in which interior paneling was made from hand-cut cardboard and exterior siding was formed out of soaked and embossed Stonehenge paper. Rachel Higgins exhibited two works, both read as domestic objects gone awry. Her sculptural work is often performative and participatory, bringing an unexpectedness to familiar objects. Cait Carouge’s large-scale photographs are unsettling and explore the uncanny in domestic interiors. Lauren Gregory turns the process of painting into an animation and creates a narrative that locates the viewer at home on the couch, comforted by face-painted pillows. Kevin Frances also uses a narrative form in his three Japanese woodblock prints, telling a story of a young woman moving into a new apartment.

In conjunction with the exhibition was a dinner event by Eric May, Chef and Founder of the Piranha Club, an artist-run underground supper club that was launched out of the Roots and Culture Contemporary Art Center in Chicago. Eric teamed up with artist Paul Anthony Smith in a long-anticipated culinary throw down to present an intimate dinner on Saturday, March 28.

Curated by Stacie Johnson and Gabrielle Garland

image: Kevin Frances, “Lucas’s Clothes (3),” 28x14x6 in, Ceramic, pigments, acrylic varnish. 2014.


The Wilder Papers


In June of 2014, choreographer/director, Emily Terndrup and writer/director, Derrick Belcham presented “The Wilder Papers”, an experiential narrative surrounding the lives of the composer Julian Wilder and the choreographer, Dorienne Lee.

Presented free of charge by way of a generous commission from the Knockdown Center, the event was invitation only and marketed by word of mouth. For one night only, ten dancers transported the audience back to the 1950’s, leading them through every remote corner of the Knockdown Center’s voluminous space to a live score set by five musicians.

Find out more information on the productions of Emily Terndrup and Derrick Belcham.

See The Wilder Papers Selected Moments on vimeo.





A Nutcracker


Traversing synchronously a single lifetime, A Nutcracker: Part I reinvented a classic narrative for a contemporary audience of all ages, inviting them to wander freely and explore a dreamlike world in which the breadth of life’s manifold emotions and experiences harmoniously coexist.

Choreographed by Katie Rose McLaughlin and directed by Joshua William Gelb, “A Nutcracker” used Tchaikovsky’s music to depict the life story of a woman (and dancer) named Clara.
In this new adaptation, Clara’s childhood, young adulthood, middle and old age appeared simultaneously, accompanied by live musicians in a playful yet poignant exploration of coming-of-age-stories bookended by tragic death, of leaving things unsaid, and of loved ones left behind.

A Nutcracker: Part I was created by:
Choreographer: Katie Rose McLaughlin
Director: Joshua William Gelb
Music Director: Ian Axness
Story: Dan O’Neil
Lighting Design: Josh Smith
Set Designer: Sara C. Walsh
Costume Design: Diego Montoya
Sound Design: Gavin Price
Assistant Choreographer: Mary Kate Sickel
Featuring: Valda Setterfield, Lisa Lockwood, Gary Chryst, Kaitlyn Gilliland, Pierre Guilbault and introducing Louisa Blakely



Presented in October, 2014, “Debut” is the second evening length work commissioned by the Knockdown center created by Emily Terndrup and Derrick Belcham. “Debut” merged together independent music, contemporary dance theater and a large-scale art installation to tell the story of a group of teenagers as they broke into an abandoned building on the evening of their senior prom. Terndrup and Belcham developed a shifting landscape in which audience may follow a narrative of their choosing.

“Debut” featured original music performed live by Julianna Barwick, Mauro Remiddi (Porcelain Raft), Ruby Kato Attwood and John Ancheta, David Moore (Bing & Ruth), Jessie Stein (The Luyas), Hannah Epperson and Reed Smidebush (Muuny).

See more of the work of Derrick Belcham and Emily Turndrup.

See selected moments from Debut on Vimeo.



Bike Cult Show


The fact that the bicycle has come to be so cool is no fault of its own. The world’s most efficient vehicle is not only about self-propelled transport and synergistic fun and freedom, it’s also profoundly aesthetic as a personal fashion statement embodied with wheels.

In August of 2014, The Knockdown Center hosted Bike Cult Show featuring made-to-order cycling machines, using a variety of materials and methods, where cliches like form vs. function, the genius in the details and 10,000 hours practice surely apply.

Clocktower Productions: Anxious Spaces


In partnership with Clocktower Productions, a new generation of New York-based artists utilized installation work as a platform for performance, and partnered regularly with alternative event spaces and collectives in Brooklyn and beyond. Featuring the work of Hisham Bharooccha, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Raul de Nieves, Christian Joy, Desi Santiago, and Ben Wolf, Knockdown began its exploration of this very intersection. Through its ambitious program and expansive architecture, this exhibition brought a dynamic selection of artists onto its grounds for a month of on-site project development, culminating in a celebration of the work and its fluid transformation from environment to stage.

Tightened, As If By Pliers


Curated by Joshua Bienko and Leeza Meksin, Tightened, As If By Pliers included works by Julio Cortàzar, Kevin Andrew Curran, Luc Fuller, Angelina Gualdoni, EJ Hauser, David Humphrey, Mary Reid Kelley, Amy Lincoln, Chris Martin, Susan Metrican, Hooper Turner, Alan Ruiz, Harriet Salmon, Michael Velliquette and Sheilah Wilson.

In 1968, Argentine novelist Julio Cortàzar traveled to India to photograph an 18th century observatory built by Maharajah Jai Singh II, in Jaipur. He took nearly 300 photographs of the structure which later became the source for, and a contingent part of From the Observatory, an epic poem-narrative consistent with his genre-less writing style. Cortàzar’s photographs and subsequent writing considers the observatory in relation to the “art space.” For Cortàzar, the observatory in Jaipur was a place of deep consideration of the cosmos, but also of the dance eels do for an absent audience, of the eroticism of Jai Singh, of the depth of humor and the surface of philosophy.

For Cortàzar’s artistic output there were no categories: taking photos, writing poems, drinking mates, writing a nonlinear novel in 1963: these were all natural outgrowths of an intellectual curiosity. He was not being a “Photographer,” then a “Writer,” then a “Poet.” He was Socratically committed to questioning.

Through this insistence on questioning, the artists in Tightened, As If by Pliers practiced resistance to the mundane anchoring of the present using art as a window through which the past and the future is accessed from the vantage point of the present.

Tightened, As If by Pliers was presented by Ortega y Gasset Projects.

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