Two Tons of Sugar Cover Floor of Art Gallery Flooded by Sandy

By Janet Upadhye on February 4, 2013 9:01am 

DUMBO — While many gave their money and time to help rebuild after Sandy, Brooklyn-based Domino Sugar donated two tons of refined pure white sugar to a DUMBO art gallery that was flooded by the superstorm.

At Smack Mellon, a gallery on Plymouth Street that took on 6 feet of water, lies a large-scale Persian carpet made entirely of Domino's generous donation.

"The donation was extremely helpful in getting us back on track," said Suzanne Kim, Smack Mellon’s director of exhibitions. "We were eager to get an exhibition up as soon as possible."

With a small staff of three working round the clock, the gallery in one of the hardest-hit spots in DUMBO, re-opened its doors less than three months after the storm.

The gallery's seven artist studios, the media lab, the wood shop and the kitchen were destroyed.

The cost for rehabilitation for the space directly across from Brooklyn Bridge Park and the shore of the East River, is estimated at $400,000.

Still, the show must go on.

And Kim is proud of the two exhibits that mark their survival.

"They both have to do with the environment," she said. "So they are fitting."

"Sugar Carpet," by artist Aude Moreau is made of evenly spread sugar that has been transformed "through the application of floral motifs" into a giant carpet. 

And much like the fragile environment, the carpet can be vulnerable to human touch.

"The pristine white expanse requires a consensus from visitors in order to keep it intact," the artist said in a statement.

In the back gallery space, Janet Biggs' "Somewhere Beyond Nowhere," is a two-channel video installation. In it, the artist filmed herself in what she calls "life at the end of the Earth," during a trip to the high Arctic. Her meditative videos invite the viewer to experience "the isolation that this frigid and unrelenting environment evokes."

Both exhibits will be on display through Feb. 24. For more information and upcoming shows visit Smack Mellon's website.

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