Boar's Head Plant to Host Street Sculpture Party for Bushwick Arts Festival

By Meredith Hoffman on March 27, 2013 7:13am 

BUSHWICK — It's time to meat the neighbors. 

Cold-cut favorite Boar's Head is hosting  a sculpture party in June, complete with rainbow yarn spools draped across overhangs, figures molded out of trash and a green plexiglass tower that will soon replace the loading trucks and packaged ham on a corporate-owned street.

Rock Street, the block between the decades-old plant's two hulking warehouses off the Morgan L train subway station, will house a weekend-long show during this year's Bushwick Open Studios art festival, organizers said.

"It’s a great venue and an open space for the artists to show their work and the public to walk through unencumbered," said Boar's Head's New York plant manager, Dave Hasemann. "This is our first time we've been able to hook up somebody with the space, to do something for the community."

The property, owned by the popular meat purveyor since the 1930s, has never been used for such a public event, said Hasemann, who has worked with the company for the past 17 years.

"I'm not an art enthusiast, but I enjoy art," said Hasemann, who plans to attend the show and have staff serve "some free food, probably hot dogs." 

As visitors nosh, they can wander through 20 Brooklyn artists' interactive creations and jam to a live band, show organizer Deborah Brown said.

"I just called the plant cold and asked who was in charge and he was really cool...I was astounded," said Brown, a local artist and gallery owner, of Hasemann's enthusiasm. "We'll have sculptures in the street and hanging from overhead on the loading docks."

Sculptures include a fabric and yarn piece by Ellie Murphy on a 100-foot overhang, and a "polyurethane brick" made of gumballs by Guy Nelson, explained Brown, who is curating the show along with gallerist Lesley Heller.

Artist Bjoern MeyerEbrecht is also placing movable bench arrangements in the street, and sculptor Jack Henry will display his "core samples" — like core samples of Earth, but in his case trash from around Bushwick, Brown said.

"We had a show similar to this at the Onderonk House last year," she recalled of the smaller sculpture exhibit at the garden in Ridgewood, Queens. "We're really excited about this."

Hasemann, whose company is providing security guards during the weekend show, said he hopes this is the first of many community events to be held on their property.

"If it's the right fit, we'll consider it," he said of future proposals for the block. "I've seen the neighborhood change so much, it's been revitalizing...This offers an opportunity to offer a big space without closing off a major thoroughfare."

"Rock Street 2013" will be open for viewing continuously June 1-2 between Bogart Street and Morgan Avenue. The opening reception is June 1, from 3 to 5 p.m., with music by Ken Odetta and his band.

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