Art in General

Edification value  
Entertainment value  3/5
Should you go?  2/5
Time spent 10 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned A giant inflatable chupacabra

UPDATE: APRIL 2021: Art in General has permanently closed due to the pandemic. It is the only NYC museum that cited COVID as the specific reason it is closing down. 

Art in General, Front DoorI’m not sure Art in General belongs on a list of museums.  It’s really an art gallery (in the sense of a place to buy art), albeit a nonprofit one. I’ve been giving nonprofits a pass so far, so there I went.

Art in General Coyotaje Exhibit
Art in General Darkness

I didn’t get a great sense of Art in General’s space or capabilities during my visit. The current exhibition, Coyotaje, by Postcommodity, is mainly about sound and darkness.  A single photograph of bones and dogs hangs at the end of a dark, cloth-draped hallway.  On the way there, speakers play whispery or urgent Spanish voices ostensibly of people trying to get across the US-Mexico border. But they might also be US border agents seeking to steer those people onto the wrong track.

Art in General, Coyotaje Exhibition
Chupacabra (?) With Video Projection

The chupacabra or monster/dinosaur/whatever it is represents another anti-migrant tactic.  It reflects or invokes the decoys that the border patrol puts out in the desert to scare or confuse would-be migrants. 

I don’t think this installation succeeded.  It was meant to evoke anxiety, but to me it was just a sort of weak carnival haunted house.  Both the Alien Nations show at Lehman College and the really moving Parson’s show demonstrated how eloquently and effectively art can address the trials faced by migrants.  Coyotaje didn’t do that for me.  It required a detailed explanation and a translated transcription to make sense of it. I don’t mind hermetic and inaccessible art now and then, but this overdid it.

Still, a giant inflatable chupacabra is not something you see every day. At least, I hope you don’t.  And even a lame haunted house is still sort of fun.

If you’re doing a DUMBO art excursion, Art in General should be on your list, along with A.I.R. Gallery — both are in the same large, formerly-industrial building.  But I’m only lukewarm on whether I’d recommend a DUMBO art excursion in the first place.

For Reference:

Address 145 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn
Cost Free

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