Proteus Gowanus

Proteus Gowanus An interdisciplinary gallery and reading room exhibiting art, artifacts & books. This year's theme: PARADISE. Projects-in-Residence include: Hall of the Gowanus; Fixers Collective; Proteotypes; the Writhing Society; Reanimation Library and Observatory.

Proteus Gowanus is an interdisciplinary gallery and reading room housed in a former 1900 box factory along the Gowanus Canal. Exhibits of art, artifacts and books organized around a yearlong theme are exhibited in The Proteus Room, our central gallery space. In adjacent spaces, eight additional projects-in-residence have grown out of our thematic exhibitions and partnerships. These projects share with Proteus a love of books, a wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, and a desire to engage the community in their multifarious investigations. Like Proteus, the Greek sea god who could change form, Proteus Gowanus is an ever-changing organism. It is located at the edge of the Gowanus Canal, a similarly evolving post-industrial waterfront area with a thriving artistic community and a history dating to the Revolutionary War and before.

Proteus Gowanus's cover photo
12/20/2017

Proteus Gowanus's cover photo

Last call to sign onto the new mailing list for Proteus Cumulus, a cloud-based follow up project to the now closed Prote...
10/12/2016
An Invitation to Join Our Proteus Cumulus List

Last call to sign onto the new mailing list for Proteus Cumulus, a cloud-based follow up project to the now closed Proteus Gowanus. Join us!

Proteus Cumulus is a platform for new projects developed by the core collaborators of the now-closed Proteus Gowanus. Proteus Cumulus shares news of collaborative projects and ideas that grow from the former Proteus Gowanus mission and community and will eventually launch its own projects.

Please join the new mailing list for Proteus Cumulus, our new platform to share news of collaborative projects and ideas...
09/29/2016
Join New List to Follow Proteus Cumulus

Please join the new mailing list for Proteus Cumulus, our new platform to share news of collaborative projects and ideas that resonate or grow from the Proteus mission and community.
This cloud will be protean and intermittent. The new Proteus Cumulus server will only send emails to those of you who sign up here.

We hope you will stay in touch!

Proteus Cumulus is excited to pass on the good news of the opening of Eben Kirksey et al's NYC exhibition of Emergent Ec...
04/26/2016
Emergent Ecologies Opening Soon

Proteus Cumulus is excited to pass on the good news of the opening of Eben Kirksey et al's NYC exhibition of Emergent Ecologies.

If Proteus Gowanus were still around, this exhibition would have happened there! Instead, it's happening at the recently opened artists' DIY space, Kilroy Metal Ceiling. Eben Kirksey, lead curator on this project, has been a frequent Proteus Gowanus collaborator and we are thrilled to see his work on emergent ecologies both in print and in exhibitions and happenings.

Though Proteus Gowanus has closed its doors, we are thrilled to announce that two wonderful organizations have moved int...
10/28/2015
Post-Proteus News from the Cloud

Though Proteus Gowanus has closed its doors, we are thrilled to announce that two wonderful organizations have moved into the former Proteus space. Please venture down the alleyway once more to enjoy their programs. We also want to share the latest news about our former Projects-in-Residence, several of which have found new homes where they will continue to welcome visitors and participants.

We are also introducing Proteus Cumulus, a forum for information and collaboration residing in the Cloud. Proteus Cumulus will send out periodic missives like this one describing projects and activities that have grown from the Proteus enterprise, including readings, exhibitions, performances, discussion groups, walks, outings, things that we think will interest you.

Come by and browse. You might find an art book, a ceramic tea strainer, a pocket cloud, electronics, a book on dams or s...
07/26/2015
TODAY Bargain Sale of Everything at Proteus!

Come by and browse. You might find an art book, a ceramic tea strainer, a pocket cloud, electronics, a book on dams or ships or travel or war. Various things, all marked way down!

Not to be missed.

Come help us clean out our shelves and storage. We’re selling everything CHEAP. Buy a remnant to remember us by: great b...
07/22/2015
Proteus Clean Out Bargain Sale

Come help us clean out our shelves and storage. We’re selling everything CHEAP. Buy a remnant to remember us by: great books, curious art, protean knick-knacks, postcards, accumulations of the years. Also: furniture, electronic equipment, lighting, tools and god knows what.

Come poke around. Bring lots of cash!

Proteus Gowanus is holding a farewell party with music, wine and a chance to buy something Protean before the doors clos...
07/09/2015
Farewell Party for Proteus

Proteus Gowanus is holding a farewell party with music, wine and a chance to buy something Protean before the doors close forever. Join us!

Proteus Gowanus is holding a farewell party with music, wine and a chance to buy something Protean before the doors close forever. Join us!

You may have heard that Proteus Gowanus closed its doors last week after ten years of creative exploration on our belove...
07/02/2015
Farewell Party for Proteus

You may have heard that Proteus Gowanus closed its doors last week after ten years of creative exploration on our beloved Gowanus Canal. Now we must party! Join us for a farewell party and a joyful coming together of our creative community of friends and collaborators.

Have a glass of wine, share a memory or two and listen to music by Lila Ramani, Jesse Brotter and Brian Aronow.

From the beginning, Proteus Gowanus has been an inclusive place of creative collaboration. For us, and we hope for you too, it has been a joyful experience. Come celebrate with us ten years of fun!

The final event of our COMMERCE year - and of Proteus Gowanus as we know it - is a presentation by an artist who decided...
06/24/2015
Slow Fashion from Underwear 2 Hats: Sewing It All

The final event of our COMMERCE year - and of Proteus Gowanus as we know it - is a presentation by an artist who decided to take her economic life into her own hands, by sewing everything she wears. Join us to learn how she does it. And while you're here, visit our final exhibition, Gowanus Marketplace, featuring the work of other makers on the banks of the Gowanus Canal.

Some people take do-it-yourself seriously by crafting their own birdhouses, knitting hats or even brewing beer. Brooklyn artist and women's wear designer Sarah Kate Beaumont has achieved an entirely different level of self-sufficiency in a significant aspect of her life. She makes her clothes stitch by stitch in her studio.

The time has come, the walrus said....
06/10/2015
An Ever-Changing Brooklyn Gallery Says Goodbye to Gowanus

The time has come, the walrus said....

The gallery will close on June 28 after 10 years of holding traditional and otherworldly art, whether that meant an anatomical art library or a museum dedicated to the Gowanus Canal Superfund site.

Dear Friends!It is with a sense of celebration and sadness that we announce that Proteus Gowanus will close its doors on...
06/07/2015
Proteus Gowanus Closing After 10 Years

Dear Friends!
It is with a sense of celebration and sadness that we announce that Proteus Gowanus will close its doors on June 28th, 2015 after ten years of creative exploration on our beloved Gowanus Canal.
As our namesake and muse, Proteus the Greek sea god, would say, “It’s time for a change!”

Come visit us in the coming weeks for a last good look and conversation. Our current and final exhibition, Gowanus Marketplace, as well as our Projects-in-Residence, will be open through June 28th. We would love to see you!

In this workshop you will explore the discoveries of the early explorers and learn about resinous frankincense, rich van...
05/15/2015
Spice Trade Blending Workshop

In this workshop you will explore the discoveries of the early explorers and learn about resinous frankincense, rich vanilla bean, piquant saffron and voluptuous sandalwood. You’ll gain a basic understanding of the sense of smell, the history of perfume and learn how to blend these precious oils into your own bespoke perfume. Each participant will leave with two bottles of perfume.

We have three spots left so sign up now if you are interested.

This Thursday at Proteus, we watch The Gleaners and I, a documentary by Director Agnès Varda. The film deals with the is...
05/11/2015
Marketplace, Film and the Spice Trade!

This Thursday at Proteus, we watch The Gleaners and I, a documentary by Director Agnès Varda. The film deals with the issue of wealth and poverty in modern day France by exploring the world of people who search farmers’ fields for produce the mechanical harvesting equipment leaves behind. Varda recently became the first woman and only the fourth director to be awarded ad honorary Palme d’Or in Cannes.

On Sunday, a limited space workshop for mixing the scents of the Spice Road into your own personal perfume!

The final exhibition of our yearlong COMMERCE theme, Gowanus Marketplace circles back to our beloved Gowanus Canal,  hig...
05/09/2015
Gowanus Marketplace - Saturday, May 9, 6 - 9 pm

The final exhibition of our yearlong COMMERCE theme, Gowanus Marketplace circles back to our beloved Gowanus Canal, highlighting the uniquely creative, collaborative commerce that has sprung up along the canal’s murky waters.

We invite you to come SHOP to support these local artists and artisans. The marketplace includes ceramics, retrofitted sleds and lamps, soap, knives, furniture, hats, robots, pickles, terrariums, coffee and more!

Come SHOP at our Gowanus Marketplace, a celebration of artistry and industry along the Gowanus Canal. Your purchases wil...
05/05/2015
Gowanus Marketplace - Opening Reception Saturday

Come SHOP at our Gowanus Marketplace, a celebration of artistry and industry along the Gowanus Canal. Your purchases will support local artisans and artists!

retrofitted sleds and lamps, ceramics, coffee, robots, hats, knives, cutting boards and more!

Only a few days left to see Trade Routes, the next to last exhibition of our COMMERCE year. Next show, Gowanus Marketpla...
04/25/2015
Proteus Gowanus Events This Weekend and in May

Only a few days left to see Trade Routes, the next to last exhibition of our COMMERCE year. Next show, Gowanus Marketplace, opens May 9. Come on over to the shores of the Gowanus and say hello!

If you have an interest in doing business on wheels, come Sunday and chat with Lauren Cannon, founder of the Institute for Mobile Vending. And stay tuned for upcoming events on farm food scavengers and Spice Road Perfume-making. So much to do!

Tomorrow: The Institute for Mobile Vending, a temporary Project-In-Residence in our Trade Routes show, has invited food ...
04/11/2015
Proteus Gowanus Events Tomorrow and Beyond

Tomorrow: The Institute for Mobile Vending, a temporary Project-In-Residence in our Trade Routes show, has invited food vending entrepreneur, Wafels and Dinges manager, and Street Vendor Project volunteer coordinator Jared Domingos to provide one-on-one counseling on how to run a mobile food operation. Also coming, 2 workshops: one collage making, the other perfume-making with Spice Trade herbs, oils & resins.

Saturday and Sunday, April 18 & 19, 9am - 5pm: Gowanus Canal Collage Workshop - Artist Elizabeth O'Reilly will lead this workshop. And Sat, May 16, 1 - 4pm: Spice Trade Perfumes Workshop - Aromatherapist and Herbal Alchemy Apothecary founder, Julianne Zaleta, will lead this hands-on blending workshop exploring the fragrant spices, resins and balsams discovered by the early Spice Trade explorers of antiquity.

04/01/2015
Mobile Vending in the Underground Economy

Hope you all can come and learn about new kinds of COMMERCE, the kind on wheels!

In concert with Trade Routes, the third exhibition of our COMMERCE year, The Institute for Mobile Research will host a panel discussion with three prolific proponents of game change in the the mobile industry. Join us as panelists discuss their research and activism in mobile industries ranging fro…

The Institute for Mobile Research will host a panel discussion with three prolific proponents of game change in the the ...
03/31/2015
Mobile Vending in the Underground Economy

The Institute for Mobile Research will host a panel discussion with three prolific proponents of game change in the the mobile industry. Join us as panelists discuss their research and activism in mobile industries ranging from art to commerce to food.

The Institute for Mobile Research hosts three speakers who are making change in the non-food sector of the mobile industry. Esther Robinson from ArtHome; Justin Levinson of Makeshift magazine and Sean Basinski, founder of Urban Justice League’s Street Vendor Project. Join us for a lively discussion of the challenges of mobile entreneurship.

s part of our continuing yearlong exploration of COMMERCE and part of  our Trade Routes exhibition, join us for a presen...
03/27/2015
Tonight! Want to Do Business on Wheels? Join us!

s part of our continuing yearlong exploration of COMMERCE and part of our Trade Routes exhibition, join us for a presentation and discussion of mobile commerce. The founder of The Institute of Mobile Research, Lauren Cannon, will moderate a discussion with two innovators in the field. Wine and conversation will be available for all.

MIT Media Lab Fellow and artist Kim Holleman will discuss her “Trailer Park” project and other artistic initiatives conducted within a mobile art space. Caroline Destefano, owner of the mobile hair salon, Studio in Motion, will talk about the entrepreneurial and creative journey that led her to operate her hair salon on wheels.

As part of a two-month residency during our Trade Routes exhibition, Lauren Cannon of the Institute for Mobile Vending w...
03/26/2015
Coming Up Next at Proteus Gowanus

As part of a two-month residency during our Trade Routes exhibition, Lauren Cannon of the Institute for Mobile Vending will host three events in the coming weeks examining mobile vending, mobile art-making, and the role of mobile entrepreneurship in the underground economy. Join us and bring your questions on how to start a worklife on wheels. Also coming soon, a new opening at bkbx!

Tomorrow, Lauren Cannon will moderate a discussion with 2 innovators in the mobile art & commerce realms. MIT Media Lab Fellow and artist Kim Holleman will discuss her "Trailer Park" and other artistic initiatives in a mobile art space. Caroline Destefano, owner of the mobile hair salon Studio in Motion, will talk about the entrepreneurial and creative journey that led her to operate her hair salon on wheels.

03/20/2015

Show is still on tonight at 7 despite the lame last snow of winter. Wine will be on hand to warm you up!

A hybrid event combining photography, video, voice, and word, Trace explores the legacy of writer and activist Tom Dent ...
03/18/2015
This Friday: Trace, A Southern Journey

A hybrid event combining photography, video, voice, and word, Trace explores the legacy of writer and activist Tom Dent and his book, Southern Journey: Return to the Civil Rights Movement. Presented as part of the Trade Routes exhibition at Proteus Gowanus, Trace follows Dent through the networks connecting post-colonial Africa and the Caribbean with New York, the Southern Civil Rights movement and beyond.

Tom Dent worked in connection to a larger cultural and economic diaspora, examining the contemporary effects of colonialism while working with and helping to organize black writers and artists. Writer Eben Wood and Lady Perez will show their film and be joined in conversation by Dr. Rashidah Ismaili, friend and colleague of Dent and author, most recently, of Autobiography of the Lower East Side.

Social anthropologist Kristina Baines questions our understandings of poverty and wealth, the linear perception of “deve...
03/14/2015
Sunday: The Past Is the Future or What Is Wealth?

Social anthropologist Kristina Baines questions our understandings of poverty and wealth, the linear perception of “development” and how we put alternatives to capital into “communal” or “fringe” boxes. What is wealth? Can there be a definition that moves beyond the superficiality of cash accumulation? What lessons can traditional systems teach us about commerce in our communities?

Kristina Baines is a social anthropologist on a mission to uncover ecological connections to health and happiness. She works with Maya communities in the Toledo District, Belize and in the US, and has collaboratively developed environmental and cultural heritage educational materials based on local research.

In conjunction with ourTrade Routes exhibition and our yearlong exploration of COMMERCE, we are pleased to screen this d...
03/11/2015
This Thursday, An Adoption Tale from Korea

In conjunction with ourTrade Routes exhibition and our yearlong exploration of COMMERCE, we are pleased to screen this documentary film exploring a troubling side of the international adoption trade.

It tells the story of a young girl whose passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. But she knew she was not. Told to keep her true identity a secret from her new American family, this young girl quickly forgot she was ever anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the search for answers, this documentary explores the dark side of the international adoption trade.

Please join us for a thought-provoking and engaging series of activities and events this month as part of the Trade Rout...
03/04/2015
March Events at Proteus Gowanus

Please join us for a thought-provoking and engaging series of activities and events this month as part of the Trade Routes segment of our Commerce year. There will be openings, book launches, film, brainstormings, lectures and more. Check out our events page too.

A film on adoption, a talk on being Mayan in a capitalist system, a discussion of mobile vending and more. All part of our Trade Routes segment of the Commerce theme year. Read up on what's coming and join us!

Please join us for wine and conversation at the opening reception for Trade Routes, the third exhibition of our COMMERCE...
02/25/2015
Trade Routes: Opening Reception This Saturday

Please join us for wine and conversation at the opening reception for Trade Routes, the third exhibition of our COMMERCE year. Trade Routes focuses on the infrastructures and pathways of commerce, from the winds and tides that were the first determinants of inter-cultural trade to the technological breakthroughs that fuel global trade today.

The show's various works, along with accompanying public programming including lectures and film screenings, will highlight not only the movement and mapping of trade routes, but also the resulting changes in styles, uses and meanings of commodities and their materials as they criss-cross the globe.

Join in a gathering of projects promoting alternative paths and currencies for our current economic system. Fran Ilich’s...
02/20/2015
Coming Up at Proteus Gowanus

Join in a gathering of projects promoting alternative paths and currencies for our current economic system. Fran Ilich’s Diego de la Vega Coffee Co-op will offer coffee sourced locally in Mexico from Zapatista autonomous farms. You can buy currencies from Brooklyn Torch and Digital Material Sunflowerr and get your portrait drawn as part of the Workers Utopia project. And see our posting for more Proteus news.

And see our posting for more upcoming news: A book party, the Trade Routes opening, the Useful Objects show and a rescheduled talk on alternative economy among ccontemporary Maya - all part of our Labor series.

Tonight's event is cancelled due to frigid temperatures
02/15/2015
Tonight's Event Cancelled

Tonight's event is cancelled due to frigid temperatures

This evening's presentation, The Past Is the Future, is cancelled due to anticipated sub-zero wind chill.

Join us this Thursday evening for real stories by real people about the Labors of Love AND for a weekend of events explo...
02/11/2015
This Weekend at Proteus Gowanus

Join us this Thursday evening for real stories by real people about the Labors of Love AND for a weekend of events exploring alternative economies and ways to get by. All in conjunction with the Labor exhibit, which closes in less than two weeks. Join us!

Storytelling about love on Thursday, an exploration of Labors of Love and a talk that questions the definition of wealth: The Past Is the Future: Economic Alternatives from Contemporary Maya. Join us for these events and more this weekend.

Join us during the last weeks of the Labor exhibition (2nd show of our yearlong exploration of Commerce) for the followi...
02/07/2015
February News at Proteus Gowanus

Join us during the last weeks of the Labor exhibition (2nd show of our yearlong exploration of Commerce) for the following series of fascinating events: receptions, workshops, lectures, stories and more!

Useful Objects, the Work Intern, Labors of Love, Past Is Future, Exercises in Criticism, Zapatista Coffee and the next exhibition opening of the Commerce year: Trade Routes! Come to it all!

Useful Objects, an exhibition of art, objects and artifacts, pays homage to the enduring simplicity of the small, useful...
01/29/2015
Useful Objects - Opening Reception and a Call

Useful Objects, an exhibition of art, objects and artifacts, pays homage to the enduring simplicity of the small, useful object, while it shines a light on an often forgotten moment in history when art and commerce briefly joined forces toward a seemingly utopian goal.

In the late 1930s, during the Great Depression, the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Industrial Design initiated a series of traveling exhibitions called Useful Objects Under Ten Dollars and Useful Objects Under Five Dollars. The exhibitions were designed to introduce the American public to objects that were a perfect blend of affordability, utility and modernist design.

Address

543 Union St
Brooklyn, NY
11215

M or R train to Union Street, walk down Union to Nevins St, take right to alley, follow to 2nd door on left. F train to Carroll Street, walk one block to Union St, turn right, walk two long blocks on Union towards the Gowanus Canal, cross over the canal, take left on Nevins and left into alley, follow to 2nd door on left.

General information

The Proteus Gowanus galleries are open during the week for Study Hall, a writers space available to writers, readers, programmers and others in need of a quiet space, a desk and community of focused workers. Our space is also available to rent for special events.

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