The Largest Crop

Year: 2017

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Ceramic and cotton ropes. Size varies from 9” (23cm) to 22” (56cm) diameter.     

A group of ceramic sculptures which reflect the viewer’s movements. I was inspired by a Civil-war era warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY which used to store cotton – “the largest crop in New York City” as it was called – this work focuses on the people as the vital ingredients for the community today.                        

During the installation the thirteen unique ceramic sculptures were tied to a rope with a nautical knot and then individually hung from the ceiling a few inches off the floor. It was installed at BWAC, Brooklyn, NY, in September/October 2017. 

You and I are the ingredients for our environment. The landscape changes as we move. This idea inspires me.

In August I took the G train to the elevated Smith-Ninth Streets stop to see the installation site.  This pre-Civil War building used to store cotton, Fritz, Co-President of BWAC tells me as he opens the heavy gate. By this gate a line is marked over a patina on the wooden column, far above my head, with a sign that says "Sandy Came To Here."

In the 19th century cotton was referred to as "New York's largest crop" when Red Hook, the last stop on the Hudson, housed the largest storage warehouses for cotton. Ships from the northern states would unload hide and grain when they arrived and load with cotton from the southern states to be taken to mills up the Hudson.

Coming from my studio on Grand Street in industrial Williamsburg, Red Hook makes me feel I came far. It is quiet and open and smells like the sea. It still has the feel of its own town that has faded in many neighborhoods in New York.  I want to think that today, the largest crop, the element that builds community is us, the people.  I want to see reflections of you next to mine, as we move in the same space at the same moment.