Archives for category: Martha Clippinger

Inclement weather took out a few of Martha’s arches, but the ones that held up performed spectacularly! Festival attendees could be seen squatting and manoevering to align these colored cardboard shapes with the Brooklyn Bridge’s negative spaces.



 Mayday by Einat Imber


Martha Clippinger colors the Brooklyn Bridge’s archways.



Martha’s arches in progress!

Martha has made some changes to her installations due to wind & rain. Here’s the updated map:

Once upon a time: lines, colors, repetitive forms and varied textures existed as public installations in the form of rows and rows of intricate and vivid quilts – telling story after story on a clothesline.

And now: Martha Clippinger.

And this weekend! Martha’s work appears in conjunction with “Perimeters” and the Dumbo Arts Festival.

Last night in DUMBO, Martha and I got to work installing her pairs of brightly colored cardboard shapes on street signs and other forms of public property. At each location, viewers can visually align themselves with the works to fill the negative space of the Brooklyn Bridge archway. Pretty rad (and it’s not just my opinion, it’s also the opinion of the 8 year old kid we ran into while installing).  And I couldn’t help but notice when we met that Martha was wearing a lime-green jacket, a purple t-shirt, and turquoise shorts. In her person and her work, Martha –  Brooklyn based multi-media artist and creator of “Dirty Dirty”, a d.i.y. exhibition space in Ditmas Park – has her way of radiating rainbow beams into the universe.  HOW DOES SHE DO IT??? LET’S FIND OUT.

How did you get involved with Anne Percoco and “Perimeters”? 

Anne and I went to grad school at Mason Gross School of Art (Rutgers University) where we began sharing our interest in site-specificity.  Our practices differ from one another, but we’ve participated in each other’s projects through the past few years.  I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to work with her as a curator.  She’s an incredible organizer and wonderfully supportive!

What inspired this installation piece? 

The Brooklyn Bridge, of course! I ride the Q train over the Manhattan Bridge daily and the arches are a constant fascination.  When my studio was in Dumbo this past year, I encountered the shapes at a closer proximity and felt a more intimate connection to the architecture.  My work revolves around color, so I am always thinking of places where hues could exist, whether within a composition or within the real world.

I’ve also become interested in how we perceive and experience scale and depth.  Unless crossing the bridge, it is difficult for us to comprehend the actual size and scale of the arches, which are 117 feet high.  The cardboard shapes that I will hang are only a few inches high and yet because of our distance away from the arches, those few inches multiply to occupy a space that is 1,404 inches tall!  I hope that viewers will be able to align themselves with the shapes and the bridge in order to experience this play.  When the experience is documented, I am curious to see the flattening of that depth so that the color and the architecture appear to exist on the same plane.

One thing I am interested in is the ways in which you play with limits – of found objects as a medium. Yet you have a background & formal training in sculpture – when did you begin collecting and working with found objects?

When I was 8 I began painting colorful patterns on sticks and twigs and then attaching them to leftover chunks of wood from my father’s workshop.  Around that time I was also painting objects, like a telephone I bought at a neighbor’s yard sale.

And limits of placement, etc: 

I don’t know that I see them as “limits of placement” as much as “opportunities for placement”.  Sometimes I make a work with the intention of it living in a right-angled space or a corner.   Its existence in such a space is particular, but because our world is full of right angles and corners, the painting could live in any number of locations.  For this project however, the logistics of hanging combined with the necessary sightlines did create limitations to the placement of the works.

Are there any differences in your approach when exhibiting a work outdoors in a public arena vs. a kind of gallery installation? 

When participating in an official festival, I must consider certain factors, mainly safety, and follow certain rules like not hanging anything from the trees, but I try to see galleries and streets and houses and office buildings and natural landscapes as all providing places where my work can exist.  I’m interested in the potential interactions of my work with different environments.  In white boxes, the work is mostly in conversation with itself, but when I installed “Let water be the other half” on the side of a lake in Alabama, the pink and orange geometry popped against the trees and grass and the lake reflected the sculpture thereby completing the work.  I liked the dependence on nature for that work, which was very intentional.  Most of the time though, I work in the studio without a clear sense of the paintings’ future environments.

Also, your works are often shown in clusters or groups. How does the relationship between your works of develop?

I generally work through a painting without any pre-conceived notion of its position to my other work, but I find that my experiences and visual language inevitably carry through the painting and thereby develop relationships between works.  I’m always surprised and amused by repetitions of forms, colors, and textures, so my clusters provide a viewing ground for that kind of inter-connectedness.  But for a project like this, I created multiple sites so that the pedestrians might become aware of the project through repeated encounters with the shapes.

Can you tell us a little bit about your project that just happened, the Edgemere Peek neek? 

“The Edgemere Peek-neek” was a walking tour/book release/reading that celebrated the multi-media collaboration with poet Urayoán Noel.  Our devotion to the neighborhood of Edgemere, Queens resulted in an accordion book of “e”-constrained text (inspired by Georges Perec) and scenic postcards, as well as a website.  The E’s took over, so at the “peek-neek” we served cheese, pretzels, Beck’s beer, embedded peppers, seltzer, Keebler elves, etc.  We’ve rented web presence! :  We sell: $23 (shipping incl)  — “The Edgemere Letters.”

What motivated the creation of The Dirty Dirty and what happens there? 

I created The Dirty Dirty as a way to bring artists together in a laid-back atmosphere where artistic exchange and social interactions would take priority over the edited, curated exhibition space. Exhibitions are generally open calls, meaning open to whomever choses to participate. Parameters are given that hopefully inspire the artist to create something new or expose something already made that had not been exhibited or shared with the outside world.  Examples include the most recent show, a visual game of “telephone” titled “Off the Hook!” where works were generated in a chain reaction and 2009’s “Pseudonymous” where works were presented under pseudonyms.  I also like to suggest a relationship to the South (aka The Dirty Dirty), so the outdoor sculpture exhibition “The Yard Show” was inspired by vernacular yard art.  And I typically serve somethin’ Southern: pimento cheese sandwiches, boiled P-nuts, sweet tea—you get the idea.


Here’s a map of Martha Clippinger’s installation works:

She’s installing today — We’re crossing our fingers for dry weather!

The Brooklyn Bridge’s iconic arches are a defining visual feature of DUMBO. For this year’s DUMBO Arts Festival, I propose to “fill” these negative spaces with brightly painted two-dimensional pieces of plywood, which will hang in various locations in DUMBO. These shapes, of various sizes, will hang in pairs from tree limbs, street signs, scaffolding, and other locations so that viewers may visually align them with the voids of the Brooklyn Bridge’s archways.

The shapes will maintain a similar design so that their repeated viewing by festival-goers will eventually create an association with the bridge’s arches and the project as a whole.  This installation will create an active viewing experience whereby participants will have to move around each sculpture in order to align the shapes with the voids.  This alignment will depend on the height of the viewer and his or her relationship to the shape and the bridge.  It will also encourage viewer participation through the searching and locating of the various installations, as if on an egg hunt.

In order to keep the shapes from blowing in the wind, they will be tied to nearby anchors, such as fences or trees, or in some cases, the shapes will be weighed down with string attached to large rocks or sandbags placed on the ground.

Each pair of shapes will be made of plywood coated with acrylic or latex paint.  The shapes will be anchored to nearby objects with wire or twine.  There is a chance that some shapes will be painted onto local storefronts’ windows, so that the viewers may experience the bridge from indoors.  This will be contingent on storeowners’ agreement.

The sites for this project will be scattered throughout DUMBO.  Some sites will be in parks, hanging from tree limbs, other sites may be fences on the side of the street.  All sights must be in view of one of the pairs of the Brooklyn Bridge’s archways.

Press-Release PDF

BROOKLYN, NY September 2011 – A.I.R. Gallery, the DUMBO Arts Festival, the Puffin Foundation, and 2010-2011 A.I.R. Fellowship Artist Anne Percoco invite the public to Perimeters, an upcoming event presenting site-specific works by three women artists. The works will be on view during the annual DUMBO Arts Festival: Friday, September 23 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Saturday, September 24, from 12:00 to 8:00 PM, and Sunday, September 25, from 12:00 to 6:00 PM. The event is open to the public, free of charge. For project updates, visit Stop by A.I.R. Gallery to pick up a map of the works.

Martha Clippinger’s project will fill the negative spaces of the Brooklyn Bridge’s iconic arches with color. Pairs of cardboard shapes will hang from street signs, scaffolding, and other locations throughout DUMBO. Viewers will be asked to align their bodies with the hued shapes and the bridge in order to “color-in” the voids of the Brooklyn Bridge’s arches. The material reminds us of DUMBO’s earlier nickname, Gairville, after Robert Gair, the man credited with the invention of corrugated cardboard.

Einat Imber’s Mayday is a site-specific flag-cart, rolling on the abandoned train tracks in DUMBO. When at rest, the flag pole will be weighed down, laying on the ground, and the structure will resemble a canon. People passing by will have a chance to roll the sculpture on the tracks, temporarily raising the flag.

Lily Mooney’s Wandering Directions is a self-guided audio tour that leads listeners through an intimate and tactile experience of DUMBO. Narrated by a self-proclaimed “expert” on the area, the tour weaves together storytelling, instruction, and observation, drawing tour-takers’ attention to large city-scapes and smaller, often overlooked details. Wander Directions plays upon different experiences of isolation and immersion, direction and displacement often felt when moving through the city, heightening listeners’ awareness of their surroundings as the guide illuminates local culture and history.

Anne Percoco has exhibited and presented public projects both nationally and internationally, and will have a solo show in Brooklyn’s NURTUREart Gallery in 2012. She lives and works in Jersey City. Martha Clippinger’s concept opf painting as “color in space” leads her to create colorful abstraction that often respond to surrounding architecture. She is the founder and director of The Dirty Dirty, an alternative art space in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, and in 2010 received a studio space in DUMBO through The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation’s The Space Program. She is represented by Elizabeth Harris Gallery. Einat Imber, born in Israel, received her BFA from the Cooper Union and now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She is a 2011 -12 A.I.R. Gallery Fellow, and her solo show Continental Drift will be on view at the gallery in 2012. Lily Mooney is a writer and performer whose work has been produced in Boston, Seattle, Chicago and New York. Working both traditionally and experimentally, with found and original material, she uses language and storytelling media to re-imagine familiar notions of identity and community.

A.I.R. Gallery is located at 111 Front Street, #228 in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. For directions, please visit For more information, please contact Gallery Director, Julie Lohnes at 212-255-6651 or

The A.I.R. Fellowship Program is made possible by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, a state-agency, JP Morgan Chase through a re-grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council, as well as generous support from Louise McCragg, The Bernheim Foundation, The Gifford Foundation, Elizabeth A. Sackler, Golden Artists Colors, The Milton and Sally Avery Foundation, and The Estate of Theo Westenberger.