Waterfront sites in Queens have seen dramatic changes in the past few decades as have several waterfront areas across the city. What were once home to thriving ecosystems with forests, streams, and rivers gradually gave way to factories, power plants, landfills, and most recently large-scale residential development. But in some cases nature fought back. In the midst of all this development several unplanned green spaces have developed on the Queens waterfront, and three of these sites are the subject of a new exhibit, Chance Ecologies: Queens, that’s now up at the Queens Museum and will continue until October 30th.
The exhibit features the works of over a dozen artists who were inspired by Hunter's Point South, Flushing River, and Newtown Creek. The works include sculptures, drawings, photographs, and video installations many of which came about through interactions amongst archeologists, urbanists, filmmakers, and architects among others.
These artists’s work in particular focuses on the diversity in wildlife that has emerged in these unmanaged green spaces compared to the city’s parks, and how it has fostered an environment for a variety of birds, insects, flowers, and trees. They want other artists and community members to not just engage with the exhibit but experiences these green spaces themselves. The ultimate goal is to continue researching life in these sites, and examine how they are impacted by development and climate change.
Curated by Catherine Grau and photographer Nathan Kensinger, whose work has been featured extensively on Curbed, part of this exhibit also includes a participatory art project and some performances that will take place on October 16 along the Flushing River, followed by a symposium comprised of writers, academics, and community groups that will be held at the Museum on October 23.