The Pop-Up Museum of the Gowanus Canal

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The Pop-Up Museum of the Gowanus Canal was our second group show at Observatory. The Pop-Up Museum was Curated by the Hollow Earth Society and Radio Transmission Ark and could be seen from March 3 to April 22, 2012.

Whales by Emi Brady and Nikki Romanello.


A museum’s mission involves the categorization, preservation, and contextualization of objects within a finite space. The Pop-Up Museum is designed to function as the inverse of these practices, bringing together a set of local, “unremarkable” objects that then become art or serve as a springboard for art that references them.

Through the playful contextualization and re-contextualization of these objects, we will redefine the museum—both what a museum looks like, physically, and what it does, culturally.

Specifically, we will work with found materials from all around the Gowanus neighborhood to create a new “history” of the region and its traditions (a not entirely serious one).

As a collective, we will plow through a century of objects in order to remix in miniature the Gowanus, Observatory, and the whole enterprise of the museum—the whole enterprise of producing, categorizing, and showing off knowledge. Quick, fast, and dirty, the Pop-Up Museum presents the unpresentable: change itself.

The “art on the walls” for this show will thus consist of:

  1. input – gathering of information, data, narratives, knowledges, magics, magnetisms, and (overlooked) curiosities from the physical space around Observatory
  2. process – generation of media, drawings, recordings, photos, video, writing, and data analyses
  3. output – a series of mixed-media art-objects, a book, a series of records, miniDV tapes, presentations, workshops, sound walks, magical fieldtrips, historical jaunts

All of these, not one of these, will become the art of the Pop-Up Museum…


  • Ethan Gould
  • Wythe Marschall
  • Rob Peterson
  • Lindsey Reynolds


  • Stephen Aubrey
  • Grace Baxter
  • Emi Brady
  • Ted Enik
  • Ben Garthus
  • Nandini Nessa
  • Megan Murtha
  • Rob Parker
  • Kathryn Pierce
  • Oberon Redman
  • Nikki Romanello
  • Mike Rugnetta
  • Tim Schwartz
  • Jon Waldo


We began our second show by holding a Pop-Up Museum General Assembly at Observatory at noon on Saturday, February 11, 2012. We talked, sketched, and jotted down ideas. After the General Assembly, we worked until March 1st (18 days) to create and position a show of Gowanus-made or -inspired art within Observatory. We asked artists to remember: quick, fast, dirty, collaborative.

Hanging map painting by Grace Baxter.


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