One of the most eye-grabbing things we saw at Select art fair — aside from Michael Alig’s prison paintings and Junglepussy’s rooftop set, of course — was this rendering of Williamsburg by Amsterdam-based artist Jan Rothuizen. It was part of “Mapping Brooklyn,”. an exhibit of old maps and the map-driven work of contemporary artists that appeared at BRIC House and the Brooklyn Historical Society. While part of the exhibit remains on view at the Historical Society, this creation and others are on display at Select through the weekend.
Click on the map to read the artist’s text and see how the Williamsburg of twenty years ago, when he lived there, compares to the Williamsburg he encountered during a recent visit. For one thing, he writes, there used to be “a Thai restaurant and only one ATM machine,” whereas today ATMs are “an infectious disease.” Rothuizen has documented a neighborhood that’s still a mix of “rock chicks with short black spiked boots,” “tattoed moms pushing strollers,” and that “blonde tall woman with yoga mat and water bottle.” And, of course, European tourists and bearded guys. But he predicts: “In another twenty years this will look like Times Square in a bohemian kind of way!”
“What are people looking for here?” he wonders. “Authenticity? to walk into Lena Dunham?”
Unlike New Yorkers, Europeans generally don’t walk around with Big Bulps of cappuccino in one hand and their iPhones in the other. So we’re not surprised to see this next observation: “I watched the people passing and noticed everybody was holding something. In order of appearance: telephone, water bottle, coffee, camera, ice cappucino (in transparant cup), partner, skateboard.”
It’s enough to make you want to move. Jan, know of any cheap houseboats over there in Amsterdam?