In 2004, Creative Time and artist Steve Powers initiated their shared vision to revitalize the rich visual culture of Coney Island via the contemporary reinvention of the tradition of colorful hand-painted signs and advertisements dating back more than a century in Coney Island. The next generation of this artistic and cultural endeavor, The Dreamland Artist Club 2005, revives and expands the project with a new group of established and emerging, gallery and street artists from New York, the U.S., and across the globe.
Members of the Dreamland Artist Club 2005 - Tauba Auerbach, Beatriz Barral, Crash, Ronnie Cutrone, Os Gemeos, Justin Green, Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Mimi Gross, Vandana Jain, Greg Lamarche, Paul Lindahl, Clive Murphy, Gary Panter, Kamau Patton, Bruno Peinado, Steve Powers, and Swoon - painted signs, concession stands, storefronts, and murals throughout Coney Island. A 130-foot long mural by Os Gemeos, the identical twin street painting team from Brazil, welcomes visitors as they exit the subway to begin their Coney Island adventure.
New additions this year to further infuses the Coney experience with contemporary art include Artist Designed Prizes at participating arcade game booths, and the launch of The Dreamland Artist Clubhouse where visitors can see the artists work in the studio, buy a hand made sign from the gallery, pick-up a map or receive a personal tour of the Dreamland artworks
"In broadening the scope of the original public art project, a spectrum of artistic practices, media and styles — murals, graffiti art and spray painting, oil painting and traditional marquee painting — come together to reinvigorate the iconography and advertising of Coney Island," states curator Alexa Coyne. "Inspired by the unique cultural character of Coney, the artworks explore the place of art in context of promoting business in the eclectic amusement destination."
With real estate development threatening to change the landscape and character of Coney, as we know it, The Dreamland Artist Club has contributed to a renewed sense of pride and appreciation for the intervention of art and the unique aesthetic of this legendary neighborhood.
Sign iconography and outdoor painting have always been an integral component of Steve Powers’ artwork and, as a longtime admirer of hand-painted signage, the artist looked to Coney Island as one of the fading vestiges honoring the tradition. During visits to the neighborhood over the past several years, however, he discovered that a number of painted surfaces in Coney Island were significantly weathered, and furthermore, that many businesses in Coney Island’s amusement area didn’t have any signage at all. Inspired by a project conceived by Laurie Lazer of The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, in which artist Margaret Kilgallen created new signage for businesses in the neglected Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, Powers approached Creative Time. Together they invited a range of emerging and established, street and gallery artists to participate in a public art project that would enhance the visual character of this extraordinary and storied New York neighborhood. Named for one of the famous amusements of Coney Island’s heyday, The Dreamland Artist Club was born.
This year’s project, curated by Steve Powers with Alexa Coyne at Creative Time, follows the tremendous success of The Dreamland Artist Club 2004, in which Creative Time collaborated with Powers to commission twenty-five artists to paint signs, murals, fortune-telling booths, and rides in Coney Island. Works remain on view by Jules de Balincourt, Craig Costello, Adam Cvijanovic, Dearraindrop, Christa Donner, Nicole Eisenman, Gents of Desire, Toland Grinnell, Ellen Harvey, David Humphrey, Greg Lamarche, Andrew Lenaghan, Ashley Macomber, Ryan McGinness, Bill McMullen, Steve Powers, Dana Schutz, and Matt Wright.