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Gregory (2014), photo courtesy of Orly Genger

Orly Genger and the Fourth Annual Brooklyn Artists Ball

Tonight is the fourth annual “Brooklyn Artists Ball” at the Brooklyn Museum honoring Jane and David Walentas, Jenny Holzer, Ai Weiwei, and Kehinde Wiley. The museum’s Board President Stephanie Ingrassia and husband Tim, and the Board Treasurer David Berliner and wife Betsy Jacobs are chairs for the gala.

A highlight of tonight’s event (consisting of a cocktail, dinner, and afterparty) is where guests will dine. Sixteen artists – Ellen Altfest, Oliver Clegg, Ghost of a Dream, Rico Gatson, Orly Genger, Alejandro Guzman, Nina Katchadourian, Olek, Adam Parker Smith, Iona Rozeal Brown, Carrie Schneider, Alyson Shotz, Courtney Smith, Nick Van Woert, Marianne Vitale, and Heeseop Yoon – were asked to design special installations of 40 foot-long tables.

Gregory (2014), photo courtesy of Orly Genger

Last week, we visited Orly Genger’s studio where she was preparing, among other projects, what she’ll be doing for her table. She showed us a few sculptures lined up against the wall of her studio, each a couple feet high and made from recylcled lobster trap rope. “These are bachelors, named after all these known bachelors, and they are going to be on pedestals,” Genger said, looking at the works. She sees the table as a runway for her “bachelors,” “and it’s them strutting their stuff on the runway.” Each sculpture will be spot lit from above.

Genger is well-known for her large-scale installations (like “Red, Yellow, and Blue” at Madison Square Park last summer) of pounds and pounds and feet of feet of brightly painted, woven nautical rope. She creates undulating structures, often quite tall, that snake around outdoor and indoor spaces, prompting the viewer to think of their relationship with sculpture, architecture, hard, and soft materials.

Finley (2014), photo courtesy of Orly Genger

Given the popularity of past installations like the one at Madison Square Park, Genger decided to present something on a smaller scale at the Brooklyn Museum. “I used it as an opportunity to make sculptures that I would want to make anyway,” said the artist. “Sometimes you have to do something a little different and in that sense [the Brooklyn Artists Ball] is great because it gives artists an opportunity to do something different without the pressure of it being a show.”

Genger also currently has a show on view at SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, GA, entitled “Undertone.” It’s the first time three aspects of her work – drawing, installation, and sculpture ­– are on view together in one exhibition. Genger’s drawings depict entangled muscular limbs that call to mind her woven rope work. “The drawings depict a kind of physical struggle,” she said. “When I work on the drawings it feels very similar to how I work on the sculptures in the sense that its working on something small that starts out manageable and then becomes larger than myself.”

Desmond (2014), photo courtesy of Orly Genger

“One of the things about working with rope, is that it’s malleable, it’s something I can shape with my hands, but ultimately it could become a solid block,” she said. “I always think to myself that my work would be the child of a ballerina and a boxer. There is the combination of the delicateness and a more bold, aggressive, powerful nature.”

We are looking forward to seeing Genger’s table this evening, along with the rest of the site-specific works. A print by Genger, along with pieces by the other fifteen installation artists, is part of an online benefit auction on Artsy. Bidding is open now through April 16.

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