Working with the World: Creative Studios of Industry City

A creative practice needs space to create, to grow, and to thrive. It demands a world made better by art and industry and seeks out a place where a community nurtures and supports the realization of a vision. A place where rhizomatic growth and symbiosis form the basis of not only a flourishing present, but also a promising future.

In the late 1890s, Irving T. Bush founded Bush Terminal, the largest multi-tenant industrial complex in the US. Envisioned as an integrated facility for manufacture, warehousing, and intermodal shipping, the Terminal transformed the then-city of Brooklyn and established a nascent large-scale industrial district built on a promise of greater efficiency through diversified model of place, as explained in his 1928 autobiography, after which this exhibition is titled.

In 2013, Industry City was founded as a twenty-first-century reconstruction of the Bush Terminal project’s plan. Within these reinforced concrete walls, hundreds of creative studios exchange, learn, collaborate and grow, building a community around them. Their work represents a reassertion and a retranslation of nineteenth-century values, conceived on the rise of the industrial age. Guided by creative drive and entrepreneurial savvy, the studio tenants of Industry City mobilize concept, skill, and practice in order to connect and sustain their ideas for making a better world in which to live.

Held in conjunction with Wanted Design and Industry City’s Design Festival, Working with the World pulls the roof off the diverse ecosystem now flourishing on the grounds of Bush’s inceptive vision, founded over 120 years ago. By offering a glimpse into the spaces in which each of these individuals and studios conceives, ideates, creates, and builds, we reveal the heads and hands creating human-scaled industry within. Presented within the context of a citywide celebration of design and its concomitant values of innovation, creativity, and critical thinking, Working with the World spotlights and echoes Irving T. Bush’s century-old appeal to artists, makers, manufacturers, and thinkers: to come together as “partners in industry.”

This exhibit, curated by Jennifer-Navva Milliken, will feature the works of creative people based at Industry City.