James Cohan presents Christopher Myers' immersive ice-skating rink at 99 Scott
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James Cohan presents Christopher Myers' immersive ice-skating rink at 99 Scott
Installation view, Christopher Myers, Feathers on the Waves, 99 Scott Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, November 28, 2023 - January 15, 2024. Image courtesy of Studio Skate.

NEW YORK, NY.- James Cohan announced the opening of Feathers on the Waves, a 2,500-sq-ft open-air ice rink featuring a site-specific commission by Christopher Myers. This immersive artwork anchors the second annual edition of Studio Skate, a pop-up holiday community retreat at 99 Scott Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn presented by Scott Avenue Associates (SAA). Studio Skate is free and open to the public from December 1 through January 15. All spaces will be closed from December 25 through January 7.

Curated by Zoe Lukov, Feathers on the Waves aims to capture the inherent grace of the Black figure, suspended in space, radiating a sense of weightlessness and winged freedom. Situated beneath the ice and emanating color reminiscent of the artist’s work in stained glass, the functional medium skillfully contrasts fluid figures and shapes against a linear quilt-like pattern. The symmetrical forms intersect and mirror one another, creating a cyclical movement for skaters to follow on the ice. The work transforms the ice rink into a gathering spot for the New York City public to be in community, offering a surface for movement, a site for leisure, play, and celebration.

In creating Feathers on the Waves, Myers drew inspiration from trailblazers, such as figure skater Surya Bonaly, whose daring backflip on one blade during the 1998 Olympics defied conventions and inspired generations, and whose artistry – reminiscent of a fragile feather dancing upon the waves of the ocean – lends the work its title. Myers’ works span mediums, including tapestries, sculptures, and stained-glass, which each delve into diverse worlds rooted in the art of storytelling, depicting narratives that bridge the realms of history and mythology, while bringing the forgotten to the forefront.

In a time where narratives concerning the Black community often revolve around trauma, Feathers on the Waves challenges the normative and envisions a state of lightness and play. As the public glides over these luminous images, all people have the opportunity to see themselves within the artwork. Visitors can feel the stories of their ancestors reflected in the patterns they traverse, creating a profound connection between their own experiences and the art before them.

“The history of Black bodies, artists, and athletes, on ice is long and complicated,” said Christopher Myers. “It stretches from Colored Hockey Leagues Nova Scotia to the aspirational, inspirational, and sometimes tragic stories of Black figure skaters from Mabel Fairbanks to Tai Babilonia. Feathers on the Waves is an installation on ice, a spectacle that functions as a communal space for play, leisure, and exploration. It consists of a series of images of bodies suspended between here and there, the myth of Icarus underpins the images, similarly caught between here and there, filled with aspiration, freedom, and sometimes failure.”

“Chris is an artist who is constantly questioning the narratives and mythologies that guide our present and in excavating and reimagining the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves, he helps us to make sense of our present time,” said Zoe Lukov. “Feathers on the Waves is an extension of his recent work exploring the idea of the ‘heroes journey’ through the lens of contemporary migrant and refugee stories. The work is a call to remember the bodies that have traversed the seas to create the communities we now inhabit, a sacred space to honor our ancestors and those no longer with us, but ultimately a site for joy and celebration, to move towards the liberation and freedom of ourselves and our communities.”

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