cathedral of junk (austin)

neighborhood: south austin | space type: silliness | active since: 1988 | link: facebook

This is my first “honorary Brooklyn” post. I just came back from a trip to Austin with my sister & cousin, and although there were a half-dozen places I’d love to write about if I lived there and had more time—like the 21st Street Co-op, where we cooked for Food Not Bombs, or the massive, gorgeous “Graffiti Park,” where we clambered around in the dark taking photos, or Spider House, where we saw the amazingly creepy Boessi Kreh, complete with a woman erotically kneading bread dough onstage—by far the most spectacularly weird place we went was the Cathedral of Junk.

I was strongly encouraged to get to the Cathedral by Bk Spaces photographer Alix Piorun (read her post about it here), but when we brought it up to our Austin friends, everyone said two things: “I think that place got torn down,” and “It’s really really far away.” Neither of these things are true. Although the Cathedral has been threatened with dismantlement and cited for code violation several times, it’s still kicking. And it’s less than a half hour bus ride from downtown Austin.

The Cathedral is the project of Vincent Hannemann, a totally lovable curmudgeon who answered the phone when we called ahead, chided us for not banging the gong hard enough when we arrived, and then toured us around the Cathedral himself, scolding us for not being clever enough with our photo poses. He has “JUNK KING” tattooed on his knuckles, told us stories about a few of the bizarre items in the Cathedral (“Oh, that one’s really creepy; my ex-wife made it”), and tolerated our poking around his giant trash statue for a couple of hours.

The photos should speak for the Cathedral itself. The main structure is three stories high and has several little rooms. It is made of just about everything you can think of: bicycle parts, lawn chairs, decapitated Barbies, a rusted fridge, crutches, a diving board bridge, zillions of plastic trinkets, cement-filled tires, busted electronics, glass bottles, a box spring, road signs, bathtubs, CDs, broken toys, car seats, shopping carts, and countless knickknacks of all sizes that are a lot harder to identify. There are a bunch of satellite statuettes, a few junk shacks, and smaller sculptures. It’s altogether a fantastic mess, and so so so worth a visit.

Here’s a whole slew more pix, taken by me and my sis. Enjoy!

that's me!

that's my sis!




Like this? Read about more silliness: Broken AngelIdiotarod, Lost Horizon Night Market, Dumpster Pools

#occupywallstreet art show

space type: art gallery | neighborhood: wall street | active: october 2011 | links: website

Over the course of doing this site, I’ve gotten away with profiling a few spaces in Ridgewood, since they were only a block or two from Brooklyn. Obviously no such gloss of proximity is possible for Wall Street, but as I’ve watched and participated in the #OWS movement over the past month, I’ve been struck by how it represents so many of the things I love about Brooklyn creative culture, like the familial bonds of those working in close proximity, the willingness to struggle together in the face of bad odds, the tendency toward horizontalism and consensus-based decision-making, the starry-eyed idealism born of the desire to make the world more beautiful, more exciting, more fair. If that’s not enough, the “No Comment” art show put on by #OWS in the old JP Morgan building on Wall Street was by far the Brooklyn-est thing I’ve ever seen in lower Manhattan.

The massive show, which featured art made at and inspired by Occupy Wall Street, was put on in collaboration with Loft in the Red Zone and had all kinds of work, from painting and photography to quilting, from illustrated protest signs to a spray-painted tent, from video installations to a gigantic flag made of actual dollar bills. There were spontaneous performance-art pieces throughout the night, there were bands, there was even on-site screenprinting. There was also, of course, an intense police presence out front, and to get to the show you had to wind through an endless maze of barricaded streets and blocked-off intersections, but the show itself was sprawling, joyous, challenging, beautiful—just like Occupy Wall Street. Just like Brooklyn.

I don’t have an interview in this post, but I do have lots and lots of pictures (sorry for my shitty camera, as always). Interspersed with the photos I’ve shared links to some of the most moving or fascinating or spot-on articles my friends and I have found about the OWS movement. Enjoy—and then get out there and occupy something.

By the way: If anyone knows the names of the artists whose work I’ve posted pictures of, please get in touch so I can give credit! brooklynspacesproject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Douglas Rushkoff’s “Think Occupy Wall Street is a phase? You don’t get it.” on CNN

Keith Boykin’s “Everything the Media Told You About Occupy Wall Street Is Wrong” on Huffington Post

Why We Support #OccupyWallStreet” by Move On, includes an incredibly galvanizing video.

Bushwick DIY Takes Wall Street” on BushwickBK (featuring Ray from Bushwick Print Lab!)

Max Udargo’s “Open Letter to that 53% Guy” on Daily Kos

Danny Schechter’s “Why Are So Many in the Media Threatened by Occupy Wall Street?” on Disinformation

Man Uses Occupy Wall Street’s People’s Mic to Propose to Girlfriend” on The Observer

Joshua Holland’s “The Stunning Victory that Occupy Wall Street Has Already Achieved” on AlterNet

Protesters Against Wall Street” on New York Times

Matt Taibbibi’s “Wall Street Isn’t Winning—It’s Cheating” on Rolling Stone

imgur’s “What OWS is about and data behind the movement

favorite feeds from my anarchist sister: OWS official site, Occupy Together, Occupy NYC livestream, Global Revolution livestream

written by my friend Jillian for Guernica: “In Defense of Youth

recommended by Beka, who runs Not An Alternative: J.A. Myerson’s “Some Unsolicited Advice to the Democratic Party: Cave to the Occupy Wall Street Movement” on truthout

recommended by Megan, lawyer & activist: Justin Elliott’s “Process is politics at Occupy Wall Street” on Salon

recommended by Erica, activist & writer at Free Williamsburg: Josh Harkinson’s “What the NYPD Really Thinks of Occupy Wall Street” on Mother Jones

recommended by Jeanice: David Graeber’s “On Playing By the Rules – The Strange Success of @OccupyWallStreet” on Naked Capitalism

recommended by Miss Scorpio of Gemini & Scorpio: Henry Blodget’s “Here’s What the Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About” on Business Insider

Sally Kohn’s “What will victory look like for Occupy Wall Street?” on CNN

Here Are Occupy Wall Street’s Plans for a National Convention that Could Change the Face of America” on Business Insider


Like this? Read about more activism: The IlluminatorTime’s Up, The Brooklyn Free Store, Books Through Bars, No-SpaceTrees Not Trash, Bushwick City Farms