Ars Subterranea: The Society for Creative Preservation
We just completed DEAD ROLLERS, an artist's book focusing on gurneys in abandoned hospitals. It was created for the "Transport" series at Proteus Gowanus and will be displayed there through early spring. You can check out our online version here.
Several new releases from Furnace Press have arrived - a collection of bridge stories by John Law, our Anatomy Theater Jigsaw Puzzle, and Irma - Excerpt from a Postmortem Diary. Next we'll focus on getting the Decomposition series and other publishing projects off the ground.
It was our pleasure to host the premiere of Justin Fornal's film CANZO EMPYREAN in a special underground theater space. More information soon...
Join us for our REPORT FROM THE GHOST CITY on March 24, a night of presentations on the skeletal remains of abandoned sites that we are co-hosting with the filmmaker Ross Lipman. Short new works from Furnace Press will be screened along with Bryan Papciak's "Met State". You can read about it here.
We held our TEATIME ON A SUNKEN SHIP at one of the more decrepit patches of the Brooklyn waterfront, to explore and contemplate the rusting hulls of an old ghost fleet while sharing a good meal. Here is a short write-up in Impose Magazine; more photos of the event are over at Nathan Kensinger's blog.
And in June we participated in the ten-year anniversary celebration of the Berlin Underworld Society by presenting subterranean photos from the "new world". While there, we also had a chance to poke around some hospital ruins scattered around eastern Germany.
Two events are in the works:
House of the Marble Mistress offers a glimpse at a marvelous abandoned building in the Bronx that is currently undergoing a transition. Open to 50 guests, this interactive visit will take place on the afternoon of April 15.
Another project we're very excited about is being organized by Don Paul Swain: "Ghost Train" is a two weekend long celebration held inside the obsolete Buffalo Central Terminal. Ars Subterranea is participating on the second weekend by organizing a Mini-Golf Game inside portions of the terminal. It's a long way from New York, but nothing soothes the spirits like pink golf clubs amidst industrial decay...
Planning is underway for our participation in an underground conference in Berlin in June. Three Ars Subterranea members will be sharing slides and experiences about exploring various underground spaces. Information about the event will be posted here closer to the date.
Members of Ars Subterranea have just returned from exploring the tunnels and sewers of Rome, where we were happy to be hosted by the local underground mavens Roma Sotteranea. We will share photos of the explorations soon - in the meantime, join us for Jeff Stark's "Where have you been?" at Bluestockings on November 13, to see a few of these selections.
Join us for an event in one of New York's most glamorous hidden spaces - the historic City Hall subway station. Sponsored by the LMCC, it features what may be the first scavenger hunt inside an abandoned station in New York...
We are pleased to announce that Tom Waits has expressed his involvement in the soundtrack for AMERICAN RUINS!
AMERICAN RUINS has been awarded a production grant by the LEF Foundation.
Join us for Kansas City Confidential, an urban scavenger hunt set in the city that also harbors the world's largest subterranean business complex, abandoned fireworks depots, and a scandalous absence of "no trespassing" signs. Also, an upcoming book by John Law and some coverage in the Voice.
The Furnace Press website is up, and it is now possible to place pre-orders of our first published title, Abandoned Tulsa. This photographic journey of historic Tulsa ruins by Alison Zarrow will be released in February 2006.
Together with Carl Mehling of the American Museum of Natural History, we have been working to commemorate Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins' lost dinosaur models and the doomed Paleozoic Museum in Central Park. The New York Times just published an article on our efforts. More information can be found here.
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Ars Subterranea participated in the first international Underworld Congress, held in Vienna on November 19. The idea for an annual underground symposium sprang from a discussion among three underground book authors—Dietmar Arnold, Peter Ryborz and Julia Solis—in Vienna in 2002, and we are delighted to see it underway.
Aaron Benoy and Julia Solis presented images on subterranean America, including photos of New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, along with photos of underground Dallas taken by Robert Stephens. The program also featured presentations by the Berlin Underworld Association, the premiere of Subterra Incognita, slide shows, and explorations. Our host, Peter Ryborz, is compiling a book of the congress materials for publication in 2006.
A proposal is in the works involving the lost dinosaurs of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. In the meantime, the first two books are getting ready to be published under our Furnace Press imprint: ANATOMY OF A HOSPITAL and ABANDONED TULSA.
In conjunction with Place in History, we have started a new small press: Furnace Press will release and distribute a selection of books on urban decrepitude, architectural relics and local communities.
We're getting ready for an exhibition in Lower Manhattan with an opening party on June 3rd. Please check our page on the Spontaneous Generation show for more details.
Filming on AMERICAN RUINS began in early December at Bethlehem Steel, whose amazingly labyrinthine blast furnaces kept us enthralled for days. Since our reluctant departure, we have been scouting potential filming sites with freshly renewed enthusiasm. The Morning Call visited us on the set, which we look forward to revisiting through our directors' footage very soon.
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We were also the subject of this feature in the Village Voice, which covers our recent scavenger hunt, AMERICAN RUINS, and more...
Ars Subterranea presents THE GARDEN OF CRUMBLING DELIGHTS, an online photo exhibit centered around the beauty of architectural decay.
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Our scavenger hunt, THE RIDDLE OF THE BURIED STREAM, will take our guests on a search for one of Manhattan's lost underground rivers. Somewhere along the way, they will get to visit a historic place not usually accessible to the public. But we're not revealing anything yet...
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Anyone interested in what lies below the streets of New York might want to check out New York Underground: The Anatomy of a City, a book by Ars Subterranea founder Julia Solis released in early November.
We are excited to participate in the production of AMERICAN RUINS. The American Ruins Project, created by Bryan Papciak and Jeff Sias, is a feature-length, mixed media journey through the relics and ruins of abandoned America. The film will be coproduced by Scout Productions and Ars Subterranea. More details will be announced as the production begins.
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The initial stage of ANATOMY OF A HOSPITAL, our documentation of a massive medical complex in Jersey City, is finished. We are currently assembling the material, including photos of a beautiful anatomy theater, and compiling a history of this landmark facility.
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Curious about subterranean streams below New York City? Check back for news on Ars Subterranea's scavenger hunt this fall....
We have started working on ANATOMY OF A HOSPITAL, a documentation of the hidden and abandoned sections of an art deco medical facility in Jersey City, which is moving its operations to a new site in mid-May.
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An article on Ars Subterranea founder Julia Solis is in the April issue of Smithsonian Magazine.
We have two new projects in the works -- we are negotiating for an exhibit inside a historic underground space in lower Manhattan and are preparing an artistic documentation of abandoned sections inside an art-deco-era hospital.
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Photos of Lee Deigaard's winning TOPSY MEMORIAL at the Coney Island Museum can be seen here.
Two of our events are mentioned in Village Voice's Best of New York 2003: The "Best Unexpected Gallery Space" goes to the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel while Topsy is deemed "Best Dead-For-100-Years Elephant". An interview with Ars Subterranea founder Julia Solis is published by the Quarterly of the New York Foundation for the Arts.
The mystery behind the murals at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center has been lifted: Ars Subterranea member Theodore Grunewald was able to establish that the paintings were created by the noted American artist Percy Crosby.
The late Mr. Crosby's estate, having been notified by us of this discovery, will take the project from here. We are looking forward to further developments in the rescue process.
Ars Subterranea is investigating methods to save two large patient murals inside a deteriorating building of the abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Center. An article in Newsday has more information on the artwork. For additional photos of the hospital and murals, check out our friend Sarah Landau's beautiful documentation.
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We are organizing a design competition for a memorial for Topsy, the elephant who was electrocuted by Thomas Edison in Coney Island in 1903. Take a look at our Topsy page.
Our inaugural event on subterranean New York went over smashingly. The EXHIBIT ON UNDERGROUND NEW YORK was covered in Time Out New York, New York Times, New York Sun, Daily News, Morning News, and other publications. Thanks to everyone who contributed and to all those who attended the show.