Art + Culture

Watergate Brings Pixelated Waves to Archway

The DUMBO Improvement District and Brooklyn artist Casey Opstad, in partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), are proud to announce the installation of Watergate, a massive 275sf painting covering the corrugated metal fence in the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge. The pixelated design is a nod to the digital designers of DUMBO and the wave-like motif transports onlookers straight to the Brooklyn waterfront, as if it is just beyond the gate. Watergate will be on display through May 2014.

“Casey’s work is playful and spectacular. The hand-painted pixelation is a perfect mix of digital and analogue – it’s very DUMBO,” said Alexandria Sica, Executive Director of the DUMBO Improvement District. “We love how calming water can feel even when juxtaposed with a massive structure like the Manhattan Bridge and know the community will enjoy the work as they spend time in this epic public space. It’s great to have partners like NYC DOT who work with us to transform infrastructure into public art.”

Over the two-week installation period, the artist hand-painted over 100,000 half-inch squares according to an eight-color schema inspired by the East River.  Laid in a straight line, the pixelated squares would stretch out for more than a mile. “I made a boatload of work for myself, but this painting forced me to slow down and enjoy the process, rather than the finished product,” said artist Casey Opstad. “Now it’s all water under the bridge.”

Watergate is part of the Arterventions series in DOT’s Urban Art Program, where the agency assists local partners and artists with the installation of temporary art in public spaces. The piece animates the streetscape for passers-by in the area, and also becomes another exciting point of discovery for those participating in any of the free activities by the DUMBO Improvement District, including the popular Flea Food under the Archway, which features food vendors curated by Brooklyn Flea and runs Thursdays and Fridays from noon-3pm all summer long.