Battle Ground, the third and last exhibit of our yearlong Battle theme, will explore the pathos of the Battle of Brooklyn, stimulating our collective memory, evoking parallels between past and present, while focusing on the complexity, moral ambiguity, and devastation of this important Revolutionary confrontation. Historical imagery, rendered meaningless by over-use and political manipulation, will be revived in new forms.
The word “revolution” circles around us, forming the early consciousness of our country. History, also cyclical, repeats itself, and when it is forgotten, it haunts us, lying dormant in our collective memories. In 1776 one such haunting unfolded across a wide swath of what is now Brooklyn. Perhaps the battle if often forgotten because it was, in the words of Walt Whitman, a “resolute defeat.”
The battle-haunting still rages around us at Proteus Gowanus. Its culminating events took place just feet from our gallery location, along what was then the Gowanus Creek. The fields and marshes of 1776 are now a post-industrial urban landscape, and the Gowanus Canal is a hotly contested Federal Superfund and development site.