By Bill Parry
The 7th annual LIC Arts Open gets underway Wednesday and runs through Sunday at numerous locations around Long Island City. The free festival, billed as the largest event in Queens, invites visual artists, performers, musicians, designers and the public to celebrate creative expression together in one of the most vital arts districts in New York City.
More than 200 artists will open their studios giving visitors the opportunity to experience and view a large amount of diversity in medium, background and age. Multiple installations can be found at 23 venues, including the Falchi Building and Factory LIC, while smaller, more intimate displays will be at the Local Project Art Space, the Flux Factory, Alobar and Matted LIC among other locations.
For the second year, Long Island City-based artists will collaborate with the manufacturer Plaxall to create works of art out of plastics using thermoforming, a process that was invented by the company’s founder, Louis Pfohl, at its 46th Avenue Factory more than 70 years ago. The works of art will be part of a show called “Plastique Deux,” curated by William Garrett, which opens Thursday, and runs for the duration of the festival.
The artists are tasked with stepping outside of their usual medium — whether it’s paint, plaster, or even neon — to make new artwork from sheets of plastic, which are heated until they are pliable to be bent, twisted and molded.
“Plaxall is proud to open our factory to artists in Long Island City, and to encourage collaboration between longtime businesses and the neighborhood’s burgeoning art scene,” Plaxall Managing Director Paula Kirby said. “Thermoforming was invented by our grandfather more than 70 years ago and it’s always a thrill to see the artists adapt and use this technology to create artwork that captures people’s attention today.”
Returning to “Plastique Deux” this year are artists Lisa Diclerico, Kenny Greenburg, Donna Levinstone, Jean-Marie Guyaux and John Long, who will take what they learned working with thermoforming last year and mentor other artists, including BanG Studio, Sharon Florin, Annalisa Iadicicco, Liona R. Nyariri and Ellen Schneiderman.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for us artists to again partner with Plaxall to create new work outside of our usual mediums,” William Garret said. “It’s exciting to watch such creative people stretch their talents on both the art and manufacturing ends of the process.”
The art will be shown in the former Jeffrey Deitch Gallery at the Anable Basin Bar & Grill, on the East River at 4-40 44th Drive in Long Island City.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr