Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland
This site-specific installation by artist Stephen Powers recalls the birth of new public art in Coney Island, and the emergence of a uniquely American and wholly “Coney Island” style of painting. As a longtime admirer of the fading craft of sign painting, Powers has revitalized the tradition of colorful, hand-painted signage and advertisements in an age of digitization.
In his work, he uses logotypes that have a superficially commercial look, combining them with his own text to create enigmatic meanings that deliver an emotional punch.
Powers transforms the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery at the Brooklyn Museum into an immersive environment filled with paintings and signs created in the visual vernacular of the iconic seaside community. This is the newest and ninth iteration of his ICY SIGNS, a traveling sign shop he first conceived in Coney Island in 2003.
The installation also includes works by Justin Green, Matt Wright, Mike Levy, Dan Murphy, Mike Langley, Mimi Gross, Alexis Ross, Sean Barton, Eric Davis, and Tim Curtis. It is presented in conjunction with Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008 and Forever Coney: Photographs from the Brooklyn Museum Collection.