Escape from Coney Island

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Postcard from Escape from Coney Island. Sculpture and photograph by Aaron Leif Nicholson

Escape from Coney Island (2010)

This exhibition ran from May 15-June 6, 2010

Featuring artwork by:

  • Aaron Nicholson
  • Alex Prince
  • Kathy Easthagen
  • Mark Ryan
  • Mia Jennings
  • Preston B. Lawing
  • Robin Schwartzman
  • Timothy G. Piotrowski

Curated by Erik Farseth

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Please join us for the Grandest Night of the Season!

Featuring artwork inspired by:

  • Sword swallowers!
  • Stage magicians!
  • Starfish-encrusted sea monsters!
  • Candy floss!
  • Circus Sideshow acts!

Don’t fail to see this first class exposition of FABULOUS SHOWPIECES, shimmering oil canvases, fantastic dioramas, and gelatin silver prints!

A tribute to the golden age of American vaudeville and amusement parks.

At the dawn of the 20th Century, one million people converged on Coney Island every weekend to partake in the popular amusements. Three major amusement parks and 50 roller coasters (as well as dozens of independent show men, carnival barkers, and food venders) vied for the attention (and the money!) of the masses who flocked to the beaches and fantastic pleasure palaces, spread out over more than 60 acres of land.

It was here that the hot dog was invented, as well as the roller coaster.

Streetcars and the newly-opened West End Subway terminal brought millions of working class New Yorkers to the Coney Island peninsula, and disgorged them onto the beaches and the board walk in search of relaxation –or a taste of the good life.

From the freak shows and the skee-ball lanes, to the Loop-the-Loop, this is where American popular culture was born.

“People could, for a very small fee, leave their crowded dwellings and engage in a day of escape. Everyone was equal on the rides and the beaches, so at least at that location, social distinctions disappeared.”

“Escape from Coney Island” is a love letter to the chaotic spirit of the carnival and the Golden Age of mass entertainment.

Opening Night Reception: Escape from Coney Island

Saturday, May 15, 2010 from 7-10:30 pm

Free live music by Nice Purse and UltraChorus

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Poster designed by Matt Wells