The Cooler Gallery is one of NYC’s most unique art spaces. It operates out of a repurposed industrial freezer that used to serve the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It’s tiny in size but that hasn’t stopped curator Michael Yarinsky from staging some impressive exhibitions around the intersection of art, design and manufacturing. Spring 2021 finds the interior converted into a broom closet for the aptly named Broom Show group exhibition.
The Broom Show’s intent was to challenge the invited artists and designers to reimagine the form and function of this staple of household tool. The COVID pandemic has forced everyone to spend more time at home and the broom is one of the oldest hygiene implements created by humans.
The 27 brooms that make up the exhibition vary widely in shape, material construction and practicality. What’s particularly interesting about the show is the variety of results that came from just rethinking how a simple handle and bristles get combined.
An added twist to the show is the partnership Cooler Gallery formed with Treiber Farms located on Long Island, NY. A year ago, Treiber started growing traditional broom corn (Sorghum Multicolor) which was harvested and incorporated into many of the brooms created for the show. Cooler and Treiber ultimately intend to launch an artist residency program at the farm sometime in the near future.
A few standout selections are Nina Cho’s “Broom-Broom” that elegantly hangs around a large wooden wall disk. “Spaghetti broom” by Chiaozza uses a 1-pound box of pasta for bristles paired with a minimalist handle and hook. The U-shaped “Ridge Brush” by Ariele Alasko features bristles made of ponderosa pine needles. Peter Treiber, Jr. used one of his Grandfather’s antique golf clubs as the handle and wrapped it with lemongrass grown on Treiber Farms for his broom “My Past and Present”.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter