This December, you don’t need to go to Art Basel Miami Beach to behold the latest installation by acclaimed Brooklyn artist Christopher Myers. Instead, simply head over to 99 Scott Avenue in Bushwick any evening between Wednesday and Sunday. Bring your ice skates if you have them — Myers’s art work is literally embedded under the ice in an expansive skating rink, back for its second year by Studio Skate and local commercial developer Scott Avenue Associates. It’s the holiday season in the city once more, and ice skating is coming back in style from Rockefeller Center to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The throes of industrial Brooklyn, though, offers a standalone artistic experience.
The first edition of Studio Skate last year presented holiday events like Baddies on Ice during its run. “The ice rink is a modern fun-centered iteration of the town square,” a representative from SAA tells Brooklyn Magazine. “We wanted to create a space that brings people together but weaved artistic expression, community and all the things we yearn for during the holiday season: gifts and great warming food that is best enjoyed shared.”
Photo by Riccardo Giancola, courtesy Studio Skate
This year’s rink unveiled with a party this Tuesday night, and if the fashionable crowd queued up in the cold was any indication, Brooklynites are hyped for its return. Studio Skate and SAA have amped up this year’s offerings, too. A courtyard pathway lined with twinkling lights will guide you from the posh entryway to the rink, surrounded by two bars offering options for hot drinks and light bites. Down a winding concrete corridor, you’ll discover a quaint outdoor seating area with two roaring fire pits and picnic benches — all looking into Chalet, a new fine dining offering at the site aptly themed around apres-ski. There’s a subterranean bar hidden around here as well. By the time it all opens to the public Friday, the adjacent holiday market should be ready for business, offering hip gifts from hot brands like Library Fetish and Happier Grocery.
The rink, though, is the real centerpiece. SAA tapped the trendy independent curator Zoe Lukov based on her work with Grand Cayman art space Palm Heights to add some art to the offering. She selected Myers, who is represented by James Cohan gallery in TriBeCa and works across stained glass, tapestry, sculpture and even children’s books. Here, Myers drew on the history of the Colored Hockey League and legendary Black figure skaters like Mabel Fairbanks for a frenzied, festive design titled “Feathers on the Waves.” A release says his work “aims to capture the inherent grace of the Black figure, suspended in space, radiating a sense of weightlessness and winged freedom.”
Breaking the ice (Photo by Daniel Greer, courtesy Studio Skate)
“I’ve wanted to work with Christopher Myers on an ambitious public project for a long time and felt like an invitation to create an ice-skating rink could be a natural extension of his practice, which often reconceptualizes gathering spaces,” Lukov tells Brooklyn Magazine. “The way Myers salvages forgotten histories in his work made him such a clear choice for a project of this scale that aims to center the diverse communities in Brooklyn and welcome all to celebrate.”
Brooklyn-based skater Alicia Hall Moran christened the rink Tuesday night with a 10 minute ice routine rich with pirouettes and live singing. Take that, Macy’s. As more skaters scrape the ice with their moves, Myers’s work might shine through brighter, too. Further performances, coat drives, and DJ sets will go down while the rink’s up, through January 14. Keep your eyes on the Studio Skate Instagram account to plan your trip.