The club for women's Dumbo location is showing work by Alex Prager, Jenny Holzer, and others.
By Sarah Cascone
The third location of the the Wing, New York’s woman-only social club and co-working space, opens to the public today in Dumbo, Brooklyn, complete with a pink poured concrete floor, pumping stations for new moms, and an exhibition of work by women artists, curated by Lolita Cros and titled “The Salon.”
“There is no singular definition of feminism, and I try to capture that with the art selection,” Cros wrote in an email to artnet News. “Each artist has a powerful and relevant message, whether it is about body positivity, community, or environment. While every piece might not explicitly portray womanhood, they all represent the current state and many facets of femininity.”
Dotting the soaring, light-filled space are works by Alex Prager, Alice Lancaster, Lana Barkin, Tina Barney, Pamela Hanson, Louise Parker, and Martine Fougeron, among others. The works are all for sale, as are those in the Picture Room, a woman-run gallery housed in the new Brooklyn outpost of the Wing.
Near the entrance is Jenny Holzer’s I’VE, a 2008 photograph of a building facade that’s been lit with the words “All the knowledge I’ve absorbed in my life I now give up,” taken from a Yehuda Amichai poem. “We never dreamed we could have a Jenny Holzer piece in the Wing,” said Audrey Gelman, who co-founded the Wing with Lauren Kassan, during a tour of the space. “That’s pretty epic.”
“I love the grandiosity of Holzer’s ‘Projection’ series,” added Cros. “The concept of appropriating a site with text is empowering,” she said. “It serves as a reminder that ‘words matter,’ as Hillary Clinton presciently stated during the presidential debates.“
Cros also singled out work by Nydia Blas, who overlays found images of African American women alongside Pantone color scales. “They pose questions around fantasy, opportunity, and racial inequality,” Cros said. “I chose to hang them on pillars that divide sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, to interject some sense of awareness and austerity on a quintessential symbol of the American Dream.”
“We try to incorporate female creativity throughout the space,” said Gelman, pointing to the color-coded bookshelves, stacked with an entirely woman-authored lending library that was put together by the Strand, New York’s most popular independent bookstore. “We have a ton of members who are artists.”
Marilyn Minter, Lena Dunham, and Glossier founder Emily Weiss are among the founding members of the club, according to New York magazine. Gelman was inspired by historic women’s clubs when she launched the space in 2016. “They really had their heyday from the 1890s to the 1920s, but they kind of all went out of fashion with second and third wave feminism,” she said. “We wanted to resurrect the concept for modern women.”
The space caters to women who work, with a conference room with wallpaper designed by Joana Avillez that pays tribute to historic Brooklyn women such as Margaret Sanger and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a recording room for making podcasts, and private phone booths hidden behind the bookshelves.
Perhaps bolstered by high-profile feminist movements like #MeToo, the Wing has upped its annual membership costs since its founding, from $1,950 (or $1,500 for founding members) to $2,350 for single-location members and $2,700 for an all-access pass. In addition to its new Dumbo home, which is housed in an abandoned paper factory overlooking the East River, the Wing has spaces in the Flatiron and in Soho. A DC outpost is set to debut next month, with plans in the works to open in other cities as well.
It’s an ambitious expansion, but the Wing is responding to demand, having struck a chord with its female-centered spaces, Gelman said. “We had no idea we were going to grow so fast.”