Death Bear afoot in Brooklyn

Death Bear afoot in Brooklyn

Death Bear may reside in Harlem, but he roams Brooklyn, exclusively.

The seven-foot-tall character created by performance artist Nate Hill visits homes across the borough, a furry spectre acting as part psychologist — part sanitation man.

Hill’s Web site explains, “Death Bear will take things from you that trigger painful memories and stow them away in his cave where they will remain forever allowing you to move on with your life. Give him an ex’s clothes, old photos, mementos, letters, etc. Death Bear is here to assist you in your time of tragedy, heartbreak, and loss. Let Death Bear help you, and absorb your pain into his cave.”

Hill, 32, who in the past has hatched controversial projects like the Candy Crack Delivery Service, created Death Bear back in November, has already visited over 50 homes, from Williamsburg to Midwood, and all points in between.

In his travels, he’s collected all manner of mundane object that once held special significance, from a high school sketch, to a pair of old bloomers worn when the person was overweight. “She lost the weight and didn’t want them anymore,” Hill recalled. “They went into the cave.”

Death Bear only serves Brooklyn, Hill said, because he thinks residents here, in general, are more open-minded. “I live in Spanish Harlem, where certain kinds of arts are favored. When it comes to performance art, it’s not the kind of thing that people here have been initiated to, so I won’t get as many calls,” he said. “Art is a privilege.”

Hill, who is originally from Florida, said he will occasionally speak, but is generally reserved while adopting his ursine role. “I wanted it to be a solemn thing, I didn’t want it to be a joke,” Hill explained.

“I don’t say much because it can quickly turn into a therapy session. But that’s not my place as a bear. Death Bear can’t really talk to you about relationships, because he’s never had one,” he confessed.

Ultimately, the artist said, his mission is to help people. “Everyone has a memory they want to forget.”

Death Bear will be in action Saturday, February 27th and Sunday, February 28th, 2010. Text 347-742-2293 for an appointment. Check clubanimalsnyc.blogspot.com/2009/11/death-bear.html for updates and details. The service is free, and open to anybody.