Destroy stuff with hammers and saws at this Boerum Hill art show

Cutting it: Visitors to the live installation at Invisible Dog will get the chance to destroy everyday objects and put them back together.
Rachel Cherry

This show is crushing it!

People can smash household items in the name of “art” as part of an interactive work at Boerum Hill’s Invisible Dog gallery on Jan. 5–8. You can also take your time to meticulously dissect the objects, but pulverizing stuff with a hammer is definitely allowed, according to the artist.

“Some people spend a lot of time very carefully taking apart, other people are extremely violent and smash it,” said Belgian creative Kate McIntosh, who has also staged her piece “Worktable” in Japan and Colombia.

To begin the piece, participants select one of the objects — it could be a wristwatch, a typewriter, or a tennis racket — then take it to their own workspace, where they dismantle it using tools including a saw, screwdriver, and hammer.

The process typically triggers mixed emotions from participates, McIntosh said — some are eager to take out their anger on the trinket while others find the destruction distressing.

“Some react with a lot of pleasure and catharsis and sometimes they are a bit upset about this,” she said.

And some just get weird — a woman once selected a pack of playing cards and then used sandpaper to erase all the hearts, McIntosh said.

“It was very beautiful and careful,” she said.

After destroying their knickknack, guests then attempt to reassemble the parts in any way they want — a process than can take anywhere from 15 minutes to five hours, McIntosh said.

At the end, participants can stick around to chat about how they came up with their new object, she said — and the stories get surprisingly deep.

“People have quite intense journeys of the time and the things they think about, the questions that come up for them,” McIntosh said.

Really, the work is about so much more than destroying things, McIntosh said — it’s designed to make people think about what it means to wipe the slate clean and start all over again.

“This piece is really about the journey, the emotions that people go through,” she said. “There’s a big question of change, what that means, and what rearrangement means.”

“Worktable” at the Invisible Dog (51 Bergen St. between Smith Street and Boerum Place in Boerum Hill, www.theinvisibledog.org). Jan. 5–7 and 9 at noon–8 pm. Jan. 8 at 11 am–7 pm. $20.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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