Good clean fun: Artist coats gallery in laundry detergent

Cleanliness is next to artfulness.

Park Slope’s Open Source Gallery will smell like an industrial laundromat this month thanks to Artist Patrick Cadenhead’s fresh installation “Spring and Renewal,” opening on May 5.

Most of the works consist of wooden panels caked in Tide, fabric softener, and borax crystals, while a speaker emits the rhythmic droning sounds of your corner laundromat. And the centerpiece of his installation is a sculpture that resembles a washing machine that spurts soapy suds from a pump.

The art space will keep its windows open, but a whiff of the show might catch some visitors by surprise — or remind them it’s time to do the laundry.

“I’m trying to hit that line where it’s slightly uncomfortable and you don’t know if you’re going to stay or go,” said Cadenhead. “I added the fountain element to up the smell factor. There was some concern that it might not smell enough.”

Open Source’s Monika Wuhrer insists the scent of detergent won’t be strong enough to make guests leave, and claims the works evoke a “religious cleansing process” that represents the way people get rid of their burdens.

“He thinks very much about life and death and religion, he doesn’t want this to be obvious, but he said that’s something in the back of his head that is permanent,” said Wuhrer.

“Spring and Renewal” at Open Source Gallery [306 17th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Park Slope. (646) 279-3969] Opens May 5. 7—9 pm. www.open-source-gallery.org.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.