Neighbors fume over art studio’s exhaust and noise

Neighbors fume over art studio’s exhaust and noise
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

An artist suffers for his creations — but now so do some of his neighbors.

A Greenpoint foundry is blanketing residents of Eagle Street and Freeman Street with resin fumes and constant noise as workers churn out sculptures for internationally renowned artists.

The Freeman Street foundry, KB Productions, has been making flower sculptures for art-world star Will Ryman since June, but the work has forced neighbors to flee indoors amid horrific noise and a cloud of chemicals wafting out of the factory’s chimney.

“It was on all day during Labor Day weekend,” said Jeanne Korin, whose Eagle Street yard is directly behind the factory. “Our neighbors moved their party indoors because of the smell. My whole house stank of it.”

Korin approached KB’s owner, Konstantin Bojanov, who has built sculptures for artists such as Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Marcel Dzama, Richard Prince and Christian Jankowski, about the fumes. Wearing a mask as he spoke, Bojanov said he’d put a fan on and the polystyrene chemical smell would dissipate.

But the problem has continued as the factory raced to finish Ryman’s order by the end of October.

“They don’t turn it off until they’re done,” said Korin. “They don’t listen. [The work] is more important than their neighbors.”

Korin and her neighbors complained to the city about the chemical smell on Oct. 7, and Department of Environmental Protection inspectors issued a $560 noise violation. Neighbors called the city again about noise and smell emanating from the warehouse on Oct. 26, but the city has not acted on that complaint.

Jeanne Korin and her son, Darius, want the foundry to reduce its noise and fix its exhaust system so it won’t pollute their Eagle Street backyard.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

A worker at the factory told George Korin that the plant is using polystyrene resin.

“It smells like airplane model glue from my youth — it’s a very volatile kind of smell,” said Korin. “I don’t know what they’re going to be doing in there in the future. They have all kinds of commissions from different artists. Who knows what kinds of chemicals they will be using?”

Residents want the art manufacturer to move out of the neighborhood, but KB’s building, which is almost 60-years-old, has been grandfathered for storage or manufacturing purposes despite its residential zoning.

Bojanov was travelling in Europe and could not be reached for comment, but a worker at the factory said last week that the company is working with the city to fix its exhaust system and expects to come up with a solution soon.

Ryman, whose resin roses wowed Park Avenue last winter, did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment. But his representative at Chelsea’s Paul Kasmin Gallery said that KB is making flower sculptures for his installation opening in Florida next month entitled, “Desublimation of the Rose.

Meanwhile, Korin’s young son, Adrian, just wants to smell the roses in his own yard without breathing in resin chemicals.

“There’s a playhouse, I have lots of toys in my backyard, and I like to play with them but now I can’t,” said Adrian Korin. “Their vent makes these noises — I can even smell it from inside my house.”

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

Here’s Will Ryman, “The Roses,” which was made in the Freeman Street foundry.
Paul Kasmin Gallery