Venice was settled originally by refugees fleeing the barbarian hordes—who, apparently, didn’t like water. But that was then. This week, Swoon, a 31-year-old Brooklyn artist whose name is Caledonia “Callie” Curry, is leading a waterborne invasion of the Venice Biennale (she didn’t bother to try to get in officially) with a crew of 30 artists, musicians, and miscreants in tow. Though they have raised some $150,000 for this crash party, the money won’t show in the boats they’ll travel in, because the boats are made of trash—a symbol of the freedom that comes with radical self-reliance, and one that is meant to effect change. “Throughout history, pranksters have been looking at fences and then pushing them aside,” Swoon has said (the name came to an ex-boyfriend in a dream, in which he imagined her future as a graffiti artist long before her career began). “Through action, you can move the perception. It’s almost like a magic trick.” Swoon and her group are emissaries from a specific underground culture: the bike-riding, Dumpster-diving, anarchist street-art movement that has flourished in Bushwick, Greenpoint, and areas near the Gowanus Canal over the past decade.
more from Vanessa Grigoriadis at New York Magazine here.