Molly Surno’s artistic practice takes many shapes. She creates physical experiences that connect people to their own bodies and the “communal body.” These ideas are influenced by the traditions of social sculpture, happenings, séances, and rituals, among other things. So whether she is working as the Director of Partnerships at Splacer (an innovative event space platform) or composing a sound sculpture for BAM, her work is always about the human form and how it generates tension and unity when sharing space. Here she talks about her dynamic role at Splacer and reveals her go-to spots in her neighborhood of East Williamsburg.
What’s is Splacer and what’s your role there?
I work as the Director of Partnerships for Splacer, which means I get to talk to the most interesting people, organizations, collectives, and help them figure out how to reimagine space for any sort of creative activation.
How does your love of art inform your work?
Social space and how people congregate in present time is always a driving force in my work. At Splacer I get to reimagine space as it relates to a variety of gatherings. Working with so many different types of people, I get to help conceptualize, execute, curate, and contribute to the culture of the site by programming really remarkable social gatherings.
What are your 3 favorite local spots in your neighborhood?
I live in East Williamsburg in the Graham Ave area. It’s so incredible and low key, with a heavy Italian influence. In a way it’s the Little Italy of Brooklyn.
To go with the theme of the hood, Fortunato Brothers, a super cool, family-owned, Italian pastry shop. Okonomi, is a tiny little Japanese brunch place that serves beautiful tasty seafood. Lastly, Dolly G’s is the perfect little vintage shop on Graham Ave. Giselle who runs it always has new affordable finds.
What are your 3 favorite or inspiring spaces or buildings in NYC?
Chrysler Building. The best pickup line I ever got was someone telling me I reminded them of the Chrysler Building—slender and striking. It’s the most elegant masterpiece in our skyline.
Cafe Sabarsky. It’s situated in the Neue Galerie and draws influences from the Viennese cafes that functioned as intellectual and artistic centers. Spending a morning drinking coffee within this architecture is one of the most regal dining experiences in the city.
EAI on the 5th floor of a Chelsea building sits this extraordinary archive of the most important avant-garde and experimental performance and video works. You can rent a little viewing room by the hour, which is where I have devoted time to watching Ana Mendieta, Merce Cunningham, and others.