Steampunk gallery show in the Hamptons

Tor's award-winning art director Irene Gallo's been to the steampunk gallery show in the Hamptons (which sports work by some of my favorite steampunk makers, including Jake von Slatt, Roger Wood and Datamancer) and come back wiht a short and glowing review:

My favorite work was from clockmaker Eric Freitas. He took the interior mechanisms of the clocks and morphed them into organic shapes–metallic twigs, almost-leaves, and shapes reminiscent of insect exoskeletons. Stunning. They evoke both decay and growth:
Steampunk in the Hamptons, Steampunk Art And Design Makes Hamptons Debut


  1. Eric’s stuff is at . He shows cool stuff like his workshop and how he designed the clocks and how he makes his gears (and everything else in the clock) by hand.

  2. As soon as I saw this clock I liked it. But I would never have labeled it Steam Punk. It’s more Belle Arts, or Arts and Crafts. It’s about technology and nature coming together, don’t you think? And I normally think of Steam Punk as less organic, even with its use of wood. This looks like something an Elf would make, powered by magic gem or trapped fairly.

  3. Jeff, you are completely confused. If it involves clock mechanisms and looks cool, it’s steam punk. No questions may be asked.

    [That said, if it were made my an elf, as you suggest, perhaps a better term would be Steam Puck?]

  4. Samsam, ha ha. I’m sure C.D. does not mind to hear that he likes art that may fall into several catagories at the same time. So it’s Beau Arts-Crafts, 70’s hippi-back-to-nature design school. If some calls their stuff Steam Punk, who am I to say it’s not? More to point, I’d like to know what does make it steam punk, just so I can know. If I’m going to be a member of the Outer Hive Mind Transition Zone, I have to get good data.

  5. Artists typically just create things of interest to them, based on their personal design ethic.

    It is up to the critics, and other non-creators, to come up with all the increasingly fine sub-categories to compartmentalize and label the work.

  6. Dear Dr. Haggis @#5

    Thank you for the clarification. Yours is a most important view concerning the creation of genuine art.

    My Best Regards,


  7. Y knw, s mch s ‘m fn f BB nd f Cry’s (nd f Mvll, thr ‘stmpnk’ rltd thrs, tc.), m gttng S SCK F STMPNK NYTHNG.

    wnt MDRN. wnt FNCTNL. wnt TMTC, nt WND-P. wnt vrprsnt cnnctvty, glblly fnctnng wrld cnmy tht s crbn ntrl.

    Bt d NT wnt my kybrd md t f hmmrd brss nd hnd-sndd ncnt nglsh k.

    1. spin,

      Nobody’s forcing you to look. This isn’t Lost in Space or Gilligan’s Island. If we get tired of something, we have other alternatives.

  8. Gilligan’s Island….can I be the Japanese soldier still fighting the war? Either that or Ginger.

  9. @Art I see what you did there.

    Seriously though, do people actually think artists debate if their work needs to be 30% more art nouveau or if they should Rasta it up a couple of points?

    It seems to be the roll of the non-creating navel gazer who has to pigeonhole every piece into some hyphenated sub-category.

    Besides, clearly this work is obviously neo-grunge-steam-core.

  10. Buddy66, I’d love to be a Vicky, but only if it’s as throw-back as The Diamond Age version: All nice and nano-tricked-out, but up-tight and classist. This clock does not look Victorian to me in any way, shape or form.

  11. I went to this show today, although I went too early for the curator to be there so I could see everything operating. Rode my bike there (it’s only a mile from my house) bringing along the wife, to whom I have explained the concept of Steampunk three times in the last week in preparation for our visit.

    My assessment – cool, but not yet pilgrimage-worthy, if anyone is thinking about it from far away. The personal highlight of the show for me was Datamancer’s diptych computer, which I believe has already been pictured on Boing Boing, and would be appealing for purchase if I weren’t dead set against having a desktop in my life. My wife fell in love with Roger Wood’s Clock on Wheels – worth looking up online, which also doubled as the most expensive object in the show. My wife has a sixth sense for loving the most expensive thing in the room.

    I’ll echo the love for Eric Freitas’ clocks – well worth a look, and indisputably works of art. Overall, I’d say it’s a great start in the history of Steampunk exhibits, and it will be great fun to encourage people to get more creative with electronics (clocks are great, but more complicated electronics can absolutely blow them away from an interest point of view).

  12. @ 8 buddy66:

    I agree with Jeff that there is nothing Victorian about this, but if you can find an example of a Victorian watch with roots growing out of it, then I will eat my words.

    My comment above, that if it has clock windings and looks cool then it’s steam punk, was obviously a joke, but I do think that this is what the genre has fallen into. Why is this steam punk and not woodland-elf punk? I don’t think anyone will be able to answer this.

    The above sculpture in indeed art, but why must we categorize everything as steam punk? Is it just because we don’t have another name for it? Is it just because the same kinds of artists do steam punk and this kind of stuff, and the same kinds of people like both?

    Furthermore, people have been creating sculptures that explore the intersections of man-made and natural for hundreds of years. To call it all “steam punk” is really just a solipsism, an art ego-centric view where everything just relates itself to your chosen genre.

  13. @Antinous-#11

    You’re going to laugh, but Tina Louise (yes- from Gilligan’s Island) attended the Opening Party for the exhibition.


    I threw out the ”Victorian” hint much too hastily. Six months ago I too wanted to know what ”Steampunk” was, and the best I could puzzle out from BB posts and comments is it has to do with the decorative qualities accompanying Victorian era technology. Obviously steam wasn’t the only generative element of the 19th century, but I pictured, for instance, the pilot rooms of Mark Twain’s steamboats: brass dials, gauges, clocks, the paraphernalia of access; also the dress of the period, the clothing style of a couple tooling about town in a Stanley Steamer; leather and canvas coats, gloves, goggles, etc. I settled on what elements and artifacts evoked from the period combined with a modern ”punkish” sensibility.

    Now ”punk” is harder for me to define. I am, I suppose, what’s left of a Beat/hipster of the pre-hippie period. My taste in art and music is definitely pre-rock ‘n roll, and ”punk” evades me, except for what Gibson’s nerdy ”cyberpunk” implies: world of digital techno-savvy hacking that does little other than frustrate the shit out of me when I’m not using the available results of that savvy at my desk or in my studio. I like the tribute Steampunk pays to the past, in much the same way Pop Art does to a more recent past, with its accompanying glow of irony and good humor. It’s a great goof, and usually a very clever one, one that I’m getting better at recognizing and appreciating.

    I think of Sherlock Holmes and his lab as Steampunk. And me as square Dr. Watson.

  15. @antinous
    No, nothing like that. She’s quite a lovely woman. I gave her a tour of the show and she was very receptive and understood it all. (She also looked great!)

  16. @Caspar #15

    Dear Caspar,

    So sorry that I missed you and your wife. Please stop by again. I’ll be there from 10am till 6 or contact me through my blog. (see my profile)

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