We are Fire by Paul Jacobsen
by Chad Stayrook
Curated by Zerek Kempf

November 8 - December 6, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION: November 8, 6-10pm

Video (T-Minus)

In the fall of 1958 NASA launched its first lunar spacecraft, Pioneer 1. The craft failed to reach its destination, but successfully transmitted 43 hours of data during the flight.  Earlier this year another craft, Voyager 1, extended our perception of interstellar space, surpassing the boundaries of the known universe. 

On November 8, 2013, Chad Stayrook prepares for launch at helper. Consisting of a single model rocket and launch pad installed in the gallery, Stayrook’s rocket will blast off at precisely 8:50PM inside the space as viewers observe from the street, through the storefront window.  The trajectory and outcome are unknown and unpredictable.

Beginning on November 7, Paul Jacobsen will pioneer the backyard at helper for three days.  Jacobsen will be using a more primitive technology, maintaining a constant flame for the duration of his stay. Jacobsen invites us to join him around the fire while he salvages charcoal to be used for the production of his next body of drawings.

These two exhibitions occur simultaneously at the opposite ends of helper, transforming the length of the space into a timeline.  The slow, durational current of We are Fire collides with the anticipatory, quick burst of energy of T-minus.  

Neighboring FDNY Engine 249/Ladder 113 will be on site for event. 


Paul Jacobsen (b. 1976, Denver, Colorado) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been included in exhibitions at Mass MOCA, Aspen Art Museum, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Kentler International Drawing Space among others.

Chad Stayrook (b. 1980, Columbus OH) is a living and breathing artist based out of Brooklyn, NY. Stayrook holds a M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute (2004), and B.F.A. from Ohio University (2002). He is represented by Romer Young Gallery in San Francisco, CA. Notable US-based exhibitions include a yearlong art expedition centered around a canoe trip up the Hudson River for Peekskill Project V at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (2012-13), a multimedia participatory installation at Conflux Festival 2010 in NYC, solo exhibitions at Romer Young Gallery, San Francisco (2006, 2010) and Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia (2009), and group exhibitions at the International Print Center New York (2013), N.A.D.A. Miami (2012), Contemporary Art Center, Las Vegas (2012), Flux Factory, Queens NY (2010), and Corcoran Gallery of Arts, Washington DC (2006). Internationally, Stayrook’s work has been featured in the Van Abbemuseum of Contemporary Art in Eindhoven Netherlands (2009) and the Incheon Artists Biennial in South Korea (2009). He has participated in numerous artist residencies including Lower Manhattan’s Swing Space Program (2013), Harold Arts, Chesterhill OH (2011), The Arctic Circle Program, Svalbard Norway (2010), and the Tin Shop Studio, Breckenridge CO (2010). Other accomplishments include the Van Lier Fellowship Award and Vox Populi Artist Fellowship grant (2009/10). Stayrook’s endeavors have been reviewed in the New York Times, Art Monthly Australia, San Francisco Bay Chronicle, RealTime Magazine, NY1 television, and The Washington Post, among others. Alongside his art practice, Chad works as an independent curator and is co-founder and co-director of Present Company Gallery, Brooklyn.