Exiting the L-train at the Morgan stop feels like stepping into an evolving canvas. There seems to be art in every nook and cranny of the area’s industrial landscape. Built of frame homes and warehouse spaces, Bushwick, Brooklyn has turned the pivotal corner it was edging back in 2012, and the neighborhood is a full-blown microcosm of the latest trends in music, lifestyle and most importantly, art! The following list is a few must-see’s for both the well-informed collector and the newbie alike.
The Beginning: Luhring Augustine Gallery
The Luhring Augustine Gallery, founded in 1985 on 24th street in Chelsea, opened their Bushwick outpost at 25 Knickerbocker Ave in 2012. Here they’ve been able to have a larger space to host more experimental exhibits. Currently on view was Jason Moran’s Staged. The exhibit features two large-scale re-creations, or re-imaginings of two historical NYC Jazz Venues that are no longer in existence. The pieces engage viewers with a both a visual and auditory representation of this culture. Along side the larger-scale pieces are charcoal “recordings”. As you exit the gallery, browse the pop-up gift shop for the exhibit, where there is a wide range of precious trinkets.
Next Stop: Interstate Gallery
The Interstate gallery has native roots in the area. Founded by Tom Weinrich, a fairly young SVA Grad, he originally used the space to house his own work. Frustrated by the swanky scene that he had briefly been a part of post-graduation, he began attracting and hosting other like-minded individuals in his gallery. Over the past five years of its existence the space has generated good buzz and gained notoriety. On view currently is Prisciall Jeong (upstairs) and Rob Chavasse (downstairs) Priscilla Jeong’s solo exhibit Lash Blast x 2% Flourish creates a suspended maze through the gallery as you enter. Her work is a cross between sculptural and decorative meant to express “preserved emotions”. Downstairs Rob Chavasse’s “The Doldrums” is on view. Chavasse has used video footage captured on a camera phone, to string together seemingly non-connected bits of footage to create an “abstract and atmospheric narrative”.
Then head over to the area’s “art center” at 56 Bogart to check out a few galleries:
In 1983, Ted Hovivian bought the 56 Boghart space for a “bargain basement” price. Today it presents us as the art center of the area, with many galleries that open their doors either by appointment or on weekends.
Two galleries, and artists, of note in the building are Honey Ramka and Elizabeth Ferry and Life on Mars and Austin Lee. On view at Honey Ramka is Elizabeth Ferry’s whimsical universe composed of eye lash clad glitter globes, along with fantastical iridescent snails sliding alongside the wall, and animated clocks keep time. This almost theatrical dimension of fantastical characters is a must-see. At Life on Mars, “Ghost in The Machine” is on view, hosting a variety of artists from different educational backgrounds and generations to create a cultural conversation discussing painting and the digital age. New York based Austin Lee, caught my eye and is an artist worthy of note. Lee specializes in pieces that begin with a digitally drawn figure, generally drawn on his ipad, and which are then translated on to a sketch to canvas, with airbrushing and hand painting done with acrylic and vinyl. The message his pieces send are a beautiful tie back into the exhibits title.
Wander off the track a bit and visit Microscope Gallery
Microscope Gallery is located closer to the Jefferson St stop on the L and was founded by artists and curators Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti in 2010. Specializing in sound, moving image, digital and performance art the gallery aims to closed the divide between the traditional white cube galleries and black box screening venues. The group show Off Screen, opening Friday May 20th, will feature works by the artists Jacob Ciocci, Paul Gagner, Dona Nelson, Raha Raissnia, Pieter Schoolwerth, and newly discovered work by avant-garde artist Storm De Hirsch. The six painters approach the canvas in relation to the digital screens of TVs, mobile devices or computers, its imagery and experience continuously evolving.
Head back towards Morgan Ave via C L E A R I N G Gallery
The Belgium gallery opened the doors to its 5000 square feet gallery space in Bushwick in 2014 after spending what proprietor Olivier Babin called it’s “very happy teenage years” in a much smaller space. The former truck repair depot is currently housing a video solo-show by artist Aaron Garber-Maikovska and the second solo-exhibit by artist Zak Kitnick entitled C&D.
Why not finish the day by checking out a non-traditional gallery space? The Chimney NYC:
The Chimney NYC is an exhibition and performance venue, founded in 2015. Set right by the New Town Creek, the brick cube focuses on promoting multidisciplinary and international artists that play on the rawness of the area’s industrial architecture. The untreated walls allow all works to interact with the space, creating immersive environments making it a great place to hang out and relax, after all the exploring. The Chimney NYC will open its doors in June for a group show entitled Incantations.
Although Bushwick may be the new kid on the block for gallery districts, it has come a long way from the raw edged art hub it once was. The area has many unique offerings to discover alongside these galleries, worth checking out as you explore the art! The bohemian mood here is quite different than Manhattan. Especially right after attending jam-packed Art Fairs, where one may quite easily feel over stimulated by both the abundance of people and art, it is quite refreshing to visit this sprawling hub.
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