So much art, so little time…
There are a ton of art galleries in Brooklyn’s multifaceted art scene, displaying work from a magnificent variety of artists. With galleries all over the borough though, which ones are worth visiting? Most of the artists I spoke with said the art galleries that matter are the ones with the right vibe, one that’s “open, friendly and informative,” according to Pratt instructor and Loft 594 artist Jennifer Shepard, detailing what she looks for in a good gallery.
A good place to start when exploring Brooklyn’s art galleries is my favorite area of them all – Bushwick. Even though the neighborhood is becoming more and more gentrified, the proximity to Pratt and absolute fierceness and freedom of expression of artists living and working here has made its impact on the art galleries. One thing, all of these art galleries have in common is their accessibility to art students, art lovers and virtually EVERYONE interested in the artistic side of the neighborhood and what it may offer. At the end of the day though, it’s about the work on display, and these seven galleries always deliver in that regard.
594 Bushwick Avenue, 2nd Floor
Hours: noon – 5pm
Loft 594 is a favorite of artists who like the experimental, communal and non-formal vibe of Loft. 594’s best signature show this summer was “Asshole in the Gallery” (June, 2013), where every piece that was in the gallery either shat, melted or dropped things onto people. According to Shepard, the show included someone standing in a corner with his crack hanging out of his jeans, which people poked and prodded.
17-17 Troutman, #329
Hours: Weekends noon – 6pm, or by appointment
Considered to be one of the more traditional galleries among the contemporary art community, Regina Rex is one of my favorites. They curate beautiful shows and the work I’ve recently seen there blew my mind. Especially the first solo sculpture exhibition by David Hardy, which showed that sculpture can be aesthetically beautiful and exciting. From monumental, experimental sculptures to enormous playful paintings, the work they show at Regina Rex is always high quality.
17-17 Troutman #258
Hours: Open Weekends 1pm-6pm or by appointment. Closed Mondays
Harbor is relatively new, but everything there seems to be carefully curated in a very professional manner. Also, you can’t help but fall in love with Alta, the knowledgeable and friendly curator, who enthusiastically explains the ins and outs of every artist and work shown at Harbor. Their last group show presented the works of six artists who redefined everyday materials in unusual ways, like using beads, feathers, and vinyl to create colorful collages and installations.
Parallel Art is an artist-run exhibition space committed solely to exhibiting exceptional visual art, and always seems to always have interesting shows and collaborations displayed in non-traditional ways, which makes for fun openings. One of their most interesting collaborations was called “What I Like About You,” curated by Julie Torres. In that collaboration, one artist picked their favorite artist whose work was related to theirs and exhibited small pieces by both of them side-by-side at this summer’s Bushwick Open Studios. Known for attracting big crowds and lots of energy, Parallel is a really fun place to check out.
Storefront Ten Eyck 324
10 Eyck St
tel. (917) 714-3813
Hours: Weekends, 1pm – 6pm and by appointment
Storefront Ten Eyck was started by Deborah Brown to show the work of emerging Bushwick artists and to revisit the work of established artists. Brown is a fixture in the Bushwick arts scene, along with being a board member of NURTUREart, BRIC Artist Advisory Council and Community Board 4. Storefront stands out from the usual gallery crowd by making itself a home to book launches, performance arts and other presentations, along with traditional art shows.
Luhring Augustine Bushwick
25 Knickerbocker Ave
Hours: Thursday – Sunday, noon – 6pm
A Bushwick-based offshoot of the Chelsea gallery of the same name. The new location, with the new paintings and ceramics by artist Josh Smith (eighteen one-color paintings, each five feet high by four feet wide) makes entering into this space a breathtaking adventure. It’s a large, industrial warehouse, almost raw, but it doesn’t prevent the gallery from being as glamorous as its Manhattan counterpart. The fact that it is located in Bushwick is even better in my opinion, as it attracts more people and feels more accessible. A recent positive review in the New Yorker backs up my admiration of the gallery.
56 Bogart (The BogArt)
This building was converted to artist production studio space back in 2005 and is now home to a number of art galleries, major non-profits and artists: Agape, CCCP Norther Lights, Et Al Projects, Fuchs Projects, Momenta Art, NurtureArt, Robert Henry Contemporary, Slag Gallery and TheodoreArt. All lofts have at least 108-inch windows, offering great light for the artists who range from painters to sculptors to photographers to jewelry designers and craftsmen. The BogArt provides a wonderfully welcoming art environment.