Can art thrive in the land of startups and $10 coffee? Neither is known to be particularly art friendly, so the question seemed relevant as I headed over to DUMBO. Dotting the neighborhood are several non-profits (and a few for-profit spaces), many of which are beneficiaries of the space subsidy program run by Two Trees, the largest (and arguably only) arts-friendly developer in the city. The program offers these spaces rents at reduced retail prices. (Disclaimer: Art F City is a space subsidy program participant.)
This fall, the proliferation of non-profits in the neighborhood hosts more than its share of politically oriented shows. Following my last gallery round-up in the West Village, I decided to cruise the Brooklyn waterfront on a Saturday afternoon to see what these non-profits to offer for their fall shows. And I was not disappointed. Here’s what I found:
Last month, Corinna Kirsch pointed out to us that NYC’s art scene is getting pretty goth this fall. A quick glance at the exhibition thumbnails below reveals this spooky prophecy was dead-accurate: graveyards, skulls, and darkness predominate.
Tuesday night, recount the psychedelic adventures of Bruce Conner at MoMA. Wednesday, the domestic gets the spotlight with projects from Chloë Bass and Oksana Todorova at CUNY and A+E Studios, respectively. Expect plenty of creep-out factor from the latter’s biomorphic, toxic household items. Thursday, Julie Mehretu’s occult-influenced new body of work takes her practice in a darker direction, and Irene Lusztig lectures about conjuring empathy from (probably) eerie archival material.
The weekend gets even more macabre. Brian Andrew Whiteley is displaying his infamous tombstone at Christopher Stout Gallery Friday night, while Ghost of a Dream builds their own dream haunted house from the ruins of art fairs Saturday at Smack Mellon. And of course, Wickerham & Lomax’s Local Atonement: A Nutshell Study of Unexplained Death opens at American Medium. Sunday, Mana Contemporary’s fall open house encompasses just about everything under the sun—from Marilyn Monroe’s poetry to Israeli textiles—but of course a little momento mori content as well. Andy Warhol’s skull paintings will be on view. 30 years after his death, Warhol still has his finger on the undead pulse of the art world zeitgeist
We all talk about how the art world shuts down in August, but a brief look at Friday’s schedule shows how much of a fallacy that’s becoming. Bushwick is full of openings that night from Signal’s exhibition of artists to respond to stories penned by three writers to Hood Gallery’s two person show for Tim Long and Jack Shaefer looking at what they call “self-defense prosthetics (canes, slingshots etc.)
It’s also still hot as hell, so we’ve recommended a few summertime screenings. The real trick to dealing with that, though, might be to just get out of the city for a week.
AFC is a lucky participant in Two Trees’ Cultural Space Subsidy Program. That means we’re one of the arts organizations that benefits from more than 50,000 square feet of prime DUMBO real estate rented below market-rate to nonprofits, professional artists, and other groups who otherwise couldn’t afford the neighborhood.
We really love being between Downtown Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, and we’re probably some of the few people in the city who can say we’re lucky to have an awesome landlord. If you’re an artist or arts organization looking for a studio, office, or gallery and think you would qualify, we encourage you to apply for the program and be our new neighbors!
Here at AFC, we’re big fans of Two Trees efforts to grow the cultural community in DUMBO by providing affordable workspace for artists and organizations. As a participants ourselves, we can testify to the fact that the below market rents offered to awardees can be transformative. The workshops, open house and ongoing programming we run simply wouldn’t be possible without it.
Each year, the organization reviews applications for the 50,000 square feet of space it’s set aside to be rented at below market rates. Two Trees has subsidized space for artists like Jeanine Oleson and Eric Lopresti (both are IMG MGMT alumni) as well as non-profit organizations like Art in General, Triangle and NYFA. We want to see DUMBO continue to thrive as a destination for community-focused art. If for no other reason, because we work here and we like having good neighbors.
You can see the full guidelines and apply here. You have until July 15th and will be notified by October 1st. There are simply too few of these programs in NYC, so get in there. The only thing you have to lose is your far too expensive workspace.
Be still my heart: Tracey Emin and David Bowie interviewed each other in 2001 about fame, art history, drinking, drugs, and other great things. [The Guardian]
And in other obligatory David Bowie linkage, WTF? “Gates” McFadden (best known as Star Trek’s “dancing doctor” Beverly Crusher) led a prior life as Cheryl McFadden, the director of choreography and puppet movement for Bowie’s 1986 camp-classic Labyrinth. [Mental Floss]
From a $7.7 million Felix Gonzalez-Torres heading to the museum Walmart built to a massive gift of Pop Art classics in Chicago, here’s an exhaustive roundup of the major museum acquisitions happening in the United States. [Observer]
I fulfill my dream of writing architecture criticism (it’s much more fun to be snarky) in my new column with Baltimore City Paper, Degenerate City. Mostly, I’m so happy I got to use the headline “Both of the harbor’s holes are about to get stuffed with massive erections”. [City Paper]
Uh, the hurricane-damaged L train tubes connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn might be closed for THREE YEARS. I can’t begin to imagine what a Williamsburg/Bushwick without subway access to Manhattan would even look like. [Gothamist]
But here’s some good news for transit users in the Long Island boroughs: a streetcar running from Astoria to Sunset Park has been deemed “financially viable”. The line would connect booming waterfront neighborhoods that presently have limited Manhattan-centric subway access, including DUMBO, were AFC is headquartered. [Next City]
Champagne Life, Saatchi’s first all-woman show, as described by CEO Nigel Hurst: ““It’s an ironic, hopefully lighthearted title, one that throws into contrast the long lonely hours that these women artists have to work in their studios, against the glamour of the art world, with its endless launches and art fairs and parties.” I’m not sure why I can’t read that quote with a straight face, but after three attempts I ended up laughing. [Vogue]
Elizabeth Verdow, a retired art teacher, left the Detroit Institute of the Arts $1.71 million. The majority of that endowment is dedicated to acquiring contemporary art. This is awesome, but how did the retired 86-year-old art teacher end up with almost $2 million? [Detroit Free Press]
Today is “Facebook Nudity Day,” a protest of Facebook’s censorship policies. Organizers encourage users to post images of naked bodies to Facebook. Something… something… Jerry Saltz joke. [Facebook]
Skip the blockbuster museum shows and blue chip galleries; what makes New York so great is access to the under-exposed. Tonight, hear a lecture at Asia Art Archive in America about the little-known influence of Seattle modernists on the career of art star Yayoi Kusama. Tuesday, go check out poetry and art at Outlet—part of an exhibition I’m convinced is on the cutting edge of a sea change regarding artists’ relationship with place. Wednesday, traverse a secret garden for a chance to see a performance by Otion Front Studio artist in residence La Martelle, which will be performed for just two groups of twelve people at a time. Thursday, go play a quick game of basketball with the New Art Dealers Association. Then, head to Rhizome for a lecture about the emerging ontology of digital painting or hop on the F train to check out off-the-beaten-path art spaces in DUMBO’s First Thursday Gallery Walk. Friday night, head to Tender Trap in Greenpoint, where bi-coastal gallery Superchief is throwing a pop-up exhibition of Penelope Gazin’s trippy horror-pop illustrations. And Saturday, load up on affordable multiples and zines from DIY presses from across the East Coast at The Silent Barn. Some of the most talented young artists aren’t Instagram celebrities, they’re distributing their work with Xerox machines and silk screens.
A new exhibition space, which bills itself as a “concept store”, opened last month in DUMBO. Usagi NY combines a gallery, cafe, and library in a crisp and surprisingly functional 2,800 sq ft space designed by Sou Fujimoto. The cafe and reading area are quietly tucked in the back, resulting in a gallery that isn’t too cluttered but still manages to feel more gregarious than the average white-box space. It’s a rare example of a multi-use space where the artwork doesn’t feel like an afterthought, which is an accomplishment. Their inaugural show is organized around the Japanese designer Kenya Hara’s theory that the color white inspires creativity—along with a unifying thread of projects that involve commerce, research, or technology.
A map of the potential surface rail line, from Next New York, via Curbed
Brooklyn and Queens could be getting a streetcar or light rail line. The line might run from Astoria to Sunset Park, roughly tracing the path of the East River, connecting waterfront areas where new construction is booming. This would be great news for people who live or work in neighborhoods like Red Hook or DUMBO, which have limited subway access to the rest of Long Island. One suggestion for planners: go with fully-dedicated right-of-way light rail. Can you imagine a streetcar trying to navigate New York City’s double parked cars or gridlock? [Capital]
A lawsuit has been filed against fashion designer Jeremy Scott and Moschino by Detroit graffiti artist Joseph Tierney (AKA Rime). The lawsuit alleges Scott copied a 2012 artwork Rime completed for The Seventh Letter art organization onto pieces in Moschino’s Fall/Winter 2015 collection. The lawsuit even goes as far as to blame Katy Perry’s Met Ball look, wearing a piece resembling Rime’s work, which got the Moschino muse on a number of “worst dressed” lists: “[Rime’s] credibility as a graffiti artist was compromised by inclusion in such a crass and commercial publicity stunt.” [Vogue UK]
Umm el-Fahem Gallery is thriving—despite being located in an impoverished, segregated Arab Israeli town where it must censor nudity or political content. The unlikely success story is attributed to curator Said Abu Shakra’s strategies to make the gallery more accessible to the town’s poor residents and the neighborhood more accessible to art audiences. [Forward]
“I needed to know if they had ever been accused of cultural appropriation, if they had ever had models walk down the runway in feathers or headdresses. I needed to find out what their environmental track record.” The inside story on Valentino’s “respectful” collaboration with Métis artist Christi Belcourt — creating fabric samples inspired by her National Gallery of Canada-owned painting, Water Song, for its recent haute couture collection — suggests fashion houses are finally realizing misrepresentation and cultural appropriation are bad business. [The Globe and Mail]
Are artist residencies always worth it? Not always. Artist Jeriah Hildwine says it’s a personal decision, but dedicates at least 4000 words in this two part series to helping readers figure it out. [Bad at Sports, pt 1, pt 2]
The New York Times picks up Hyperallergic’s story on how The Metropolitan Opera will launch a new production of Verdi’s “Otello” next month without using black face, as has been traditional for over a century. Good on them. [The New York Times]
The recently-called Canadian federal election promises a number of changes: the chance to finally get Stephen Harper out of office, whose right-wing agenda in the past ten years have led to a stellar environmental record that includes withdrawing Canada from the Kyoto Protocol and silencing scientists working on federally-funded research. So consider this the first piece of wearable #elxn42 protest: a “My Prime Minister Embarrasses Me” tote bag by Toronto-based artist Pascal Paquette. [Art Metropole]
“There’s absolutely no sign that says kids aren’t supposed to climb on it!”—an adorable controversy is brewing after a 7 year old boy trapped himself in a piece of public art in Hilton Head, NC. [WJCL Savannah]
Related: Here’s a short list of public art that people have hated. [Financial Times]
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has released a study that looks at diversity in the staffing of museums. The results are predictably shitty—white people dominate the staffing in nearly every field but low level security positions—but there is a sliver of hope. As a country we’re more ethnically diverse than we were in the 1930’s so the hiring pool is wider. [Hyperallergic]
Hasso Plattner, a German billionaire, is threatening to move his extensive art collection out of Germany in protest of new legislation that places limits on the export of “cultural treasures”. He had planned to donate his collection to The Barberini Museum—a reconstruction of an 18th century palace in Potsdam that Plattner commissioned. Now, he is debating a new museum in Silicon Valley. His rationale: Germany’s new restrictions on exporting artwork and antiquities would make it harder for The Barberini Museum to sell individual pieces from his collection to raise funds. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? [artnet News]