As Manhattan rents skyrocketed in the 1980s and 1990s artists began fleeing to Brooklyn, in particular to the industrial district of Williamsburg along the East River, just one subway stop away. Today, a network of smart and experimental galleries has sprouted up here, offering an alternative to the more mainstream, expensive, and well-trod galleries of Soho, Chelsea, and uptown.
In the company of a practicing artist or art critic, we will explore the galleries of Williamsburg. Our conversation will focus on the artistic, social, and economic contexts that have shaped this part of the New York art world. We'll look at the diversity of the neighborhood, home to a mixed group of Germans, Hasidic Jews, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans, as well as the hipsters and alternative musicians. As we encounter a number of relatively obscure and experimental artists in the galleries, we'll pay particular attention to what constitutes mainstream versus fringe and look to uncover a number of surprises.
Our walk begins at Spoonbill and Sugartown Booksellers, a quirky arts bookstore co-owned by Miles Bellamy, the son of dealer Richard Bellamy. With its unique collection of books on the visual and graphic arts, as well as photography, the store has served as a grist for the mill for a neighborhood full of artists. We'll then make a circuit of some of the galleries, depending in part on current exhibitions and the role of the gallery in the current scene. Selections can include Pierogi, Artbreak, Front Room, Hogar Collection, and Cinders. Along the way, we'll recount some of the now famous figures who once made Williamsburg home, including Jack Goldstein, Art:21, and the gorilla art actions that once used the waterfront and piers as their canvases.
By the time we wrap up we'll have gotten a good sense of what's happening in the art scene in Williamsburg today.
|Duration: 3 hours|
Ethan Greenbaum received his MFA in painting from Yale University. He is a working artist who exhibits his work regularly in New York and abroad. He is a co-founder and frequent contributor to The Highlights (www.thehighlights.org), a website devoted to artist writings and projects. Ethan teaches art, design and art history at various universities in New York and the surrounding area including the Pratt Institute and Tyler school of Art. He also regularly leads tours in the Chelsea gallery district for Columbia University students. He is a recipient of the Barry Schactman Painting Prize and the Edward Albee Foundation Residency. Ethan lives and works in Brooklyn.
Elisa Decker has worked as an artist in Greenwich Village for several decades. In addition to showing her work in galleries throughout the city and internationally, being the recipient of many prestigious fellowships, including residencies at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, Elisa writes for Art in America. She curated the 19-person exhibition "Time Frames Marking Time," which was held at Westbeth Gallery May 24-June 15, 2014.
Adam Zucker is an artist, curator, and arts writer who lives and works in New York City. He received his B.A. in art and multimedia from the University of New Haven and is completing his Masters in Art History and Museum Studies at the City College of New York. As an artist, he has exhibited his art in galleries across the East Coast and has been featured in several publications, catalogs and journals. His writing has been published in Sculpture Magazine, and online at Berkshire Fine Arts. As an independent curator he is a founding member of a curatorial alternative art space in Bushwick, Brooklyn called et al Projects where he works with contemporary artists to create multi-disciplinary events and exhibitions. He has curated a retrospective of the work of the American modernist painter Irving Kriesberg at the Longview Museum of Fine Art in Longview TX, and will curate another museum scale exhibition on a group of renowned American Figurative Expressionists in Provincetown, Massachusetts in the summer of 2013. Adam was born in New York City and enjoys the excitement and fast pace of one of the greatest art scenes in the world.
Lauren van Haaften-Schick
Lauren van Haaften-Schick is an independent curator, artist and writer from New York City. Her current research considers the intersection of art, economics and the law. She is a 2012 Curator in
Residence with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts’ Art & Law Residency. Recent curated exhibitions include “Canceled” at the Center for Book Arts, New York, “Directly in front of you” at Vox Populi,
Philadelphia, “Get on the Block” at Camel Art Space and “Matinee” at St. Cecilia’s Gallery, Brooklyn. Recent workshops and other projects include “The Gallerist Programme Workshop” at de Appel arts
centre, Amsterdam, the e-flux Time/Store, and “Market, Alternative” at Trade School, New York. She was the founding director of two curator and artist collective galleries in Northampton, MA and in Philadelphia, PA. Lauren held professional positions at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery and BravinLee programs in the Chelsea gallery district of New York from 2006-2011, in addition to contributing to public art projects and not-for-profit development. She holds a BA in Art History and Studio Art from Hampshire College.
Gabriela Vainsencher is an Argentinean-born Israeli artist who has been living and working in Brooklyn since 2005. Her drawings, installations and videos have been shown in galleries across the US, as well as in museums, galleries, and art fairs in France, England, Germany, Norway, Canada, and Israel. Her most recent project is The François Vase, a work for video projection and live string quartet, which she created in collaboration with her husband, composer Daniel Fox.
Vainsencher is the founder of the Morning Drawing Residency, writes about art for The Huffington Post and Title Magazine, and occasionally teaches art at Williams College, in Williamstown, MA. She received her B.Ed in Fine Arts at The Midrasha School of Art in Israel and is a current MFA candidate at Hunter College in New York City.