The Best Contemporary Art Galleries in Bushwick

Bushwick, Brooklyn graffiti street art
Bushwick, Brooklyn graffiti street art | © Randy Duchaine / Alamy Stock Photo
Kirsten Nicholas

Within the last five years, Brooklyn’s sprawling, industrial neighbourhood of Bushwick has slowly and steadily become New York’s epicentre of alternative art and culture. The area’s abundant warehouses have slowly turned into studios, galleries and non-profits that focus on artistic innovation, support and community. We showcase the best of Bushwick’s cutting-edge, risk-taking galleries that attract both emerging and established artists.

1. Robert Henry Contemporary

Art Gallery

Installation View of Overboard, Liz Jaff Exhibit
Image Courtesy of Robert Henry Contemporary, and the artist
Opened in 2009 by Henry Chung and namesake Robert Walden, Robert Henry Contemporary focuses on minimal, abstract and conceptual work that delights the eye and engages the mind. This penchant for formality has proclaimed their space as a place for discovery, which is through their roster of artists including obsessive mark-maker Robert Lansden, time-chronologist Elise Engler, system-explorer Derek Lerner, and paper-sculptor Liz Jaff. Their keen eye and dedication to finding committed artists has afforded Robert Henry Contemporary critical acclaim, earning them reviews in The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Artnet News and the Huffington Post. Robert Henry Contemporary is currently issuing limited edition multiples called Robert Henry Artifactsin conjunction with each solo exhibition. These multiples encapsulate the ideas of each exhibition for an extremely affordable price. Collectors can buy the ones they like best or purchase a subscription for the entire season and receive their choice of the edition number from each exhibition.

2. Slag Gallery

Art Gallery

Installation view of Dumit Gorzo Exhibition NO TITLE
Image Courtesy of Slag Gallery
Specializing in contemporary art, Slag Gallery positions itself as a laboratory where artists can experiment. Embracing all media, owner and director Irina Protopopescu pushes boundaries by exhibiting artists who explore social environments and geo-political issues. International in scope, Slag’s roster of artists includes provocative Israeli painter Naomi Safran-Hon, boundary-pushing Romanian Dumitru Gorzo and Istanbul-based conceptual artist Serkan Özkaya. Slag’s progressive program encourages critical thought and discourse through visually stimulating exhibits that require contemplation.

3. Clearing

Art Gallery

Since opening in 2011, CLEARING has garnered media attention and respect in the art world by exhibiting famed artists such as Jacob Kassay and Korakrit Arunanondchai. They consistently exhibit shows by promising emerging talent, which, in turn, earns them a spot at many acclaimed art fairs, including the Armory Show, NADA, and Paris’s FIAC. C L E A R I N G also has a Brussels branch in addition to their Bushwick space.

5. INTERSTATE

Art Gallery

Focused solely on emerging art, INTERSTATE has a penchant for experimental artists who are pushing the boundaries of medium and process. Their vast space consists of three areas: a traditional exhibition area upstairs, an unfinished basement downstairs, and an outdoor open-air courtyard. This expansive location not only provides young talent with the opportunity and the means to mount large-scale projects but also incites innovative programming. During summer 2014, INTERSTATE debuted a six-week curatorial program called U:L:O that invited emerging artists and curators to organize concurrent group shows in their differing spaces. This well-received endeavour garnered acclaimed press in Art in America.

6. Microscope Gallery

Art Gallery

Part of an art performance at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, New York
© dpa picture alliance archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Founded in 2010 by curators Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti, Microscope Gallery specializes in time-based work that focuses on sound, digital, performance and moving image art. Microscope does not shy away from the taboo. On the contrary, they host provocative creatives like Marni Kotak, whose first solo show consisted of a live birth performance, and Jonas Mekas, who exhibited heated personal emails between him and his previous dealer. In addition to mounting well-reviewed critical exhibitions, Microscope holds events during the evening to further facilitate discussion within the community. Their recent relocation and expansion to a two-story Bushwick warehouse will further allow Microscope to develop and strengthen their program without space constraints.
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