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.
Robert Henry Contemporary
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.
Artist Deborah Brown started Storefront Ten Eyck in 2013 as a place to exhibit emerging Bushwick artists and to present mid-career artists to a new audience. Her space, located in the heart of Bushwick, consists of a main exhibition area and a project room. Over the past year, Brown has proclaimed her dedication to the arts by mounting shows by Yale MFA Sculptors, Hans van Meeuwen, and Derek Fordjour. In addition to organizing visually engaging shows herself, she collaborates with guest curators and partners with neighbourhood initiatives such as the international exhibition Exchange Rates and Bushwick Open Studios.
Installation view of Exhibition ‘Epic Fail’ | Image Courtesy of Storefront Ten Eyck
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.
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.
Originally founded in Philadelphia in 1986, Momenta Art is an artist run, non-profit organization that aims to incite and nurture a contemporary artistic dialogue that helps transform society. Their recent move from Williamsburg to Bushwick not only illustrates the shifting arts community in Brooklyn but also provides ample space for Momenta to mount ambitious projects by promising talent like David Antonio Cruz. In addition to their exhibition program, Momenta offers Sunday salon meetings, a video library, an annual catalogue and an arts education initiative to help fulfil their mission. Advised by established artists R.H. Quaytman and Huma Bhabha, Momenta Art will continue to incite conversations for widespread impact.
Interior View of Momenta Art Image Courtesy the Gallery
Despite their newcomer status on the Bushwick gallery scene, SIGNAL‘s tightly curated shows, innovative events and uncanny residencies have earned them neighbourhood acclaim and widespread media attention. SIGNAL’s directors Kyle Jacques and Alexander John understand the importance of blending cultural mediums, such as visual art with music, and have done so with past installations. Make sure to visit the gallery’s backyard, which is home to The Perfect Nothing Catalog, a former abandoned shack that has been relocated and transformed into a store for artist-made objects.
MIRRORS by Tim Bruniges | Courtesy the Artist and SIGNAL
Located in a large basement in Bushwick’s famed gallery building, 16-year-old non-profit NURTUREart was founded by George J. Robinson in an effort to provide exhibition opportunities and resources for young artists and curators. Their core programmes are an online registry of artists and curators, an exhibiting programme with eight annual shows, monthly salons featuring notable guest speakers, educational outreach connecting students with artists and curators, and a range of public events that bring together their diverse community. NURTUREart is beloved and respected by the Brooklyn arts community, which is evident in their consistently popular programmes.
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Embodying the collaborative spirit of their vibrant arts community, Norte Maar was founded in 2004 by curator Jason Andrew and choreographer Julia K. Gleich. This non-profit organization breaks down the barriers between artistic disciplines by connecting artists, choreographers, composers, writers and other creatives. Challenging exhibits, immersive ballets, and lively readings highlight Norte Maar’s commitment to the visual, literary, and performing arts. Their innovative programming has garnered them widespread attention and has led to collaborations with the Brooklyn Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park.
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.
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.