Though it had already declared Brooklyn’s artist-populated Bushwick neighborhood “arguably the coolest place on the planet” two years ago, the New York Times paid another visit to the Brooklyn warehouse district recently, and the resulting Fashion & Style story by Jed Lipinksi is full of reheated insights into the neighborhood’s booming gallery scene — which has recently welcomed Manhattan transplants Luhring Augustine and Kesting/Ray. Readers moderately engaged in the New York art world will find the article very gratifying — if also quite grating — for purporting to reveal so many things that we already knew about Bushwick galleries.
1. Bushwick Galleries Are Cold: Because of thrifty landlords. “Hunched inside a plywood-and-plexiglass booth, John A. Holt, 63, was bundled in a gray hoodie, camouflage pants and army-issue leg warmers. It was freezing inside the basement gallery. Mr. Holt was not the only one who was chilly.”
2.Bushwick Gallerists Drink a Lot: Because they’re carefree young hipsters — also because they’re cold. “Across the bare fluorescent-lighted hallway at Agape Enterprise, Kikuko Tanaka was wrapped in a gray wool blanket, sipping hot apple cider spiked with Meyer’s rum.”
3. Bushwick Gallerists Have Beards: Because they’re hipsters, remember? “It’s not a scene made up of rich-kid gallerists or social-climbing dealers, but free-spirited folks like Tom Weinrich, 29, a bearded graduate of the School for Visual Arts.”
4. Bushwick’s Gallery Boom Calls for Hokey Metaphors: “Temperatures during gallery-hopping hours can dip to beer-cooler levels, but the scene is starting to heat up in more ways than one.” Groan.
5. Bushwick is the New Soho/East Village/Chelsea/Lower East Side/Williamsburg: “As with SoHo, Chelsea and the Lower East Side before it, Bushwick is shaping up as the city’s next gallery district.” Incidentally, this article marks the official beginning of the “Philadelphia is the new Bushwick” memes.
6. Bushwick Gallery-Goers Are Also Bearded Hipsters Who Drink a Lot: “[Weinrich's gallery Interstate Projects'] nine shows have drawn a scruffy crowd prone to fisherman’s sweaters, watch caps and paint-speckled Carhartts, not exactly the kind that buy art, even when priced as low as $500.” At another show, “Manhattan gallerists and collectors in fur coats mingled with Brooklyn bloggers and performance artists in thrift store attire.”
7. Bushwick Galleries are Icky: They are down “urine-scented hallways” in “bedbug-infested lofts.”
8. Bushwick Galleries Are Sometimes in Queens: Because, sorry Philly, but Ridgewood is actually the next Bushwick. “Though technically in Ridgewood, Queens, a more upscale neighborhood to the east, new spaces like Valentine are considered part of the Bushwick gallery boom.”
9. Bushwick’s Greatest Concentration of Galleries is in 56 Bogart Street: “The center of the action is at 56 Bogart, and as with any gallery nexus, it comes alive during openings. One Friday in February, a few hundred people descended on Studio 10, a first-floor gallery dedicated to sound and video art.”
10. Bushwick Galleries Are Only for the Adventurous: “And while you won’t see packs of high-end art buyers (who are in the city this week for the Armory Show) crossing the East River to see these galleries, intrepid collectors from Manhattan are making the journey.” And now, Bushwick is also for the few people who read the Times.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Image: Detail of artwork by Skewville, courtesy the artist and Factory Fresh.)