If you read Brooklyn Spaces online or have a copy of Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, published last year, you know the site’s founder, Oriana Leckert, has a lock on the quirkiest, coolest places in the borough. Now she has teamed up with veteran tour guide Jonah Levy to make some of those Brooklyn spaces more physically and financially accessible.
This week, even more so than usual, art aficionados are really spoiled for choice in New York. Not only is Frieze Fair going on, but NADA (the New Art Dealers Alliance) returned to Pier 36 on the Lower East Side today. With 105 exhibitors showing through May 8, the selection can be quite overwhelming, so we went ahead and did the work for you and picked out six of our favorite exhibits.
Opening night for In the Raw: The Female Gaze on the Nude (on view now through May 21 at The Untitled Space) was predictably packed, and not just because it’s Frieze week and the gallery was giving out free booze. I’d like to think that people were there for the actual art exhibition, which was billed as an all-female, all-nude art show where 20 women artists, aged 21 to 60-something, from Russia, Chile, and beyond, “explore a perspective less chartered, that of a woman’s eye on another,” and in the process “challenge the status quo with a liberating and authentic beauty.” Or maybe they were there because Victoria de Lesseps (daughter of Real Housewives “star” Countess LuAnn de Lesseps) is also on the roster of participating artists. Who could tell?
Indira Cesarine, who curated the multimedia art show along with Coco Dolle of Milk and Night, told me that she felt the exhibition was a “timely” one. Dolle told Whitehot magazine that the work is “saleable.” They’re in no way wrong.
With all the buildings going up on the Lower East Side, it’s not uncommon to come across scraps of metal or other weird objects left behind at construction sites. But picking them up and using them for artistic inspiration? Denise Triezman, a Chilean artist, has been collecting found objects all over the city for the past five years, hoarding many of her treasures in an ever-growing storage facility. Now she brings some of the results to Cuchifritos, Essex Market’s resident gallery run by Artists Alliance Inc.
Williamsburg fave The Sketchbook Project is riding high–they recently hit 35,000 sketchbooks (that’s a lot of doodles) and they’ve also finally re-opened their storefront, the Brooklyn Art Library, in a new, bigger location at 28 Frost Street.
As we reported back in February, the move from North 3rd Street was partly pushed by a rent hike, but it also represents a shift in culture for the Brooklyn Art Library. Of course, they’re still sticking to the core model of inviting anyone and everyone (for a $25 fee) to fill out a Moleskine sketchbook, adding their doodles and dreams to the collection forevermore.
Years ago, Adam Yokell was sitting in the art library of London’s Victoria and Albert museum, applying for an LSAT course.
Maybe it wasn’t the most likely place for a future lawyer to begin his career, but then again he didn’t become just any lawyer–until recently, he was the in-house counsel for Artsy, an online platform that connects artists and galleries with collectors. And now he’s striking out on his own to follow a long-time goal, opening a small gallery called Hometown in Bushwick.
Last week, when Jeff Koons spoke about an unrealized pet project of his– a giant, actual crane holding up a replica of a “choo choo train”– and casually estimated that it would cost somewhere around $25 million to $50 million to produce, I couldn’t help LOL’ing.
“I never think about failure,” Koons told the crowd at FLAG, where several of his sculptural pieces are on view through May 14 as part of Cecily Brown, Jeff Koons, Charles Ray. “I let things resonate and when I’m ready to make a gesture, I just do it.”
Tonight, you can catch original works by no fewer than 17 street artists all in one place. In an effort to bring attention (and raise some cash money) for her work-in-progress documentary, Street Heroines, filmmaker Alexandra Henry is hosting a one-night-only pop-up exhibition and fundraiser with the help of some of local female street artists including Danielle Mastrion (you may recall her Beastie Boy murals in the East Village), Alice Mizrachi, and Lexi Bella. With the help of Howl Happening, Rabbithole Projects in Dumbo will play host to the free event, which starts at 7:30 pm.
Rafael Fuchs has lived in Bushwick for the last 11 years. For the first five, Fuchs worked as an independent artist and since 2012 he’s run Fuchs Projects, a gallery for showing work by himself and other artists (international and local) inside the BogArt, a building that on weekends is packed with streams of visitors headed to galleries with names like Soho20. An Israeli photographer who’s lived in New York since 1985, Fuchs arrived in Bushwick just prior to what he calls the “art explosion,” as just another newcomer looking for cheap rent. His neighborhood stomping grounds over the years have been mostly confined to the area around the Morgan stop. Beyond that zone of familiarity is what Fuchs described to me as “deep Bushwick.”
“The Olsen Twins Hiding from the Paparazzi” has gone from being a wild idea crowded-funded by Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen (the comedic duo behind the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum) to becoming a real brick-and-mortar affair on Grand Street, right in the heart of Williamsburg (where else?).
Next week during passover some Lower East Siders may feel something missing from their annual celebration– for the first time in ninety years, Streit’s Matzo at 150 Rivington Street is closed. Adding insult to injury, its old building with the famous red “Streit’s” sign above it is slated for demolition that same week, to make way for a seven-story luxury condo building.
Since we last caught up with Betty Tompkins– the downtown artist best known for her “Fuck Paintings,” she’s been doing what an established artist should be doing, showing her work at art shows and galleries galore. But for most of her career, as we learned, Tompkins was subject to censorship, sexism, and flat-out rejection not just from gallerists and the art world, but from first- and second-wave feminists too. Nevertheless, Tompkins kept painting nether regions and money shots, all of it sourced from porn. “The problem is, I’m a slut for painting,” she said.
We heard all this and more at “A Woman’s Greatest Weapon is Her Tongue,” a Q&A held in conjunction with Tompkins’s new solo exhibition of “Word Paintings,” which depict some of the “awfully familiar” words used to describe women. (“WOMEN Words Phrases Stories” is on view at the FLAG Art Foundation through May 14).