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Powrplnt Grows Its ‘Outsider’ Space for Contemporary Art

Raul De Nieves "Fat Man" 2010 (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Raul De Nieves “Fat Man” 2010 (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Over the weekend fancy people in an “acquisitive mood” milled around Frieze Art Fair, discreetly making it rain while rubbing shoulders with art dealers, the dapperly dressed, and a donkey named Sir Gabriel– an animal brought there by an artist who  recently broke a personal record when his statue of Hitler sold for $17.2 million at auction.

Back in Bushwick, however, less absurd things were going down at a very different kind of art happening. As far as we can tell, there wasn’t a VIP section at the opening night of Body Language, the second art show to happen at Angelina Dreem’s art and technology educational hub, Powrplnt, and the first one dedicated to paintings and other 2D works by emerging and established artists.

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Powrplnt, the Netty Hang Center for Bushwick Teens, is Officially Turned On

It's offish, Powrplnt is open (Photo: Nicole Disser)

It’s offish, Powrplnt is open (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Powrplnt– the ambitious non-profit pet project of artist, proud weirdo, and retired Bushwick party girl Angelina Dreem– has officially flipped on the lights and begun watering the plants, so to speak. “Hey–” she started, glancing over at Jake Sollins, one of the teachers setting up to teach teens about Photoshop and Illustrator for a class called “How to Make Money.”

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Bushwick Art Scene Champion Norte Maar Has a New Home in East New York

"Rooftops of Cypress Hills" (Photo by Jason Andrew)

“Rooftops of Cypress Hills” (Photo by Jason Andrew)

“Bushwick is on its own, she doesn’t need our help anymore,” laughed Jason Andrew, co-founder of Norte Maar. “She really doesn’t need our help anymore.” Though neither he nor his partner, Julia K. Gleich, have quit the neighborhood entirely, they’ve taken what to many was a quintessentially Bushwick arts organization (see: Beat Nite, the biannual art party at galleries and studios throughout the neighborhood the organization has begotten) and moved its headquarters to East New York. “Our plight is the same as everybody else’s in New York, we just want to try and find a way to stay here,” Jason said.

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Bushwick Artists: Maybe We Should All Just Buy a Building Together?

The crowd at 108 Starr Street. (Photo: Alexandra Glorioso)

The crowd at 108 Starr Street. (Photo: Alexandra Glorioso)

Six years ago, Josefina Blanc, a former photography editor at Art & Commerce, found herself priced out of Bushwick when the rent on the 10,000 sq. ft. loft shot up from $2,500 to $8,000. Her husband, a performance artist now represented by a gallery in Chelsea, had spent years renovating the space with the understanding that, in exchange, the rent would remain stable, but efforts to appeal to their landlord were in vain. The couple decided to call it quits and moved to South Carolina that year.
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