rafael fuchs

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Mastermind of Controversial ‘Bushwick 200’ Project Tries to ‘Heal the Gap’

Grattan St._096 Bushwick_ Rafael Fuchs_DSCF7140

“Grattan St.” June 11, 2006 by Rafael Fuchs (Image courtesy of Fuchs Projects)

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.”

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Bushwick Open Studios Revamp Underway to Bring in ‘Natives,’ Dodge Corporate Interests

Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (Photo: Jordan Abosch)

Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (Photo: Jordan Abosch)

Wednesday night, Bushwick Open Studios organizers convened at the local community and activist space Mayday, for a “town hall meeting,” and their first coordinated public appearance since Arts in Bushwick (AiB) announced they were moving the annual arts festival from the June date it held for eight years to a later one in October. News of the change-up was shocking for many community members and while some gallerists and artists expressed enormous disappointment, AiB was adamant that the move was intended to bring BOS back to its roots. As the fest’s organizers told us earlier this month, the festival had been “co-opted by many different commercial interests.”

When B+B asked at the meeting if there had been a breaking point, Laura Braslow, a longtime Bushwick resident who’s been involved in organizing BOS for the decade of its existence, told us: “It’s been several years of this trajectory, largely since the end of the recession. There’s stuff that’s happened structurally, but really a lot of those changes that you see in the city as a whole are playing out locally, and we’re trying to figure out how this organization can accomplish its mission in that context.” In short, BOS was suffering not only from a kind of corporate robbery, but also from their own inadequate attempts to reach out to the community as a whole. And in the highly charged atmosphere of a neighborhood in the midst of one of the harsher examples of gentrification in Brooklyn, neither of those things were going to fly for much longer.

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‘The Bushwick 200’ Is Dead – For Now

An image posted in response to the event. via becausecapitalism.org.

An image posted in response to the event. via becausecapitalism.org.

A Bushwick-based photographer, hoping to drum up some hype for the nabe with a list of 200 influencers… what could go wrong?

Earlier this week Rafael Fuchs, owner of an eponymous gallery in The BogArt, launched an event page announcing a party to begin his newest project, an effort to highlight “the 200 most influential people in 2016” in Bushwick.

But after a heated debate erupted on the page about art’s role in gentrification and who gets to define the community, Fuchs backtracked and canceled the event. Per the Facebook page:

For the sake of peace in the community, we are canceling the event. 
We Don’t wish to cause any trauma to anyone and any grief to the community, neither to create a platform that will ignite unnecessary violence.
We cannot tolerate any racial and hate notions and comments from anyone.
Fuchs projects is an art gallery, not a social organization, and we will continue our program, exhibiting innovative and challenging works in different media, especially photography.

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Gallery’s ‘Bushwick 200’ List Sparks White-Hot Gentrification Debate

An image posted in response to the event, via becausecapitalism.org.

An image posted in response to the event, via becausecapitalism.org.

If you thought the season for “top 10” lists was over, think again: a Bushwick art gallery, Fuchs Projects, has stirred up some controversy with its planned “Bushwick 200” list.

Last week, the gallery announced that it was set to identify “the 200 most influential people in Bushwick in 2016 in the Arts, Restaurants and Bars, Music, performing arts, Entertainment, Health, Real Estate, Gaming, Design and Hi-tech.” The “comprehensive list” of those who are “shaping the neighborhood of Bushwick” and “transforming the conventional” is being compiled “with the help of more than a dozen experts in different fields of art and commerce,” according to the gallery.

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Rafael Fuchs Turned Some ‘Bitter Incidents’ With Landlords Into Art

(Courtesy Fuchs Projects)

(Courtesy Fuchs Projects)

Like to grouse about your landlord? Why not do it over Kosher rugelach at an upcoming art opening?

Later this month at his Bushwick gallery, Rafael Fuchs will show new work “based on true stories” about North Brooklyn’s Jewish landlords. For the appropriately titled “LandLords” series, the artist digitally manipulated photographs he had taken of landlords — wearing Shabbat fur hats and following after their children, among other things — by adding imagery, writing, and portions of other photographs. One print features a naked woman with an airplane about to fly into her ass, with a couple landlords in traditional Hasidic garb in the background.
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