Bushwick is changing fast, and its gallery scene is changing along with it. While it has gained a few big galleries, it has been gradually losing the kind of young-and-trying-something spaces where thoughtful emerging artists can actually get their foot in the door. Enter a space like Secret Dungeon.
An artist-run collaborative, Secret Dungeon has been quietly exhibiting art in Bushwick for the past year, representing the next generation of the neighborhood’s evolving art scene. What makes it different? It’s under the radar—way under the radar. In fact, it is not exactly easy to find, though definitely worth it once you get there.
The Secret Dungeon space is inside a storage unit located within a private parking garage. You either have to call a number from a flyer to be let in, or have a strong sense of direction and the temerity to walk through an unlabeled garage door into a dark and murky concrete bunker.
Until now, its existence has been passed around by word-of-mouth (“Call me when you’re standing in front of Roberta’s”), and ideally not known to too many people, so that it doesn’t become a bother to the landlord.
As for what the gallery exhibits in its modest 166 square feet, the program varies. Secret Dungeon employs a democratic process to propose or veto exhibitions, its members taking turns curating thoughtful solo and group exhibitions. More than anything, members explain, they are looking to support the production of new works that would be unlikely to find full realization elsewhere in the city.
The plan seems to be working. Secret Dungeon has put together a varied program that has spotlighted young artists, often women, who haven’t necessarily been exhibited much, but deserve a shot. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed, and have lately been picking up steam: The last exhibition, “STAMINA,” featured the work of two very different artists, Liza Buzytsky and Kawita Vatanajyankur, and attracted the attention of the New York Times, in particular for the endurance performance work of Thai-Australian artist Vatanajyankur.
For the curious, this Sunday, October 29, will mark the opening of the gallery’s next project, “alone walker,” the first solo presentation of artist Jackie Furtado. Curated by Gregory Gentert, the photographic installation includes an architectural intervention into the gallery’s confined space, aiming to “dissolve the site, family, and photograph into an amorphous spatial experience,” according to a press release. It just might help make Secret Dungeon a little less secret.
“alone walker: Jackie Furtado,” a new exhibition at Secret Dungeon, 236 Moore Street, Storage Closet #48, Brooklyn, NY 11206, October 29–December 10, 2017.
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