Forget Chelsea—The 15 Brooklyn Art Galleries You Need to Know Now
See which art spaces are shaking things up in the kale chip–eating borough.
With Manhattan property prices soaring (thanks to all the foreign investment in luxury condos), it’s no wonder that small and large galleries, both commercial spaces and start-ups, as well as several non-profit organizations, have set up shop in New York’s hipper borough, Brooklyn. Perhaps pretty soon we’ll be seeing more blue chip galleries taking note of Luhring Augustine’s expansion and opening bigger project spaces in these “outskirts.” But before the Chelsea scene migrates across the river, here’s a look at the 15 Brooklyn gallery spaces you need to know. (For more artnet news coverage on Brooklyn art galleries, see Oh Yes, Brooklyn Gallerists You Need to Know, Part 1 and Yes, More Brooklyn Gallerists You Need to Know.)
1. Real Fine Arts
This Greenpoint gallery was founded by Tyler Dobson and Ben Morgan-Cleveland in 2008. The duo grew up in New England and moved to New York to attend Pratt Institute. While both were studying for their BFAs in 2006, they worked as art handlers at Maccarone Gallery, among other places, and made art on the side. In 2008, Dobson and Morgan-Cleveland founded Real Fine Arts, a place where they could stage art-related activities for themselves and their friends. The gallery works closely with Yuji Agematsu, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Jana Euler, New Museum Triennialist Lena Henke (see The New Museum Triennial Offer a Dazzling and Dystopian Vision of the Future), Mathieu Malouf, and Sam Pulitzer, among others.
The Brussels and Brooklyn-based gallery founded by Olivier Babin boasts a relatively new 5,000 square-foot space in the neighborhood of Bushwick, a venue formerly used as a truck repair depot. Artists on the gallery’s roster include Harold Ancart, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Aaron Augjla, Sebastian Black, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Ryan Foerster, Calvin Marcus, Marina Pinsky, Loïc Raguénès, and Lili Reynaud-Dewar. It looks like the gallery has caught the wind in its sails; it’s had booths at both the Armory Show and Independent art fair this year.
3. The Journal Gallery
The zine-turned-arts magazine opened its gallery doors more than a decade ago in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood. Now situated in the ever-hip neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Michael Nevin, the founder, and his wife and partner, Julia Dippelhofer, support undervalued mid-career artists as well as young and emerging artists. At the moment, the gallery represents Graham Collins, Chris Succo, Kika Karadi, and Colin Snapp.
4. 99 Cent Plus Gallery
The storefront gallery looks like a neighborhood dollar store (which it was), but it’s actually an all-inclusive exhibition space, studio, and boutique. Founded by artists Simran Johnston, Zoe Alexander Fisher, and Riley Storm, the gallery’s debut show featured 99 works all under the price of $1. The venue also houses a small design shop called HANDJOB Gallery, manned by Ms. Fisher, which sells limited edition artworks.
The four founders of Cleopatra’s Gallery—Bridget Donahue (formerly a director at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, who also owns her own Lower East Side space), Bridget Finn (co-director at Mitchell-Innes & Nash), Colleen Grennan (associate director at Andrew Kreps Gallery), and Erin Somerville (deputy director at White Columns)—wanted to create a space that wasn’t dictated by professionalism and commercial value. Founded in 2008, the gallery has staged many idiosyncratic exhibitions featuring such artists as Irving Feller, a neighbor who owned a fur shop around the corner and made black-and-white drawings, and Cary Loren, a lyricist for the Detroit punk band Destroy All Monsters; Loren once transformed the gallery’s space into a lagoon.
6. Interstate Projects
This Bushwick gallery founded by SVA graduate Tom Weinrich opened in 2011 as a gallery to critical acclaim. However, the warehouse space’s experimental shows have not been able to sustain the gallery financially. In January, Interstate announced it will become a nonprofit organization to hedge against the speculative and over-saturated contemporary art market. Past shows have included New York–based artist Nick DeMarco, Swedish artist Oskar Nilsson, and net artist Daniel Levya.
7. Luhring Augustine
The blue chip gallery opened its project space in 2012 with an inaugural show of pioneering video artist Charles Atlas (see At Luhring Augustine, Charles Atlas Delivers a Fantabulous View of Failure). Many people wondered what this meant for the Bushwick area. Home to DIY venues and scrappy bars, the neighborhood can be expecting many more ill-fitting but expensive suits and black Escalades in its future. Along with its storage area, the new space occupies a whopping 10,200 square feet.
Founded by Joshua Schwartz and Kyle Smith in 2013, the new Williamsburg gallery made a splash with its first exhibition, titled “Wet!,” which showcased playful paintings, carpets, and painted mirrors by Dutch artist Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk. The name of the gallery is an obscure term that means “half of a whole.” The name is fitting for the gallery, since in addition to running a gallery, the duo still operates the design and marketing company Lanningsmith, which was their first joint venture. For upcoming exhibitions, you can expect a wide array of artists and practices.
Run by Jesse Greenberg and MacGregor Harp, 247365 is a gallery in Brooklyn’s “Donut District” (self-proclaimed by the three galleries situated in the borough’s micro-neighborhood). For its February show last year, Josh Kline (a New Museum Triennialist) curated a show featuring his own work alongside New York–based artists Debo Eilers, Lisa Jo, and Amy Yao. The gallery also recently expanded into Manhattan with a new space on the Lower East Side—another popular hub for smaller galleries.
10. Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation
The non-profit organization in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood was founded by Dustin Yellin in 2012 and has survived a number of renovations and the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, coming out triumphant. The building was first erected in 1866 and was one of the largest machine manufacturers in the United States, constructing ships, boilers, tanks, and grain elevators. Its enormous 27,000-square-foot space has ceilings that are 40 feet high, providing a home for a variety of art purposes: events, exhibitions, classes, a science lab, and artist residencies.
11. William Arnold
This Brooklyn apartment-gallery run by Jurg Haller may have opened this past September, but it’s already off to a promising start. Its program includes up-and-coming artists Darja Bajagic (see why Darja Bajagic Appropriates Porn and Serial Killer Art), Jesse Stecklow, Ben Schumacher (see Ben Schumacher at Bortolami Lets You Imagine New York as a Futuristic Metropolis), and New Museum Triennial artist Olga Balema. French artist Renaud Jerez will have a solo show at the space in May.
12. Microscope Gallery
Founded in 2010 by artists and curators Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti, the Bushwick gallery specializes in sound, digital, video, and performance art. The gallery recently moved to a new space at 1329 Willoughby Avenue, with its inaugural solo show featuring Zach Nader. The gallery also hosts events at night, with talks, screenings, and performances.
This tiny gallery space, situated in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, allows viewers to look at art in an intimate setting. Founded and run by Lacey Fekishazy and Jon Lutz, the space specializes in solo shows—up now at the gallery is a solo exhibition featuring works by Brooklyn-based artist Jaime Gecker.
The collaborative curatorial initiative founded by Rob de Oude, Carl Gunhouse, Sara Jones, Rod Malin, Tom Marquet, and Mel Prest focuses on programming that’s multidisciplinary, international, and experimental. Currently (until March 28), the space is exhibiting the group show “6 × 6,” with works by artists Jeff Feld, Erik Shane Swanson, Lynn Sullivan, John Bohl, Skye Gilkerson, and Sandra Ono. The interesting part of the show is how it was curated: each Transmitter partner chose an artist to be included in the show (in the order in which they joined the gallery). The founders refer to it as a game of “curatorial telephone.”
An exhibition and performance space run by artists Tomer Aluf, Derek Franklin, Annette Wehrhahn, and Emily Weiner, Soloway Gallery is situated in a former plumbing supply store. Like many of its artist-run gallery brethren, Soloway takes its name from the venue’s former business. Past shows at the space include performance artist Aki Sasamoto, Brooklyn-based sculptor Graham Collins, and New York artist Munro Galloway.
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