Brooklyn's Latest Brush With Art

By Andrea Sachs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things change in New York City's art world in a matter of moments. Bushwick's moment is coming.

"It's happening fast. There is a whole slew of emerging artists moving to Bushwick," said Sara DeRose, marketing communications director of the Brooklyn Arts Council. "It's the next big place."

Over the past few years, the two-square-mile Brooklyn neighborhood has been attracting visionaries outpriced by neighboring Williamsburg or disillusioned by Chelsea's artiste scene. Studios, galleries and spaces that defy categorization are appearing in former bodegas, 99-cent stores and other non-glamorous structures. The pieces on exhibit are daring, a tad risque and sometimes befuddling. (A mountain of melted plastic? Hmmm.) The art spills outdoors as well, with multi-story murals electrifying drab exteriors and graffiti adorning surfaces that can't defend themselves.

"There is a lot more experimental art here, partially because people don't have the structural constraints where they are trying to keep up with the galleries," says Laura Braslow, an organizer with Arts in Bushwick, a volunteer group that supports local artists and plans community projects. "The Bushwick art scene is not about sipping wine and looking at white walls."

The neighborhood is about 35 minutes from Manhattan by subway. Take the L line to the Morgan Avenue stop; once there, you may have some walking to do. Bushwick's venues are haphazard: Four spots, Ad Hoc Art, Factory Fresh, English Kills and Pocket Utopia, are close to one another, but others require a bit more navigation. In addition, signage can be minimalist to nonexistent, so look for street numbers or ask. The artists may try to bend your mind with their latest works, but they don't bite.

Here is a sampling of Bushwick galleries and places with a creative streak. Be sure to call ahead to check hours, which can be spotty, and upcoming exhibits. For more information, visit, a Web site that covers the community, and Arts in Bushwick (, which also lists events.

ยท Ad Hoc Art

The art outside imitates the art inside Ad Hoc Art, which specializes in pop surrealism, street art and lowbrow art, among other underground styles. The current exhibit, "In the Language of Angels," focuses on six young female artists' interpretations of pop surrealism (lots of saucer-eyed waifs with cuddly creatures), while in the adjoining Project Space, artist LogikOne taps into such raw nerves as race, sex and violence with cartoonish depictions of a bomb-toting baddie and curvy women in scant clothes. "This is very, very current," says scruffy gallery director Andrew Michael Ford. "We are showing what's coming down the road."

Info: 49 Bogart St., Unit 1G, 718-366-2466,

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