“Local Heroes”— Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond


In “Local Heroes,” Peter Schjeldahl (The New Yorker, 20 October 2014) writes about the exhibition called “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond,” on view at the Brooklyn Museum, which—as he says—“surveys recent art from the borough.” I hope to see this exhibition soon; it is on view until January 4, 2015 [see previous post Miguel Luciano in “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond”]. Of the 35 artists featured, a few hail from the Caribbean, such as Janine Antoni (Bahamas), Zachary Fabri (Florida, US), and Miguel Luciano (Puerto Rico), whose mobile meta-piragua cart (“Pimp my Piragua”—photo below provided by the artist) is mentioned in the review. [There may be others, but it is impossible to tell from their artists’ statements or bios.] Another interesting Caribbean-related project mentioned in the review is the fascinating homing pigeon experiment/performance by Duke Riley (whose pigeons, fitted with either contraband cigars or tiny video cameras, flew from Cuba to Key West; see coop above). See excerpt here, with a link to the full review below. Schjeldahl writes:

At some point in the past several years, maybe late one night—dogs whimpering in their sleep, cats snapping alert—the tectonic plates of youthful creativity in New York City shifted, and Manhattan became a suburb of Brooklyn. A show at the Brooklyn Museum of works by thirty-five local artists and collectives, “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond,” expatiates on a situation already patent in the borough’s galleries and hangouts, notably those in Bushwick—a funky Montparnasse four L-train stops past the tamed Montmartre of Williamsburg. If you are young and a New York artist lacking a trust fund today, you are pretty surely in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is imbuing you.

The show’s curators, Eugenie Tsai and Rujeko Hockley, shun the abstract painting and portable sculpture that pervade the borough’s gallery scene. Properly, for a museum, they promote institution-dependent installation, performance, and conceptual work, including the “community practice” that tends to occur when artists live within walking distance of poor people. Demotic touches include an alluringly swanked-up tricycle for vending shaved-ice treats, which Miguel Luciano pedals around. Pablo Helguera, of Red Hook, has made a lovely parlor space and decorated it with art works from the museum’s collection, all dated 1899—the year that Susannah Mushatt Jones, a Brooklyn supercentenarian, was born. [. . .]


Particularly memorable are the adventurers. The Red Hook-based Duke Riley raised homing pigeons in Key West (the ramshackle coop is here, with live birds in it), took them to Cuba, and fitted them with either contraband cigars or tiny video cameras. Most made it back. The bird’s-eye videos of cities and sea, with wing-flap sounds, flabbergast. Videos by William Lamson, of Boerum Hill, demonstrate an apparatus that lets him appear to stand on the water of a rustic river.

The show suffers a bit from an air of the art-school thesis project, typifying a time when competition for notice among tyro artists, setting in too early, abets reliance on received ideas and styles. [. . .] But, over all, effervescence predominates. Anything can happen when enough artistic ambition and critical exasperation cram into patches of urban geography. Top up your MetroCard.

For full article, see http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/20/local-heroes

Also see more information at http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/crossing_brooklyn/

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