Sadie Flateman curated Bushwick Local, a show featuring local artists in an unfinished condominium on Harman Street. — Photos by Rachel Eisley
Lined with unassuming houses, the block of Harman Street between Irving and Wyckoff Avenues is punctuated with a tall, rectangular condo, faced with large windows. This is the home of the new pop-up gallery, Bushwick Local, which currently features a group show by the same name of eight Bushwick artists, which opened on Friday, April 9, and runs to May 16, 2010.
A covered concrete walkway leads the way to the light-filled first floor, where there is art installed amidst unfinished construction details, giving the notion of an aesthetically premeditated (and clean) squat. The curator, Sadie Flateman, was on hand to give me an interview and personal tour of the group exhibition featuring painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and video installation.
A native of Manhattan, Flateman received her B.A. in Art History from NYU, and has always been invested in local, contemporary art. In 2009, she established Eventa Trading Company which produces art events and exhibitions in the New York area. Flateman became inspired by Bushwick because of its high artist population; she is constantly in search of creative space, and Bushwick lacks the financial and square footage constraints of Manhattan.
Upon becoming more acquainted with the neighborhood, Flateman says that she has been overwhelmingly impressed with Bushwick artists, and the eight included in the show are "seriously devoted to their craft, exploring medium and subject matter to create art deeply relevant not only to their immediate Brooklyn community but to the contemporary art world as a whole."
Excited about the possibility of curating a show featuring emerging Bushwick artists, Flateman visited several spaces in the area before finally meeting developers of the on-the-market condos of 369 Harman Street, which were designed, built, and priced with the young artist in mind. The exhibition is now installed in six duplex apartments and indeed maintains a serenity which continues room to room, allowing the viewer to fully absorb each work before them.
Despite the vast amount of space available to her, Flateman limited the show to eight artists, which forces the viewer to focus on each artist individually. Flateman was attracted to the space visually because of the clean, white walls, large windows, open floor plans and simple, rectilinear interiors. Transforming the unfinished space into a gallery, pristine in spite of the rough edges, the work of each artist is installed with utmost care and precision, using archival museum-quality materials.
Flateman also organized the opening reception on Friday, April 9, to feature completely local talent and libations. Attended by over 300, entertainment included Backspace Performance Ensemble, DJ Lois Lame and live music curated by el diabl’ productions. Brooklyn Brewery and chef Masato Okamoto provided food and beverages.
Immediate change, personal response to cultural trends, transcendent human desire, alienation, community, identity and wanderlust are several concurrent themes developed throughout the exhibition. Repurposing this yet-to-be occupied residential space for a gallery further underscores the community engagement and interactivity that Flateman so appreciates about the Bushwick art scene.
369 Harman Street, Brookly, New York, 11237 (L to Dekalb, M to Knickerbocker)
Show to run from April 9 through May 16, 2010
Gallery hours: Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.
Artists included: John Anzalone, Allan Bailey, Reiko Hamano, Chris Georgalas, Andrew Hunt, Daniel Derwelis, Chirstopher Sachs, Gustabo Velazquez
Contact EventaCo.Bushwick@gmail.com for more information.