This once forgotten industrial neighborhood on Brooklyn’s eastern edge has experienced a creative awakening in the past two decades that has turned its many warehouses into art galleries, restaurants, bars and theaters, making it also one of the city’s newest nightlife destinations.
Before the sunsets, and the bars and DIY clubs beckon, explore Bushwick’s thriving art scene. Peruse galleries tucked inside expansive former warehouses and cozy storefronts. Here are ten of the best.
David and Schweitzer Contemporary
Located across the street from the famed pizza spot Roberta’s, David and Schweitzer Contemporary lives inside a large converted loft building that houses some of the best galleries in the neighborhood. One recent highlight is C. Michael Norton’s lush abstract paintings that recall Jackson Pollock’s sense of rhythm, but with a more intentional sense of space. A large diptych, Einstein’s Edge of Winter, evokes the kind of place that burns vividly in the mind, yet remains just out of reach of description.
56 Bogart St.
Interstate’s cavernous digs allows for large scale experimental exhibits by emerging artists. A recent highlight is Anna Solal’s The Harpist Rover, featuring works crafted from objects she found in dollar stores and on the street. These unique creations feel like a glimpse into a distant or yet-to-be-created world. Walking through the group show The Fates, inspired by Greek mythology, is like discovering ancient artifacts that have been crafted by surrealists.
66 Knickerbocker Ave.
This art collective focuses on international multidisciplinary and experimental works. A recent highlight is the group show Oppler, which features paintings, sculptures and a site-specific installation that plays with the viewer’s gaze and how art can manipulate it. This theme is expressed though a wide range of styles including op art, minimalism, kinetic art and color field painting. The installation is also part of a larger project Transmitter is doing on the Doppler effect (the observer’s relation to the relativity of sound wave frequency).
1329 Willoughby Ave., 2A
The Bushwick location of this established Chelsea gallery (founded in 1985 by co-owners Lawrence R. Luhring and Roland J. Augustine) opened in 2012 to house large-scale installations. Recent highlights include Jeremy Moon’s giant minimalist paintings from the ‘60s that play with color and shapes and an exhibit of photographer Larry Clark’s personal art collection. Best known for directing the controversial art-house film Kids, Clark is also an obsessive collector who would sometimes buy pieces in lieu of paying his rent. The underground punk scene is represented, but his collection also sports work by Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons.
25 Knickerbocker Ave.
Founded in 2012, Present Company’s expansive gallery space allows for whimsical sculptural exhibitions that pop out from the walls or occupy large swaths of floor space. One recent highlight is Every Force Evolves a Form, created by the artistic partnership of Lisa and Janelle Iglesias. In one mind-bending display, common household items of various sizes protrude from a wall, while in another, a group of lemons are arranged on a painting that lies on the floor, shifting viewers’ expectations and perspectives.
254 Johnson Ave.
Housed in a former truck repair depot near Luhring Augustine, this gallery, which also has an outpost in Brussels, exhibits strikingly inventive works that utilize its expansive space. One recent highlight includes Korakrit Arunanondchai’s with history in a room filled with people with funny names 4 (garden), a full room installation that treads a thin line between creation and destruction. Working with a seriously diverse set of materials (dirt, seafood waste, blown glass, roots of dead trees and resin, among others), Arunanondchai creates a world that is as earthy as it is manufactured.
396 Johnson Ave.
Anthony Philip Fine Art
Husband and wife owners Anthony Philip and Brandi Wills exhibit affordable and compelling local art (often in the three- to four-figure range), creating accessibility and engagement that is unheard of across the river. One recent highlight is Brooklyn-based artist Seren Morey’s mixed media flower paintings. Rich in sculptural detail, pieces seem as if they’re growing out of the gallery wall. While some exude the straightforward beauty of roses, others strike a more ominous tone, using darker colors and arrangement density to depict nature’s more mysterious pockets.
56 Bogart St.
This postage stamp-sized gallery is easy to miss and can only hold a handful of paintings, but for those in the know, it’s a great place to sit with a piece in contemplation — a smartly positioned bench seems to be there for exactly that purpose. One recent highlight is Christopher Dunlap’s abstract series You’re Only a Stranger Once, which uses a vast array of trapezoidal shapes to create the sense of dimension. It’s the kind of piece that is a perfect fit for Sardine, requiring a few minutes of mulling for it to fully reveal itself to the viewer.
286 Stanhope St.
Founded in 2010 by artists/curators Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti, Microscope is focused on blurring the divide between art galleries and screening rooms. Their exhibits include videos, photographs, sound installations and performance art and are complemented by a weekly event series of lectures, performances and screenings. A recent highlight is Marni Kotak’s Treehouse, an eerie blend of autobiography and art that uses a wide range of mediums to document a fire that destroyed the artist’s home and art studio.
1329 Willoughby Ave., #2b
Robert Henry Contemporary
The exhibits in this intimate space hew towards abstract and conceptual minimalism. Recent highlights include Jerry Walden’s colorful geometric acrylic paintings on canvas and paper that use deceptively simple patterns to lure the eye to linger. James Cullinane’s meditative diptychs use ink and acrylic to play with our sense of light and space. Aptly named Portals, the show gives the transitional and mysterious feeling of walking between dimensions, causing the material world to feel like a distant memory, if just for a brief second.
56 Bogart St.