Talking With Jillian Steinhauer, Senior Editor at Hyperallergic

Adrian Vanderveer Martense, [Windmill in snow-covered field], ca. 1875; V1974.7.4; Brooklyn Historical Society
Adrian Vanderveer Martense, [Windmill in snow-covered field], ca. 1875; Brooklyn Historical Society
On the state of the Brooklyn art scene: “Brooklyn art is definitely flourishing right now—in fact, it might be flourishing too much. The stereotype of Brooklyn being filled with creative people and artists is based in truth, and despite absurdly high rents, people seem to still be continually flocking—or holding out—here to make art (not to mention music, dance, books, and every imaginable hybrid of those things). What’s especially nice about the Brooklyn art scenes—and I say scenes because I do see them as distinct; Bushwick is not Gowanus, nor is Bed-Stuy Bay Ridge—is that they mirror their home borough by being very community-oriented. The gallery neighborhoods in Manhattan—the Lower East Side, Chelsea, the Upper East Side, etc.—are great for a day of seeing art, but they feel resolutely commercial in a way that the Brooklyn scenes don’t.”

On what might happen: “Here’s one thought: much of the art being made in Brooklyn is very form focused, very interested in art itself (abstract painting, finely wrought sculptures, etc.). It seems possible that if/as artists who live here are forced to confront whether or not they can actually stay here, they may be forced to also engage with politics and the outside world in a more real way than many of them currently are. I suppose another possibility, one that could go hand in hand with rising real estate prices, is that the Brooklyn art scene could become more well-heeled, more market-driven, like the one in Manhattan. That would definitely be a loss—part of what’s so great about art in Brooklyn is the way it hovers, jumps back and forth, between professional and DIY, and the way it encourages experimentation.”


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