Detail of 'Another Planet' by Colin Thomson
May 18, 2022
10 Brooklyn artists with shows you need to see right now
These exhibitions span style and form, and provide a general survey of the Brooklyn art scene today
The rent was, is and continues to be too damn high in the borough of Kings. Yet Brooklyn artists are a stubbornly adaptable lot. And there is no time like the present to acquaint yourself with some of our favorites.
The city as a whole is home to the country’s highest concentration of galleries, so fill up your MTA pass: We’ve rounded up no fewer than 10 current can’t-miss exhibitions by Brooklyn-based artists for you to check out around town. These shows span style and form, and provide a general survey of the local scene at this moment. Take a peek yourself, then hit the streets.
“Up The Ghost” by Siebren Versteeg at bitforms gallery
Since opening in the Lower East Side 20 years ago, bitforms has offered a home to pioneering artists, tailoring their space to suit each exhibition. A recent show by Mimi Ọnụọha in March, for example, had the main room painted rust red and warmly lit. Fellow Brooklynite Siebren Versteeg reimagines it as a matte black light vacuum for his latest solo show, “Up The Ghost.” One wall offers a sole source of illumination, arranged with backlit and projected works of sculpture, painting, and photography. “Hell is Other People” invites visitors to touch, pinch and swipe at screens, navigating patchworked portraits interspersed with flame emojis. “The works in the show came together rather organically and reflect a period in my personal and artistic life where the ephemeral aspects of what I make are emerging in prominence,” Versteeg says. “In a way, I am letting go, and trying to articulate that feeling to the best of my ability.” On view through June 11.
“What Lies Beneath” by C.J. Chueca & Emilia Olsen at Kates-Ferris Project
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This two-artist show by C. J. Chueca and Bushwick-based Emilia Olsen opened last week at Kates-Ferri Projects, a traveling artist residency that just opened a new permanent space on the Lower East Side. “What Lies Beneath” pairs ceramics from Chueca with figurative paintings from Olsen, all thematically connected through water. Bathers and ocean elements appear consistently in Olsen’s work; in this case, mermaids flick cigarettes into clam-shaped ashtrays. Born in Lima but nomadic since birth, Chueca says in her bio, “I am mesmerized by the power of water, its never ending ride, its possibility to pass through the smallest gap, its condition of eternal traveler.” Take a dip into their creative conversation, on view through June 14.
“Pearl Lines” by Walter Price at Greene-Naftali
Georgia-born and Brooklyn-based artist Walter Price started art school after serving in the army. Find more clues about the artist’s rich life experiences at “Pearl Lines,” his latest solo show in Chelsea. Large-scale canvases in the gallery’s cavernous first two rooms blend abstraction and more literal figuration with sweeping gestures, rich hues, and forms that unfold best for an eye at ease–periodically punctuated by recognizable shapes like flames, a horse, a chess piece. “Pearl Lines” opened on May 12, Greene-Naftali’s first time using all four first floor galleries since last spring. Two secluded back rooms open onto intimate works on paper and wood, evenly spaced around walls painted to match the plush black carpet. Price’s full-scale presentation spanning senses and materials remains on view through June 18.
“Wish Fulfillment” by Johanna Robinson at Hesse Flatow – Crush Curatorial
Founded by artist and gallerist Karen Hesse Flatow in 2017, Crush’s industrial space on the seventh floor of a studio building in Chelsea highlights emerging artists just two stories above Hesse Flatow gallery proper. On May 12, Crush opened Bushwick-based Johanna Robinson’s first New York solo show, “Wish Fulfillment,” presenting paintings of wells and fountains. Robinson takes her definition of “wish fulfillment” from Frued’s “Interpretation of Dreams,” where it’s defined as “the satisfying of unconscious desires in dreams or fantasies.” Not a fan of Freudian theory herself, Robinson says, “a big theme throughout my work is that reality is a product of the imagination and vice versa. I like that this title suggests that wishes can be fulfilled through art.” Texture and hue capture the eye for a sustained exercise in daring to dream through June 24.
“Plus” by Geoffrey Chadsey at Jack Shainman Gallery
New York was overdue for a good look at the drawings of Williamsburg-based Geoffrey Chadsey. “Plus,” the artist’s latest solo show at Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea, comes to life with colored pencil smudged like paint on mylar. Body parts intertwine in towering portraits pilfered from an array of photographs: acne ads, “black and white images of nude men from the Wellcome Collection… snapshots of my father… images of me from middle school,” as Chadsey tells Brooklyn Magazine. Some works are framed and covered with glass, others are pinned within placeholders by long metal tacks stuck with intention. Certain pieces incorporate accents in pencil—smooth lines resembling anatomical drawings, notes scrawled by an overactive mind at odds with shame, antithetical to the exhibitionism of these images. Like their compositions, it’s a tangle. “Plus” opened May 12, and remains on view through June 18.
“Living” by Catherine Haggarty at Geary Contemporary
East Williamsburg-based Catherine Haggarty’s dreamy domestic still lives at Geary Contemporary on the Bowery are collages of oil stick, airbrush, and acrylic. “My work right now is specifically about my home, which is also in Brooklyn,” Haggarty tells Brooklyn Magazine. “I’ve been paying attention to the architecture of the rooms, the light and the floors we walk on.” Geary adds that her “use of diverging perspectives and light sources is a narrative tool” that “invites a productive confusion and asks the viewer to suspend their disbelief.” As we collectively emerge from conditions that kept us indoors the past two years. Haggarty’s work advocates for a discussion straight from the subconscious, lest the memories stagnate in the shadow realm her paintings stem from. On view through June 4.
“Enter the Realm” by Naudline Pierre at James Cohan
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Last Saturday saw the opening of “Enter the Realm,” Brooklyn-based Naudline Pierre’s first solo show at James Cohan since announcing her representation with the TriBeCa-based gallery last year. Her exhibition of Renaissance proportions spans paintings, sculpture, and drawings across two galleries at 48 and 52 Walker Street. Pierre makes use of the space, expanding her work’s ongoing mythology starring a consistent protagonist and a supporting cast who seduce viewers to explore new dimensions from the show’s first, titular work: a towering and brightly painted wrought iron gate. Literal and figurative gates prevail throughout, ushering viewers deeper into Pierre’s “alternate universe populated with jewel-toned celestial figures that dance, writhe, and soar,” James Cohan’s curators write. Here, however, the latest series offers “a stronger sense of agency for Pierre’s recurring protagonist figure and those who meet her on her quest.” On view through June 18.
“Mouse Trap” by Natalie Terenzini at Thierry Goldberg Gallery
Sunset Park-based Natalie Terenzini warps perspective with her first solo at Thierry Goldberg Gallery’s lofty Lower East Side space. “Mouse Traps” offers a look at femininity disconnected from the outsider’s gaze, a paradox given that this is a public show. Sometimes Terenzini’s central character, her alter ego, appears to sense the viewer’s eyes. That doesn’t stop her from “engaging in intimate acts that slowly unveil her uncensored character,” as the gallery puts it. Terenzini’s id appears mostly alone, accented by shocks of vivid orange and purple, surrounded by personal iconography like half-lit cigarettes, pill bottles, and beauty products. “We are living in a moment where the way we present ourselves to the world is hyper-sanitized and curated,” she tells Brooklyn Magazine. “I am interested in laying bare the parts of a life that even the people closest to you may not see.” Catch a glimpse through May 27.
“Through Line” by Colin Thomson at High Noon Gallery
For Colin Thomson’s third show at High Noon Gallery the artist approached each painting session as intuitive episodes. “In an effort to complete a particularly problematic painting, his childhood friend, now a psychologist, suggested putting him under hypnosis,” the show’s press release recounts. “In a trance, Thomson entered the painting and kinesthetically experienced an enormous dimensional field of lines moving through space— a utopic path he continues to follow.” In a previous life, Thomson was a heavy equipment operator on excavation sites, but he works in the opposite direction here, building upwards in layers that allude to architectural detail with “slapstick physicality” through June 19.
“If A Tree…” by Elana Herzog at Cathouse Proper
Bushwick-based Elana Herzog’s latest installation at artist-run Cathouse Proper in Carroll Gardens is a multi-story spectacle centered around two large sculptures built from actual logs collected during her February 2022 residency in the New Hampshire forest, embellished with textiles and hardware. These “trees” rise through a platform recently installed to break up the main room, which Herzog says is three times taller than it is wide. Two single-story ancillary spaces show five smaller wall-mounted works of sewn textiles, a new direction in Herzog’s work since the start of quarantine. “The main installation reflects new ambition to achieve height and verticality in my large-scale work,” she tells Brooklyn Magazine. Results honor nature’s “own vitality and resilience within the urban community.” On view through June 26.
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