In May I discussedtwo exhibitions that featured affordable art. One of those exhibits wasBrooklyn Waterfront Artists’ Coalition’s Spring Show. Last weekend BWAC’s Summer Show,Art in Changing Perspectives, opened at their exhibit space at 499 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn and will remain open on weekends from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM through August 16th. Admission is free, but expect to be asked for a modest ($3 or $5) donation. The current show includes strong work displayed in novel ways much of which is very affordable. In Long Island City, Queens APW Gallery’s Something Different group exhibition will also offer quality works of art from 200 artists worldwide at prices well below those of Manhattan galleries; that show opens this Friday July 17th with a reception from 7:00 to 9:00 PM and the exhibit will continue on weekends from noon to 6:00 PM through August 16th. Back in Brooklyn the 30 artists who share 25 studio spaces in the basement and ground floor of what was once a furniture factory now known as Mad Arts have opened galleries to exhibit their work in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and in Auvergne, France. I will devote future articles to APW’s show and the two New York Mad Arts galleries. In the interest of candor my wife Shoshana Cooper has work in both the current BWAC show and APW’s group exhibition.
Neighborhoods 101: Where to buy affordable art? (part 1)
Posted on July 15, 2009
“BQE,” a pastel drawing by Jonathan Seder exhibited in the BWAC Summer Show.
The rest of this article is devoted to BWAC’s current show. With a handful of exceptions the work in this exhibit is very strong, and there seems to be more photography than I remember seeing in previous BWAC exhibits. As I mentioned back in May BWAC’s artists represent Brooklyn’s ethnic diversity. That is certainly the case in the current show in whichJewish artists are slightly overrepresented. A couple of them are Sabbath observant and have stipulated that their work cannot be sold on Saturdays.
In previous BWAC shows in recent years all two-dimensional work was hung 60 inches from the floor in uniform horizontal rows. In the current show artists are permitted to hang their work however they see fit, and many of the artists are making creative use of this freedom including displaying two dimensional work in three-dimensional ways. For example,Renee Radenberg’s panel (see the photograph above) features a large color photograph of the Williamsburgh Bridge with smaller photographs suspended from wires that emulate the suspension cables of the bridge. Other artists have hung their work in unpredictable but aesthetically pleasing arrangements. A few artists have crowded as many works as they can fit into a grid pattern on their panels, but fortunately they are the exceptions. Several artists in this show have multiple adjacent panels across which their works develop a theme. A selection of works from this show can be seen here.
Much of the work in this exhibit is very affordable. Fred Verillo is offering his small digital prints for $10 each, Bernette Rudolph is offering slightly larger digital prints for $30 each, and Fran Levy’s hand painted and glazed glass tiles (the size of bathroom tiles) are $30 each. I noticed small paintings for $60. BWAC shows also include a charity silent auction where smaller works have a starting price of $35. Many galleries charge a 50% commission on work sold, but at large group shows the commissions are lower and so are the prices. The owner of the civil war era warehouse in which BWAC shows take place lets BWAC use the space for free to draw the public to the neighborhood in which he owns several properties including the building across the street whose ground floor is the Fairway Supermarket. BWAC’s shows are also the product of the volunteer work hours and/or work waiver fees of its member artists whom it charges a 25% commission on sales of their work. Artists selected to participate in APW Gallery’s group exhibition pay APW a flat entry fee, and APW will charge a 20% commission for works sold.
BWAC’s waterfront venue has a gorgeous view of New York Harbor, is accessible from Manhattan by water taxi and in good weather is worth the trip for its own sake. A trip to the art exhibit can be combined with grocery shopping at Fairway, kayaking on the waterfront at the end of Coffey Street, or a meal at one of several well regarded neighborhood restaurants.
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