Opinion

See the Work of GO Brooklyn’s 5 Winning Artists

The GO Brooklyn winners (Illustration by Hyperallergic)

Last September, GO Brooklyn presented a chance for New York locals to discover a new side of non-traditional art neighborhoods, with 1,708 artists opening their studios to visitors in areas like Fort Greene, Crown Heights, and even Coney Island. After a round of voting and a final list of 10 nominees, the Brooklyn Museum’s curators have chosen five artists to show at the museum.

Below, check out the artists and their work. The list does focus heavily on conservative painting, and notably leaves out Williamsburg and Bushwick, neighborhoods usually known as art destinations (of North Brooklyn, only Greenpoint was represented in the top 10). The selection does represent a nice view into local art-making, however.

Adrian Coleman

Fort Greene, painting

Adrian Coleman, “Early Morning Ride Home” (All images courtesy Brooklyn Museum)
Adrian Coleman, “G Train at 4th and 9th Street”

Coleman translates the paradox of the picturesque to the American urban setting. His paintings speak to the daily experiences of urban life.

Oliver Jeffers

Boerum Hill, painting, illustration, and drawing

Oliver Jeffers, “Before My Time”

Jeffers’s figurative paintings probe the gap between “logical thinking and emotional understanding,” meditating on the quality of memory. The use of color in this painting points to a certain deconstruction of nostalgia.

Naomi Safran-Hon

Prospect Heights, painting

Naomi Safran-Hon, “Home Invasion XII”
Naomi Safran-Hon, “Absent Present Wadi Salib 18 Green Wall”

Safran-Hon uses cement and lace to collage photographs she took of Haifa’s Wadi Salib neighborhood in her native Israel, visualizing the political partition of the land. Her dense pieces speak to the division of physical space by human abstractions like politics and ideology. Hyperallergic’s Jillian Steinhauer covered her work here.

Gabrielle Watson

Crown Heights, painting

Gabrielle Watson, Untitled

Watson’s paintings make up a visual diary, uncovering the non-political African-American experience. She often creates portraits of friends and acquaintances, casting them in a bright, graphic painting style.

Yeon Ji Yoo

Red Hook, mixed media sculpture

Yeon Ji Yoo, “In the Darkness”
Yeon Ji Yoo, “Silkworm Memories”

Yoo’s organic sculptures spin fiber and plants into meditations on death, respiration, and decomposition. For GO Brooklyn, it looks like she’ll be showing more two-dimensional works that animate collaged surfaces with fiber and yarn.

Now that the winners have been chosen, I wonder what will become of the GO program. Could it be a biannual event for the museum, highlighting local artists? A more interesting possibility might be taking the GO model elsewhere, hosting open-studio events in international cities and bringing the winners back to Brooklyn to be introduced to a brand new audience. I’d love to see a GO: Tokyo or GO: Berlin!

The Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition, GO: a community-curated open studio project, opens on December 1 and runs through February 24. 

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