When the Verge art fair launched Verge Brooklyn, many Brooklyn galleries were peeved that the DUMBO-based event could take away from local galleries scenes in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Park Slope and elsewhere. Why would they have to pay to be in an art fair in their own borough when Armory week was the only time they could get international collectors to their spaces?
I attended a meeting at the Williamsburg Gallery Association a few months ago and many of the gallery owners told me it was the one weekend that they could count on hundreds of new people to their spaces and many of them collectors who are in town for the fairs.
Even if the Verge Brooklyn fair began with a bumpy start it was able to achieve what no one has tried before, an art fair in Brooklyn.
Whether Verge Brooklyn is a success is something we will have to wait to see, as I suspect there will be many more people in stark contrast to the trickles of people I encountered on Friday after. The fair itself is very diffused — it is split between six different spaces — and is comprised of two halls of gallery booths, two artist project spaces, and an exhibition curated by James Kalm (aka Loren Munk) titled Brooklyn Art Now.
The gallery section was small and not as exciting as the other fairs, but some of the artist spaces were interesting (even predominantly very conservative) and Brooklyn Art Now had some surprises, most notably the fact that Kalm was able to pull together a rather large mutli-room show with no budget.
Culled from an array of Brooklyn galleries, which were invited to submit work, and the pieces by individuals artists asked to show, the “survey” is located at 111 Front Street and includes — among other things — an informal “Brooklyn Bad Girls” room, a gallery of some excellent abstract painting, a makeshift video room and a hallway performance by Wayne Coe.
Here is what I discovered wandering around Verge Brooklyn, which was as decentralized as Brooklyn itself. I also spoke to the Brooklyn Art Now curator who gave me a little insight about his show.
The Verge Brooklyn art fair is open Saturday, March 5 from noon to 10pm and Sunday, March 6 from noon to 6pm. It is located at various locations around DUMBO, Brooklyn. Visit brooklynartfair.com for a map of the venues.
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