“I’m getting tired of watching my friends leave because they can’t afford to be here. I’m getting tired of contemplating moving because I can’t afford to be here.” Thus spoke Paddy Johnson, editor-in-chief of Art F City, in her opening remarks at a meeting in Bushwick on Thursday night. The event was held at Starr Space, the studio and occasional event space owned by artist Jules de Balincourt, and hosted by him, Johnson, and artists William Powhida and Lynn Sullivan. Mobilizing Bushwick, as it was called, or #stayinbushwick, as it’s been hashtagged, was an open, town-hall-style meeting to brainstorm ideas for, well, staying in Bushwick.
Despite Bushwick Basel’s tongue-in-cheek name, the title suits this new art fair, as it is an art fair, albeit a very, very small one. Bushwick Basel, which consisted this year of 11 local galleries, is the kind of fair you could imagine Nada or Pulse being like when they first began — a fair that features fresh work made by young artists, presented by small galleries in a somewhat casual fashion. Standing in Bushwick Basel, you can also imagine this fair growing exponentially, if it continues in subsequent years.
Artist Jules de Balincourt has achieved considerable recognition in the last six years since his inclusion in Greater New York at PS 1 in 2005. I love that he’s still involved in his community, and his selection of artists for his Itinerant Ones show at the Storefront in Bushwick seemed like a kind of intimate snapshot of a corner of the Brooklyn art scene. The end result, however, is a different story.