The Alternative Armory: Bushwick

Norte Maar, Bushwick, Armory Night, Armory Week, Brooklynby Sara Christoph for Norte Maar

One century ago this year, the floodgates of modern art were opened by three artists: Arthur B. Davies, Walter Pach and Walt Kuhn. One year before, they had formed an artist-run coalition—the Association of American Painters—and in February of 1913, the organization mounted its first show, The International Exhibition of Modern Art. Today we know the event largely by the nickname it garnered from the show’s location: The Armory Show. And the rest, it seems, is modern art history.

Yet if Davies, Pach and Kuhn were paling around today and happened to stumble into next week’s Armory Fair, the highly publicized centennial show opening March 7th, they would likely feel frightfully lost. The name may be the same, but the original spirit of spontaneity is largely gone.

Norte Maar, Bushwick, Armory Night, Brooklyn

Click image above to download the official Bushwick Armory Night map.

Art fairs have in recent years become the focus of the art world. Some, like the critic James Panero, have suggested that the big fairs lack the experimentation that was born in the first 1913 exposition. “Today the big art fairs of ‘Armory Week’ borrow the name of the 1913 show but share nothing of its independent spirit,” Panero recently suggested, “They are the trade shows of a contemporary salon aesthetic. So what’s the best gift you could make in honor of the centenary? Skip the big fairs, travel to the most out-of-the-way gallery you can find, look for the most unexpected work of art in the place, and buy it.”

And so the question is posed: Where might the trio go today, to find something that echoes their vision? An event that, rather than promoting celebrity artists whose work already fetches garish prices, showcases the artists whose names are not yet “marketable?”

The answer may lie in an extension of Armory Week across the East River, somewhere between Broadway and Flushing in Brooklyn. These are the galleries of Bushwick, the neighborhood that has continually been cited as the frontier of the New York art world in both location and talent. To celebrate Armory Week this Saturday, March 9, at least 35 spaces—ranging from alternative and apartment spaces to legitimate galleries—plan on staying open late from 6-10pm. Many local bars are chipping in too, hosting after parties with secret specials for Armory attendees.

In keeping with the neighborhood’s temperament, each gallery will be celebrating Armory Week in their own style, the sole uniform factor being the late-night openings. Yet this reason alone is enough to attract attention, as many Bushwick galleries, with miniscule budgets and staffs of two or three, open their doors at varying hours.

“Bushwick is the frontier in so many ways,” explained Stephanie Theodore of Theodore Art, who has been one of the key players in organizing the neighborhood’s involvement in this year’s Armory Week (last year’s Bushwick night was organized by Jason Andrew of Norte Maar in conjunction with his 7th edition of Beat Nite). After running a gallery in SoHo in the early 90s, Theodore moved her space to Bushwick, a location she cites as one of both sustainability and community.  “There is a strong DIY ethic here that permits anyone with the will and means to break the divide between creator and audience.”

It is true that boundaries feel much less stable here in Bushwick—between curator, artist and audience, between gallery owner and gallery-goer. This is an attitude that the Bushwick side of Armory Week promises to capture in full (as opposed to the oft intimidating, blue-chip commercialism to be found at Piers 92 and 94). In Bushwick, many of the gallery owners are not only artists themselves, but residents of the neighborhood.

Take Centotto, a gallery artist/writer Paul D’Agostino runs of out his apartment on Moore Street. The show up this weekend features the surrealist-leaning paintings of Adam Thompson and Larry Greenberg—Greenberg being the owner of Studio 10, another Bushwick gallery housed at 56 Bogart Street. Theodore Art, Stephanie Theodore’s gallery that shares an address with Studio 10, will show the paintings of Phillipe Richard. A French artist well known in Paris but rather undiscovered here in the States, the show harks back to the original Armory’s cross-Atlantic journey.

This kind of cooperative artistic multi-tasking and DIY attitude is nothing new. It was alive and well at the time of the original 1913 Armory Show. Let’s not forget Alfred Steiglitz ran 291 with fellow photographer Edward Steichen; Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray established the Société Anonyme with American patron Katherine Dryer (also an artist herself) in 1920. In short if we are to learn from the past, contemporary historians may want to pay a little more attention to the fringes of the art world… Bushwick it is baby!



All participating Bushwick spaces will stay open late on Saturday, March 9, from 6-10pm.
Download a map of the participating neighborhood spaces

Related Posts:
Cool NEW galleries not to miss during Bushwick Armory Night, by Katarina Hybenova, Bushwick Daily, Mar 7

Event Tip: The following local bars –Tutu’s, Mama Joys, Miles, Alaska, Brooklyn Fireproof Cafe, Bodega Wine Bar, Cafe Ghia, and Dear Bushwick –  will offer drink specials with a secret password: “Bushwick Galleries Late Night.”


A Slender Gamut
131 Boerum Street, #1C
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Adam Ryder – Selections From the Joint Photographic Survey
Agape Enterprise
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
70 Jefferson St.
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Ken Butler: The Projection Grand Piano and other Anxious Objects
56 Bogart Street, 1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Jene Highstein: The Cape Breton Drawings
Auxiliary Projects
2 St. Nicholas, space 25,
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Adam Thompson “From the Desk of Adam Thompson”
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206 j
SKEET – Copie, Drew A. Ennis, J.A. Holt, Rachel McCollum
250 Moore St., #108
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Portfolio x Appunti 5, 6: Traces Solid
featuring Adam Thompson & Larry Greenberg
English Kills Gallery
114 Forrest Street
Brooklyn, NY 11205
“See the Pyramids Along the Nile” – group show
et al Projects
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Tim Zercie | A Family Conjuration
Fuchs Projects
56 Bogart Street, 1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Petros Chrisostomou, Brittany Markert and Rafael Fuchs
1717 Troutman St., #258
Rigewood, NY 11385
Residual Volume: JJ MIyaoka-Pakola and Cassie Raihl
Interstate Projects
66 Knickerbocker Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Rachel de Joode “The Hole and the Lump”
4 Charles Place
Brooklyn, NY 11221
ROBOTS – Paintings by Amos Poe
Momenta Art
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Oasa DuVerney – The MYLFworks Project
Norte Maar
83 Wyckoff Ave., #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Play: new work by Ben Godward
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Siobhan McBride “Never While You’re Sleeping…”
Outlet Fine Arts
253 Wilson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237
THINGS I CAN’T DENY – Molly Costello and Mercedes Inez Martinez
Parallel Art Space
1717 Troutman Street, Rm. 220
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Inside Voices – Katie Bell, Hilary Doyle, Robert Otto Epstein, Tuomas Korpijaakko, Amy Lincoln, and Paul Loughney
Regina Rex
1717 Troutman St. #329
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Squirts – April Childers, David Leggett, Max Maslansky
Robert Henry Contemporary
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Sharon Lawless “Steady State”
286 Stanhope Street
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Sheldon Sean Moyer – Death of a Ladies’ Man
Schema Projects
92 St. Nicholas Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237
The scenery changes three times
organized by Blonde Art Books
Brian Belott, Matthew Craven, Sara Cwynar, and Jen Liu
Secret Project Robot
389 Melrose St.
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Hosted by Don Stahl and Tedward”
Giggles Anniversary Party posters and art by the giggles artists with Live comedy from super special guests”
260 Johnson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Reade Bryan
Slag Gallery
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Marko Velk – What is Left
Small Black Door
19-20 Palmetto St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
We Don’t Owe You A Thing
Storefront Bushwick
16 Wilson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237
“fiction/non-fiction,” featuring Jaclyn Brown, Holly Coulis, Michelle Hailey, Susan Homer + Rebecca Littproject space: Cortney Andrews
Studio 10
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Kate Teale “The Sea Is All Around Us”
449 Troutman St. #3-5, Bell#21
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Slippery When Wet – Liv Mette Larsen and Gwendolyn C. Skaggs; viewing room Scott Espeth
The Living Gallery
1087 Flushing Ave #120 (the Loom)
Brooklyn, NY 11237
“Heartcore” -Eric Leiser & Jay Masonek; film screenings March 9 7-10 pm
The Shirey
47 Thames Street, #105
Brooklyn, NY 11206
INSOMNIAC- Stephanie Goode, Caleb Charland, Trish Tillman, Rachel M. Fick, Adams Puryear, Sharona Eliassaf, David X. Levine, Matt Stone, Ryan Roa, David Mramor
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Philippe Richard – “International Incident”
Opening reception March 9, 6-10 pm
44 Stewart Avenue, #49
Brooklyn, NY 11237
“In Search Of…- ”Organized by Dustin Dennis, Amanda Lechner and Christopher Ulivo
464 Seneca Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Matt Blackwell – RecentPaintings
Lars Kremer – Specimens
1109 Dekalb Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11221
You Grew Into Me – An Installation and Performance by Jillian Rose
Associated Projects
(formerly known as Weeknights)

566 Johnson Avenue, studio #27
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Jacob Cartwright – Many Worlds

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