Hurricane Sandy may have set them back a few of months, but the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s Red Hook waterfront galleries opened May 11th, bigger and better than ever with two new shows – Wide Open 4 and On the Waterfront
Wide Open, usually held in March, was forced to delay its opening by the devastation the storm caused. The 25,000 square foot exhibition space on the pier in Red Hook was completely hammered – with water bursting in from both the bay and canal sides. Walls that had exhibited the work of five thousand artists over the past 20 years crumbled when NY harbor surged into the entire ground floor damaging or destroying everything up to about 5 feet high.
This was BWAC’s fourth annual national juried art show, once again with a world-class juror, Carrie Springer, senior curatorial assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art.
At the opening ceremony on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 3:00PM a $1000 award for Best in Show was selected and presented by Springer. Additional prizes were the People’s Choice Award of $500, the Curator’s Award of $250, and $100 “best” awards in each of eleven categories.
Opening concurrently with Wide Open 4 was On the Waterfront Zone A, BWAC’s 21st annual spring pier show. The waterfront took on new meaning in the wake of Superstorm Sandy (that’s when Zone A was added to the title). More than 200 artists exhibited works in every medium, from the traditional to the cutting edge. Special events were planned for every day of the show – including the Sunday acoustic performance series, UnPlugged in Red Hook, professional development classes, as well as Readings in Red Hook (May 19) – featuring local authors, on their Sandy experiences.
In 2012′s fall show, “Coming to Brooklyn” over 200 artists expressed themselves on the theme through painting, sculpture, photography, installation and assemblage, and some wrote narratives showing what this experience of arrival meant to them.
The two Featured Artists of the show, Janet Rothholz and Stephanie Schmidt, both Brooklyn based artists, offered strikingly different and equally stimulating approaches to their art and quest for self-expression, inviting the viewer to engage in a thoughtful and visually forceful journey though contrasts and similarities, memory and nostalgia, past and present — all things which we find when we come to Brooklyn.
Special events were planned for every day of the show, and auction sales were brisk. The all-day Meet the Artists reception featured music by The Stefan Bauer Experience, with jazz vibraphonist Stefan Bauer and the French bassist Francois Moutin.
BWAC’s summer show, Color, proved to be a stunning exhibition, and we are grateful to the installation team and everyone who applied.
The show Chairs were Fritz Weiss and Terry Urban. The juror for the ground floor gallery’s national competition was Brooke Kamin Rapaport,who wrote in her statement:
“There is an assortment of abstract painting, some referencing color theory and much of it looking nostalgically to 1950s and 1960s modernist canvases. There are great swaths of color in these installations, sculpture, paintings and photographs.”
Every day had something special taking place: live concerts on Opening Day and every Sunday, free classes in Adobe Illustrator and figure drawing with live models on Saturday. A good time was had by all, and the new ceiling fans were appreciated.
This year’s celebration of summer began with Celebrate 20, marking twenty consecutive years of exhibitions in BWAC’s magnificent venue, a 25,000 square foot Civil War era building, poised on the tip of Red Hook and overlooking New York Harbor.
The show was curated by Anna Annus Hagen, with the assistance of co-curator Terry Urban, and more than 200 artists exhibited 1000 works in every medium, from the traditional to the cutting edge.
There was also a “Show within the Show” featuring a private collection of BWAC artists’ work accumulated over the course of twenty years, and a Current and Past Curators’ exhibition.
BWAC’s third annual national juried art show, Wide Open 3, opened on March 18, 2012 in Red Hook, with a total of 134 works selected by eminent juror Charlotta Kotik, Curator Emerita of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Anna Annus Hagen was curator.
Ekaterina Smirnova’s massive watercolor “Arrival of a Train” (above), was awarded Best in Show.
In our 2011 Fall Group Art Show, Tales of Breukelen, more than 300 artists exhibited more than 1,200 pieces in all media. The show included a special September 11 commemoration, scenes of Brooklyn by the Brooklyn Watercolor Society, and work from Featured Artists including photographer Richard Capuozzo, printmaker Richard Lubell, and wood sculptor Zane Treimanis.
Tales was a narrative show. Most artists included a written narrative as part of their presentation – a statement, a poem or book, one word or one page. Says Fritz Weiss, who, along withBill and Linda Storoniak, was one of the show’s co-chairs, “Once a Dutch colony, once a city, ever since a melting pot with waves of immigrants that still to this day are settling in Breukelen creating their own mini colonies and adding to the rich history, culture and flavors of this major city within a city. This show is the visual history, stories and tales of the people that made Breukelen one of the must places to live in and visit in the world.”
The theme of this summer’s show was Black and White. We bathe in the beauty of color and spin thousands of words describing the experience that the cone cells transmit to our brain. In reality, they are not nearly as numerous as our rods, the cells that register light and dark, the black and white of our experience. Our rods are less articulated in language; fewer words are generated to describe that experience.Black and white is primal, the underneath, the foundation, of the opulence of color; black and white is where we register motion and, when the cones do not have sufficient light, our rods optimize our survival in the night woods.
In BWAC’s 2011 summer show, we explored this underground of survival and few words.
Convergence in Red Hook, the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s Spring Pier Art Show, exhibited 1000 pieces of new art in all media. The show’s co-chairs, Anna Hagen and Therese Urban, created an exciting exhibition of new techniques, reinterpretations and innovative collaborations between diverse artists.
Opening day festivities included a Meet the Artists reception, with live music by Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band.
A series of live acoustic musical performances of all genres, BWAC’s popular “UnPlugged in Red Hook” sessions took place every Sunday at 3PM during the run of the show.
Wide Open is a juried show, receiving close to 1600 entries annually, of which only ten percent are accepted for exhibition. The works represent a diverse range of outstanding, contemporary artwork. The generous proportions of our gallery space enable the exhibition of wall pieces, sculptures and installations of a scale not often found in other shows. As well as work of monumental dimensions, there are many smaller works and an Affordable Art wall, where all pieces are priced at $1000 and under.
This year, the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition was again fortunate to be joined by a prestigious juror.Nat Trotman is Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where he has worked on the exhibitions of David Smith, Richard Serra, Constantin Brancusi and Matthew Barney. He recently co-curated the exhibition Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance and curated the current exhibition, Found in Translation.
Said Trotman, “In reviewing the many entries for Wide Open 2, I was consistently impressed with the variety and quality of the works. I was struck in particular by a sort of fervent surrealism that repeatedly appeared across all the mediums submitted. Many works mixed obvious concerns about the war in Iraq, the state of the economy, and other contemporary issues with colorful, often humorous, otherworldly visions. These scenes, together with a rich selection of abstract work and strong installation pieces, should make for a powerful and compelling exhibition.”