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This art festival will put DUMBO on the ‘Verge’

The Brooklyn Paper

Move over, Manhattan, Paris, Tokyo. One of the world’s biggest art fairs is coming to Brooklyn.

Verge Art Brooklyn, a weekend of exhibitions coinciding with the internationally hyped Armory Show, comes to DUMBO from March 3 to 6.

“A plethora of art collectors, dealers, critics and aficionados descend on Manhattan that one week — at least some are smart and hip enough to hit Brooklyn!” said Zannah Mass, cultural affairs director for the DUMBO developer Two Trees, which is co-producing the festival with Verge, which also runs art fairs in Miami and Basel.

“Whatever the impetus, they’re wise to come across the river to where most of the art is actually being created by New York artists and to experience the charm of this waterfront neighborhood,” said Mass.

Unlike most art fairs, Brooklyn’s will be free, and the art will be shown in actual galleries, as opposed to booths, and spread throughout an entire neighborhood. Most fairs don’t stay open after dark, but Brooklyn’s will run until 10 pm.

Other unique facets of the fair include a curated show comprised of submissions from Brooklyn galleries and a juried open call that will welcome art from all over the world.

James Kalm, a long-time writer for the Brooklyn Rail, is curating “Brooklyn Art Now,” a survey exhibition of the best work by the dozens galleries throughout the borough.

“Brooklyn is a very important and dynamic piece of the bigger art puzzle,” said Kalm. “This is a great opportunity for people to have a chance to get a little view of the big picture.”

Kalm points to the meta drawing movement at Pierogi Gallery, one of the Williamsburg pioneers, performance art at newer galleries in Bushwick like English Kills, and the vibrant street art scene as some of the characteristics of Brooklyn art.

“There’s a gritty, raw, clunky kind of energy to a lot of the work that’s being done here,” said Kalm. “It’s a much more in your face kind of attitude. It’s like making something out of the crap that falls off the BQE. You’re going to take it and make fantastic things out of it.”

Verge Art Brooklyn, March 3-5, noon-10 pm and March 6, noon-6 pm at various venues in DUMBO. Free. For the list of participating galleries and events, visit www.brooklynartfair.com.

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