Bushwick hits the big time! Chelsea gallery opens on Knickerbocker with star-studded show

Bushwick hits the big time! Chelsea gallery opens on Knickerbocker with star-studded show
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

Bushwick’s gallery scene is growing up.

Chelsea stalwart Luhring Augustine opened its hugely anticipated Brooklyn space on Friday night to a star-studded crowd that nearly overshadowed its engrossing video installation, “The Illusion of Democracy.”

Art world luminaries including performance artist Maria Abramovic, MoMA’s Klaus Biesenbach, and contemporary art reviewing power couple Roberta Smith and Jerry Saltz, and hundreds of others barged into Luhring’s Knickerbocker Avenue warehouse to take in artist Charles Atlas’s three video projections of a sequence of numerals floating in space, causing some viewers to feel like they were traipsing through the opening credits of “The Matrix” or “Numb3rs.”

Two of the videos have never before been shown in New York, and Atlas made one large-scale video for the Bushwick exhibition — for which gallery workers built a temporary corridor and secured a projector to the ceiling.

Luhring Augustine’s William Helfrecht said that the response from the neighborhood, and the Chelsea art scene, has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People may have misjudged what this space is about,” said Helfrecht. “It’s primarily for experimental, longer-term projects, something our Chelsea gallery wouldn’t do.”

Bushwick gallerist Paul D’Agostino said the floor-to-ceiling projections are “enthralling and serve well to allure and engulf and repel.”

“The video makes one long for an abacus, and the twinkling numbers afloat are rather nice, and the crowd was very duty-free chic, and I’m quite certain the scarves outnumbered the people,” said D’Agostino. “I heard Russian oligarch Roman Abramovic was there. That’s interesting. I wonder where he parked his yacht.”

But don’t feel bad if you missed the exhibit — it will be on display until May 20, and it’s better to experience it when the room is relatively empty.

Charles Atlas’s “The Illusion of Democracy” at Luhring Augustine. [25 Knickerbocker Ave. at Ingraham Street, Bushwick (718) 386-2746] Fridays 10 am-6 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 12-6 pm. Through May 20, 2012.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.

Charles Atlas’s video installation, “The Illusion of Democracy,” will be on display at Luhring Augustine’s Knickerbocker Avenue space until May 20.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short