Outside in: Bushwick street artist moves his work indoors

Glossy galleries: Luis Rosenfeld’s photos on display at Bushwick’s Ange Noir Cafe.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

BY MATTHEW PERLMAN

A popular Bushwick artist is getting out of his element — by going indoors.

Luis Rosenfeld’s glossy black and white photographs are more commonly found plastered to the outsides of buildings. But until the end of February, they will be on display in warmer surrounds at Bushwick’s Ange Noir Cafe.

Even on the neighborhood’s graffiti-strewn walls, Rosenfeld’s work stands out. Most street artists trade in paste-ups, tags, and stencils, but Rosenfeld displays intimate black and white portraits, often photos he has taken of people on the street. The subjects are in stark focus, and the background is blurry with camera shake, thanks to a long exposure and off-camera flash. After printing the photographs on cheap standard paper, he coats the images with polyurethane, which gives them a deep gloss.

“I love the process,” said Anguy Pacini, co-owner of Ange Noir Cafe. “The simple paper, with polyurethane. It’s something different. No tags. No spray paint.”

Pacini said he had seen Rosenfeld’s work around the neighborhood, and liked it so much, he tracked the artist down and invited him to exhibit it at the cafe.

“I said to my wife, Why don’t we find the artist?” he said. “And so we did.”

Outside of Ange Noir, one of the best places to view Rosenfeld’s work is on Thames Street, between Morgan Avenue and Vandervoort Place. Here, he has put up nearly a dozen photographs, most of eye-catching people, such as an old man smoking a cigarette and a woman with big frizzy hair. There is also a large-scale close-up of a cat’s face, which people around the neighborhood often recognize.

“I made my own gallery there,” Rosenfeld said.

Other artists have started covering the wall with their own work, which adds layers to the piece as it evolves over time. But Rosenfeld is fine with that.

“I like it when it gets dirty,” said Rosenfeld, who splits his time between Brooklyn and Baltimore, where he runs a graffiti museum in a warehouse he owns.

Back at Ange Noir, Pacini said he could not be happier with his decision to invite the al fresco artist inside his cafe — who knows, Rosenfeld could turn out to be the next Banksy.

“He wants to offer a new concept,” said Pacini while looking at a photograph of a woman wearing a small decorative mask around her eyes. “I’m going to buy it. In a few years this guy could be big.”

See Luis Rosenfeld’s art at Ange Noir Cafe [247 Varet St. between White and Bogart streets in Bushwick, (718) 821–2459, www.angenoircafe.com]. Through February.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Street style: You can also see Rosenfeld’s work on Thames Street, between Morgan Avenue and Vandervoort Place, in Bushwick.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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