GO Gallery Guide

for The Brooklyn Paper
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This weekend, art collectors and purveyors from all around the globe are descending on Manhattan for Armory Weekend. So what better time to visit the most exciting galleries in our own backyard? Let the art world glitterati buzz on the Rive Gauche — we’ve assembled a guide to the hot gallery scene right here. So jump in, and get ready to paint the town red.

Atlantic Avenue

Boerum Hill Galleries

Buzzing on Atlantic Avenue is what Tracy Causey-Jeffery, gallery director at Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art, calls “the most up and coming of all the Brooklyn art scenes.”

Metaphor Contemporary Art displays large-scale paintings and installations on its expansive 18-foot ceiling and mezzanine gallery, which serves as a project room for the exhibition of smaller scale work by emerging artists.

Just a few doors down, Bruno Marina Gallery will host an opening reception on Mar. 3 in honor of artist Alain Giraud. That night, which happens to coincide with a total lunar eclipse, will make for a perfect opportunity to absorb Giraud’s photographs, which are known for transforming the ordinary into the unfamiliar. Bruno Marina shows international, as well as local, artists in provocative exhibits including paintings, collages, drawings and photography.

After you’ve accumulated enough culture, join the arty set at Last Exit lounge and gallery for a cheap bucket of beer. Hungry? Bring your fixings and use the outdoor barbeque to create your own work of art.

Nearby is also the cultural Mecca of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcafe, which showcases jazz, R&B, world beat, pop, and experimental music every Friday and Saturday night with no cover and no minimum. It’s not uncommon to encounter juggling, fire breathing, trip-hop and high-octane dance troops — all without breaking your budget.

1. Metaphor Contemporary Art (382 Atlantic Ave. between Hoyt and Bond streets in Boerum Hill) is open on weekends from noon until 6 pm or by appointment. For information call (718) 254-9126 or visit

2. Bruno Marina Gallery (372 Atlantic Ave. between Hoyt and Bond streets in Boerum Hill) is open from Thursday through Monday from 11 am until 7 pm. For information call (718) 254-0808 or visit

3. BAMCafe (30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene) is open for dinner two hours prior to performances in the Howard Gilman Opera House. On Friday and Saturday nights when there is no production, but there is a BAMcafe performance, the cafe will open at 8 pm with bar food only. For information call (718) 623-4139 or visit

4. Last Exit Bar (136 Atlantic Ave. between Henry and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights) is open from noon until 4 am daily. For information call (718) 222-9198 or visit


DUMBO Galleries

Despite the high cost of a deluxe apartment in the sky, the neighborhood down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass is still a haven for artists — if only to sell their wares.

Each month, galleries and studios open from 5:30 until 8:30 pm for First Thursday, an opportunity for the casual browser to wander the cluster of galleries that dole out cheap red and show their latest finds. Duck into 111 Front St., a cavernous complex housing 13 galleries, to peruse the halls. Make sure to step into ArtCore-NYC to check out their “controvers­ial, critical and unique” work.

Refill your glass and then stop by Flavors of Haiti, where textiles, ceramics and woodworking contrast American and Haitian society.

When you’re ready to hit the streets, walk to Smack Mellon’s gallery on Plymouth Street, which boasts 35-foot ceilings. Its main architectural feature — a coal trough — sets a central stage for conversation and libation.

Those looking for post gallery entertainment can cozy up with the gallery crowd at the 68 Jay St. Bar, where the bar’s music volume is kept down to let the artsy dialogue flow.

1. ArtCore-NYC (111 Front St., Gallery 216, between Washington and Adams streets in DUMBO) is open Wednesday from noon until 6 pm, Thursday from noon until 8 pm and weekends from noon until 6 pm. For information call (347) 228-3942 or visit

2. Flavors of Haiti (111 Front St., Gallery 228, between Washington and Adams streets in DUMBO) is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am until 7 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 am until 7 pm and Sunday from 1 pm until 6 pm. For information call (203) 673-6055 or visit

3. Smack Mellon (92 Plymouth St. at Washington Street in DUMBO) is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon until 6 pm. For information call (718) 834-8761 or visit

4. 68 Jay St. Bar (68 Jay St. at Water Street in DUMBO) opens daily at 4 pm. For information call (718) 260-8207.


Williamsburg Galleries

Feb. 24 is the day to hit up Williamsburg’s rousing art scene for “After Hours,” when more than a dozen galleries stay open until 11 pm, providing ample time to get your dose of food, drink and culture. Start at Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art for red wine, hors d’oeuvres and what Causey-Jeffery calls “abstract textural” and “fragmented figurative” art. “People never know what they’re going to find in Williamsbu­rg,” she told GO Brooklyn this week. “There’s so much energy.”

If you’re in the mood for live tunes to go with your Merlot, head to the Black and White Gallery to check out the free jazz and soundscape punk performed by the KillMeTrio and the Eastern Seaboard.

Once you’re sufficiently toasty, bundle up and explore Black and White’s outdoor sculpture garden, which includes Michael Dominick’s installation “Memory Mountain.”

Grab another cocktail with the locals at Jack the Pelican and soak up Billyburg’s idiosyncratic art scene with the hot-tub installation entitled “Swimsuits Recommended.”

For those needing more action, the gallery is also premiering Brooklyn Double Dutch, a performance piece featuring five women’s wild jump-rope antics.

Post-gallery revelers congregate at rockin’ dive and local institution Black Betty to grub on North African staples like sambosas and falafel. And for those not ready to call it a night, Black Betty offers strong cocktails for a mere $3.75.

1. Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art (293 Grand St. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg) is open Monday from 9 am until 4 pm, Thursday through Sunday from 11:30 am until 8 pm and on Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment. For information call (718) 218-8939 or visit

1. Black and White Gallery (483 Driggs Ave. at North Ninth Street in Williamsburg) is open Friday through Monday from noon until 6 pm and by appointment. For information call (718) 599-8775 or visit

3. Jack the Pelican (487 Driggs Ave. at North Ninth Street in Williamsburg) is open Friday through Monday from noon until 6 pm. For information call (718) 782-0183 or visit

4. Black Betty (366 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg) is open Monday through Friday from 5 pm until 4 am and on weekends from 7 pm until 4 am. For information call (718) 599-0243 or visit

Opening Ceremonies

How to go about charming everyone at an art gallery, despite being completely without a clue

There’s always free wine. Sometimes bowls of hummus, a scattered forest of raw vegetables, maybe, but always free wine.

Gallery openings are a fine place to meet your pals Carlo Rossi and Charles Shaw for a night of culture, but what happens when you find yourself having to discuss, of all things, the art?

GO Brooklyn solicited the advice of a Brooklyn art world expert, who asked not to be identified, on how to successfully avoid revealing what a philistine you truly are.

Here’s how you can artfully dodge:

• When you’re speaking with the gallerist, look at him quizzically and ask, “Didn’t I meet you at Basel, or was it Bushwick?” He won’t know if you’re a regular on a private jet or the J train, but it won’t matter.

• If pressed for your opinion on an artist’s work, put your hand to your forehead and exclaim, “It reminds me of [dead artist’s name here]. So tragic!” Look flustered and move slowly toward the bar.

• When you’re speaking with the artist, pick the most obvious aspect of the work and compliment his use of that element (“What gorgeous red paint! However did you choose it?”). If all else fails, grab the most eccentric-looking person in the room and say, “I’ve been dying to introduce the two of you!” before you quickly make your escape.

• Finally, if other civilians are trying to make conversation, counter them with a chilly, “So, will you be attending the dinner after this?” If they are, perhaps you’ll score an invite or at least the details, if they’re not, you’ve managed to make yourself seem quite important. Well done.

— Adam Rathe

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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