Bushwick Open Studios 2012

Jules de Balincourt converts his studio to an art fair

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Bushwick Open Studios doesn’t normally do this, but …

The low-budget do-it-yourself world of Bushwick artists is getting its own art fair, dabbling in what’s normally considered commercial arts territory. The world-renowned painter Jules de Balincourt is converting his spacious Starr Street studio into a veritable showcase for sale, calling it “Bushwick Basel,” and featuring work from the area’s sprawling gallery scene.

He says it’s not a spoof on Art Basel, one of the most commercially driven art events in the world, but you can certainly buy the work there.

“I’m not sure if ironic would be an apt term, but maybe there’s a conceptual core of proper irony involved — so it will certainly be galvanic,” said Centotto gallery founder Paul D’Agostino. “It’s got a great lineup of galleries and artists, I’m looking forward to it much like everyone else.”

There have been massive group shows featuring scores of artists, performance showcases, and gallery crawls in Arts in Bushwick’s six year history of coordinating the free event — this year there’s 540 participating studios alone — but a commercially driven arts fair for artists who aren’t very commercially driven themselves — is a first.

Still, while the Bushwick art community is far from mainstream, Storefront Bushwick’s Deborah Brown pointed out it doesn’t suffer in obscurity.

“Bushwick’s art market is so fledgling so the title is tongue and cheek, but we have a lot of media attention for art in Bushwick so it’s also a serious forum for the display of locally sourced art,” she said.

De Balincourt recruited a dozen neighborhood galleries to his space, including Norte Maar, Storefront Bushwick, NURTUREart, Momenta Art, English Kills, Valentine, Airplane, and Regina Rex, and gave them all cubicles to exhibit work from their favorite artists.

See for yourself — and bring your checkbook!

Bushwick Basel at Bushwick Open Studios [108 Starr St. at Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick.] June 2-3, 12-7 pm.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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