Sections

New art gallery brings action to barren Bushwick block

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Bushwick’s youngest art gallery is taking the neighborhood by storm.

The Active Space, housed in a four-story warehouse on a desolate, industrial stretch of Johnson Avenue welcomed its inaugural show on Friday, featuring Criminy Johnson’s solo painting exhibit, “Dreaming without Sleeping.”

The show’s haunting, dreamlike oil paintings of working men and animals brought a huge turnout to the new gallery — the result of a year’s worth of planning and renovations.

Johnson’s curator, Robin Grearson, has been organizing the show with Active Space’s 24-year-old gallery director Ashley Zelinskie since last summer, to coincide with the building’s one-year anniversary.

“Criminy’s work looks great, the gallery is beautiful, and the artist made signed drawings so that visitors to the grand opening would receive something special to commemorate the occasion,” she said.

The area was pretty desolate when Zelinskie moved there.

“Our neighbors are working factories, a meatpacking business a block away, and a junk yard that crushes cars,” said Zelinskie, a new media artist and sculptor, and Bushwick’s youngest gallery director. “I’ve seen them crush buses. An elephant-shaped bulldozer scoops up the cars.”

Fresh out of out of the Rhode Island School of Design, Zelinskie and her landlord refurbished the former factory, sublet its studios, and built a exhibition space from the ground up.

But Zelinskie transformed the venue, which she first called Curbs and Stoops, and lured neighborhood artists, including Rachel LaBine, Sebastian Vallejo, Lauren Clay, and Evan Chamberlain, into group shows. Some of them soon moved into the building and rented studios, and LaBine herself has since had a show in Chelsea.

Now the building teems with three dozen tenants and boasts a refurbished 1,500 square-foot gallery space on its first floor. Zelinskie has several more events planned this spring, including a group show guest curated by Gina Beavers, a new media film screening on March 23rd with Chelsea’s Eyebeam Gallery, and a solo show with Storefront Bushwick’s Deborah Brown in May or June based on the theme of wreckage.

“Ashley has a great vision for that gallery and how it’s going to be part of the neighborhood’s evolving art scene,” said Brown. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful occasion to show my latest Bushwick paintings there. She’s got a beautiful space and it’s a fantastic venue.”

Zelinskie is thrilled to be a part of Bushwick’s art community.

“It’s a great place to start out,” said Zelinskie. “Everybody is collaborating and taking risks. It’s the land of opportunity.”

Criminy Johnson’s “Dreaming without Sleeping,” at The Active Space (566 Johnson Ave. at Stewart Street in Bushwick. No phone). Tuesday-Saturday 1 pm–6 pm. For info, www.566johnsonave.com.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:30 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter:

Optional: