Williamsburg Grows Up

The Brooklyn Gallery scene has long seemed like a noisy teenager–energetic, loud, a little unreliable. But 2011 marks the 24th

The Brooklyn Gallery scene has long seemed like a noisy teenager–energetic, loud, a little unreliable. But 2011 marks the 24th anniversary, by some accounts, of its Williamsburg hub. (Marcin Ramocki’s documentary Brooklyn DIY: The History of the Williamsburg Art Scene dates its birth to 1987, although a structured gallery environment came later.)

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So, for those who know Chelsea by heart but have never
trained across the way, it’s time.


Art 101

101 Grand Street

Through Dec. 23

Fine Art, cheap. The gallery’s “Miniatures” shows offers 130 works of art by a few dozen artists–Jay Pluck, John Koos, Sam Goodman and Janice Mauro among them–priced at $25 to $1,200. Think small-scale: Nicola Ginzel’s piece is worked upon a matchbook cover from the Gagosian hangout the Sant Ambreous restaurant.


Black & White Gallery

483 Driggs Avenue

Through Jan. 23, 2011

Black & White Gallery is only eight years old, but that’s a generation in Brooklyn gallery years. Moreover, it’s loyal to its roots. Originally based in Brooklyn, then opening also in Manhattan, the gallery closed its Chelsea space in April 2010 and is back home on Driggs Avenue. Founding director Tatyana Okshtey is still there, too. The gallery has a group show opening this weekend that features Colette, Alicia Ross and Natsu, among others.


Pandemic Gallery

37 Broadway

Through Jan. 8, 2011

This Friday the gallery opens a show of M. Veng Smith’s paintings on wood panels. Veng, as he prefers to be called, is primarily a street artist who works with the powerhouse graffiti collective Robots Will Kill. Their logo is seen citywide, usually in spots cops aren’t watching.


Factory Fresh

1053 Flushing Avenue

Through Jan. 16, 2011

In a borough where the galleries and project spaces tend to have nifty names–Camel, Capricious Space, Cinders, the much missed Jack the Pelican Presents–this in-joke name is one of the wittiest. The current show pairs the vibrantly colored woodcuts of Polish artist Roman Kionek with the work of German artist and musician Jim Avignon, who began his career painting Berlin and Munich nightclubs. Their cartoonish images conjure up Basquiat meets Japanese anime. The gallery noted that if Mr. Avignon’s work “were a show on the Cartoon Network, it wouldn’t be the one you wanted your children to see.”



177 North 9th Street

Through Dec, 23

Pierogi was founded in 1994 by artist Jim Amrhein, back when a Williamsburg gallery scene basically boiled down to … Pierogi. It concentrates mostly on monthlong solo artist shows in various mediums and it operates two gallery spaces and a video library. This month it’s showing, in both galleries, its fourth presentation of the works of painter James Esber in a show titled “You, Me and Everyone Else.”


Front Room

147 Roebling Street

Through Jan. 9, 2011

The meditative works on view here grew out of artist Allan Packer’s residency at Wurliter Foundation in Taos, N.M. In one of the works, Mr. Packer animates a spiral petroglyph, in a kinetic sculpture that is somewhat hypnotic. Often turning to themes of nature, Mr. Parker’s past sculptures have incorporated brightly colored yet nonetheless chilling crows.


The City Reliquary

370 Metropolitan Avenue  at Havemeyer Street

Now an official, if cult, museum, after years as an ersatz art space, the City Reliquary is a belovedly weird fixture of Williamsburg. Its eclectic collection, an homage to New York, features World’s Fair memorabilia, Statue of Liberty souvenirs and a geological display of New York’s underground, among hundreds of other items. A window space on nearby Grand Street has also exhibited neighborhood collections of comemorative plates, vintage thermoses and antique pens. Its hours are as unusual as its inventory: On Thursdays, the museum stays open to 10 p.m.



Williamsburg Grows Up