The third edition of the BRIC Biennial, which opened on February 7, aims to “shine a light” on the borough through the work of artists who are based in South Brooklyn — the historic term for the area that encapsulates parts of Park Slope, Gowanus, Boerum Hill and Red Hook — as well as Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.
This is where so much of the work is made, says Elizabeth Ferrer, one of the curators of the show, even though the majority of galleries are still in Manhattan.
It was a long process of putting together the show with co-curator Jenny Gerow, starting with a list of around 500 artists from the area that was eventually whittled down to the 18 artists (one being an art collective). Much of the work is stylistically very different — the pieces range from installation, sculpture, video, painting and needlework — but is rooted in some shared themes.
“The Impossible Possible” is a thematic phrase the curators have used to address each artist’s “personal take on a political moment.” It’s a “response,” they said, not overtly political. And it shows a general sense of “looking inward” among diverse communities.
Bobby Anspach, “Place for Continuous Eye Contact,” 2018
Bobby Anspach’s “Place for Continuous Eye Contact” is one of the most intriguing pieces in the show. It encourages viewers to lay down with their head inside a bright dome (seen above), where they will put on headphones and stare into a mirror. Built from the debris of electronic media, it is supposed to persuade the viewer to focus during a small reprieve from the outside world.
Katya Grokhovsky, “For Babushka,” 2018 (sculpture), “The Future is Bright,” 2018 (video on left), “The Immigrant,” 2018 (video on right)
“The Future is Bright,” a video installation/sculpture by Katya Grokhovsky, includes two screens. One plays an interview with the artist’s 93-year old Russian grandmother, a World War II veteran, with the other screen showing a more oblique response to the stories told in the interview. A colorful and chaotic sculpture is positioned in front of the screens as if they are seated on a couch.
Frank Wang Yefeng, “Rotation Method – Crossing the Alps,” 2018
Frank Wang Yefeng’s “Rotation Method – Crossing the Alps,” seen above, is a reappropriation of Kehinde Wiley’s painting “Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps,” which is part of the Brooklyn Museum’s collection. The work is also connected to an animated video, also called “Rotation Method,” which is in the same gallery.
Laura Bernstein, “Ascent of Lamarckism,” 2017-2018
The monstrous bodily sculptures of Laura Bernstein climb up a support beam in the center of the gallery. Made from a mix of papier-mâché, wax, felt, raw wool and other found objects, they are some of the most striking pieces in the show.
The show runs through April 7 at BRIC House, located at 647 Fulton Street, in Fort Greene. Admission is free for the exhibition, along with six other satellite shows — located at NARS Foundation, Green-Wood Cemetery, Ortega y Gasset Projects, La Bodega Gallery and Art Space and Trestle Gallery. For more information, visit the BRIC Biennial website.
[Photos by Craig Hubert]