The Best of Brooklyn 

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"The Birth of Baby X"


3 Best Exhibits of 2012 So Far
1. The Brodmann Areas
Produced by Norte Maar masterminds Jason Andrew and Julia Gleich and staged at the Center for Performance Research, this broadly collaborative multimedia ballet was a brain-probing delight of imagery, music and motion.
2. English Kills Annex during Bushwick Open Studios
Across the street from the main gallery’s strong solo show of works by David Pappaceno, this one-weekend appendix exhibition was installed in a vast, raw space and featured choice works by nearly everyone on the EK roster past and present, including some excellent new paintings by Jim Herbert and Andy Piedilato, whose massive canvases thrived with ample breathing room.
3. Momenta Art’s Spring Benefit
Certainly the most intriguing of the year, the show featured a particular painting that asked, with some facetiousness, to be stolen. Then it was, right before the raffle that would’ve placed it with a new owner. News of the theft quickly generated popular memes, so in a certain sense, everyone still “benefited.” A bit of art history if not the most beguiling mystery.

5 Best Galleries to Watch
1. A.I.R. Gallery
It’s already been quite a year: in January, the gallery launched Illegitimate And Herstorical, an exhibition curated by artist Emily Roysdon in which queer artists deftly questioned master narratives. In May, Aimee Burg’s sci-fi inspired exhibition Vault showcased science diagrams, test patterns, and a diamond shaped bag in purple velour, all of which were emptied of any original content.
2. Interstate Projects
Founded by art handler and artist Tom Weinrich in March 2011, Interstate Projects gets a mention both for consistently bringing in strong contemporary artists and expanding their exhibition space within the space of a year.
Its shows to date lack the consistency of a space like Regina Rex, but we consider it a gallery to watch regardless, thanks to the sheer amount of artistic energy surrounding the project.
4. Regina Rex
Less a gallery to watch than a gallery to visit regularly, actually. This collective and gallery space has more consistency than almost any Manhattan gallery we know. Miss a show by this collective and you won’t have much to talk about at your next Brooklyn art party.
5. StorefrontBushwick
Duh. A continuation of Storefront, StorefrontBushwick represents the singular vision of artist and community organizer Deborah Brown. And she has her finger on the Bushwick pulse, showcasing the work of talented emerging artists.

Best Bushwick Open Studio
Ginny Casey
This June 1-3, Bushwick artists opened up their studios for flocks of art enthusiasts and beer drinkers. Casey wins our pick for the best open studio we saw, with her colorful abstracted figures and animals shaped through loose brushwork and thinly applied paint. Her paintings are, in her words, “odd and a little improbable,” and we like that.

Worst Performance
“The Birth of Baby X”
Last October, Marni Kotak gave birth in front of a live audience at Microscope Gallery in Bushwick and dubbed it performance art. We’re not sure what a viewer is supposed to gain from this, but I guess we’ll find out as baby Ajax gets older. Apparently, Kotak’s next performance piece will be called “Raising Baby Ajax.” Here’s hoping the piece isn’t a repeat of The Truman Show.

Best Lingering Wheat Pastings Likely to Disappear Soon Due to Development
Grattan Street between Bogart and Morgan

This might boast some new, rather overlookable commissioned murals, but it also has remnant shreds of wheat pastings and other street art relics that have been around for quite a while now, weathered and layered and aged and discolored like proper outdoor bodies of work. The facades of several buildings mid-block are particularly noteworthy, yet with all the neighborhood’s rising tides of development, many of them are likely to be scrubbed up or whitewashed pretty soon. Especially the little champ of the block, the junk shack across from Pine Box, which will probably be simply demolished. That said, anyone looking to buy the stree-art ornamented facade of a shed might get it for a steal. Perhaps one could even just steal it, given proper mid-demolition timing. We didn’t tell you to do anything.

Most Exciting New Theater
BAM’s Richard B. Fisher Building

We haven’t been inside this Ashland Place black box yet, but we’re totally psyched about a new 250-seat theater under BAM’s aegis, if only because it means an even more extensive Next Wave festival!

Best Possible Opera Company Move
New York City Opera
We get why Upper West Siders are miffed that the opera company split from its old Lincoln Center home. But we think the company, which takes a bigger chance on contemporary opera and American artists than the Met, is a perfect fit for Manhattan’s hipper neighbor. City Opera did two shows at BAM this winter—a significant chunk of its shortened season. But really, we’d like to see it stop being nomadic and settle down in Brooklyn for good.

Best Season
The Brooklyn Philharmonic
Our hometown orchestra wanted to make a big comeback after a moribund few years, so they planned an ambitious season: they’d visit neighborhoods around the city, mixing classical repertoire with community-specific programming. It was a brilliant success, with great concerts from Brighton Beach to Boerum Hill to Bed-Stuy, and has us totally psyched for whatever they do next.

Best Mad Theater Science
Target Margin’s Theater Lab
It’s rare to see a group of artists enjoying themselves while doing their work in public, but that’s what happens when this Fort Greene company decamps to the Bushwick Starr, to stage limited runs of material that may inform future productions. This spring brought a puppet reenactment of the Bolshevik Revolution, among other Futurist oddities, in preparation for an Uncle Vanya next year.

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