Our Brooklyn neighborhood tour series concludes with Scroll contributor and artist Bettina Magi who moved to Red Hook in 1994 and has become a fixture in the artist community. She recounts the development of Red Hook from a sleepy outpost with a few artists and 1 gallery to its current incarnation as a destination for artists, artist run projects by Dustin Yellin and the Still House Group and even Manhattan tourists seeking out the fabled Sunny’s bar.
Magi’s earliest impressions of Red Hook from the 1990′s include the “artists’ bar” Sunny’s (owned by Sunny Balzano and famous for it’s bluegrass nights), the infamous artist Richard Mock on Coffey Street making his political prints for the NY Times, Al Loving, the painter on Luquer St with works in MoMA’s collection and the Kentler International Drawing Space which was honed out of a reconstructed building that printmaker Florence Neal and artist Scott Pfaffman rebuilt with the help of artist Richard Dennis. The Kentler International Drawing Space has shown the work of artists from all over the world with a renowned program even to this day. (Magi had a solo exhibition at the Kentler in 1996).
Today, there are many more galleries joining the Kentler International Drawing Space including Lucky Gallery, Kidd Yellin and Look North. About 15 years ago BWAC (Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition) moved to Red Hook from DUMBO and has been exhibiting juried and open submission exhibitions. Gabriel Rivera’s FAÇADE/FASAD project serves as an alternative space for performative gatherings blurring the lines between home, studio and venue. Screwball Spaces, Red Hook Studios and Dustin Yellin’s new 3.7 million dollar warehouse space on King and Pioneer Streets are among the many creative grounds for artists in Red Hook today.
Magi recalls how a trucker called out to her in 1994, “Why would you live here? Aren’t you afraid?” She responded, ”No, I am not afraid.” Don’t miss Bettina Magi’s exhibition of photographs taken in Red Hook currently on view at Sunny’s Bar through April 21st.
Artists we like in Red Hook: Ian Cooper, Rachel Foullon, Alan Glatter, Vivian Outlaw, Risha Goring, Harriet Zucker, Jen Zackin, Gloria Deitcher, Tone Johansen, Karni Dorell, Toni Serratelli, Paul Jacobsen, Gabriel Rivera, Joey Frank, John Gordon Gauld, Dustin Yellin and Bettina Magi. See our past post on The Still House Group and Uhuru (the design and furniture company in Red Hook).
BAM’s closing auction event is this Sunday, April 22nd, 3-6pm. Visit Paddle8′s Brooklyn Curated by BAM and make final bids on artwork.