It is not often that a gallery such as the Brooklyn Museum decides to let the public play curator but this weekend that’s exactly what is happening. More than 1,800 artistic hopefuls are battling it out to win a once in a lifetime opportunity, a three-month exhibition at the Prospect Heights gallery.
The contenders will open their studio doors to the public in the hope of garnering their vote, which will lead them to artistic fame and fortune (hopefully). The top ten vote-getters will then have the opportunity to open an exhibition starting on December 1st.
One of the aspirants is Haitian born, Crown Heights resident Shakespeare Guirand who is hoping his paintings will have what it takes to win him the vacant spot. In a recent interview he acknowledges the massive potential saying “A museum is like a sanctuary for an artist” and “It would be a great, great honor to win”
For the prospective handfuls of talent in the Go Brooklyn Art contest it would be their first ever show at the museum, surely bringing them more exposure than ever before. Even those who don’t get the eventual spot, the publicity of reaching out to the wider audience participating in the studio tours could lead to potential future sales, so as they say every cloud…
After all this competition is about creating meaningful conversations between the public and artists around New York. Artists from 46 of the 67 Brooklyn neighbourhoods will be represented so its not going to be full of Williamsburg hipsters but true artists from everywhere from Bayridge to Ocean Hill.
One of the artists who will be opening his door to the public is Abdul Badi, whose incandescent depictions of tribal Africans from Omo Valley in Ethiopia. These luminous paintings depict also other regions of Africa where Western society is creeping in and becoming more dominant, are real contenders as they capture the disappearing spirit of Africa.
Another highlighted artist is Brighton Beach painter Isaak Vaynshelboym who at 90 years old still demonstrates he has what it takes. The fact is work is also done from memory of his time spent in his homeland Ukraine is simply fascinating.
Though its not only painters who are in with a shout for taking this prestigious prize, as Aisha Cousins, a performance artist from Bedford-Stuyvesant is in with a shot.
Her studio will welcome visitors to try out her performance art that she has invented such as the wonderfully zany AfroBattles, which she describes as a “Game to make children appreciate kinky hair”
The premise of the game is simple, whoever can stick the most chopsticks/pens/pencils into their hair wins. The game is a reflection of black history and pop culture and is planning to give these instructions to schools that have lost art funding recently.
If this sounds like something you are interested in then you can easily become one of the voters. All you have to do is visit the GoBrooklyn website and register, enjoy.