Our ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week, Art Nerd New York founder Lori Zimmer shares her top spots for scoring affordable art in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn has become the place to be for creatives, especially as artists have migrated from Soho and the East Village to Williamsburg, Bushwick, and beyond. Now, blue-chip galleries are sprouting up Brooklyn locations, art fairs have Brooklyn outposts, and artists studios are thriving in neighborhoods all over the borough. Despite the rise of Brooklyn arts (and rents), there are still places to procure affordable art, all while supporting the artists struggling to survive in a very competitive market.
Grey Area ↑
165 Clermont Avenue, 1st Floor
Founded by Kyle DeWoody, Grey Area blurs the lines between art and design, commissioning artists to make art objects. Inside the shop you’ll find art, jewelry, and decorative items designed by notable contemporary artists. Goods for purchase include inflatable pool toys by Friends with You, Wim Delvoye yoga mats, and resin cast sculptures by Ray Geary.
Artists & Fleas Williamsburg ↑
70 North 7th Street
Artists and artisans of all genres can be found setting up shop any given weekend at Artists & Fleas. Their rotating cast of vendors ensures a new discovery upon each visit with an emphasis on handmade gifts and wearable art.
Powerhouse Arena ↑
28 Adams Street
Yes, Powerhouse Arena is mainly a really cool bookstore, but the venue also mounts exciting art exhibitions, many of which coincide with book releases. The shop also carries art publications, prints, and postcards for the extremely affordable art impulse buy. Most recently, they hosted a stunning collection of photographs from the Seoul New York Photo Festival. Be sure to check their events calendar for talks and book releases.
Brooklyn Bazaar ↑
150 Greenpoint Avenue
Recently relocated to the former Polonaise Terrace Banquette Hall, the sprawling bazaar features a bevy of artists and artisans hawking their creations weekly, as well as a restaurant, live music venue, karaoke room, table tennis, and miniature golf. Grab a piece of original art and spend the evening hanging out in the sprawling space.
Collyer’s Mansion ↑
179 Atlantic Avenue
This unique shop features a curated and eclectic collection of items from around the globe, from eco-friendly furniture and textiles to original artwork and prints—all based on the idea that functional items can double as art. Be sure to check out their affordable paintings by Elena Megalos and Naomi Clark.
Bushwick Open Studios ↑
Various locations, Bushwick
Although only once a year (September 22-24 for 2017), Bushwick Open Studios is a great way to get an insider’s look into the neighborhood’s dozens of artists studios, and to purchase original pieces directly from their creators. Aside from selling art, the weekend also features block parties and music performances.
Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition ↑
481 Van Brunt Street
Year-round you can find a rotating selection of incredible art from the Brooklyn Working Artists Coalition’s (BWAC) more than 400 members. Works are well-priced and run the gamut of the traditional to the experimental and cutting edge. BWAC also hosts “mega-exhibits” thrice annually, each complete with an outdoor sculpture show with the Red Hook waterfront set as the backdrop.
Student shows ↑
Brooklyn is host to a number of the city’s top art schools and there are few places better than their end-of-semester thesis shows to score affordable works from new talent. Among the best MFA programs to peruse covetable pieces: the Pratt Institute and Brooklyn College.
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Lori Zimmer is a writer, curator, and founder of Art Nerd New York, an off-beat art history guide to the city. Lori is also the author of two books, The Art of Cardboard: Big Ideas for Creativity, Collaboration, Storytelling, and Reuse and The Art of Spray Paint. Follow her on Twitter @ArtNerdNY or Instagram @TheLoriZimmer