On April 16th, the Brooklyn Museum
will host its fourth annual Brooklyn Artists Ball in celebration of the borough’s creative community. Leading up to the event—which honors artists Jenny Holzer, Ai Weiwei, and Kehinde Wiley, and features a benefit auction, dinner, and dancing—we spoke with artists who’ve contributed to the cause about their local art scene and their donation.
Artsy: What is your personal relationship to Brooklyn?
Courtney Smith: I’ve been working in Brooklyn for 13 years and living here for 10. My work grew up here. My kids grew up here. I met the love of my life here, and together we made an incredible home. Our friends all live in the neighborhood. We leave our kitchen door open on weekends and friends just show up. It’s a village living in the heart of New York.
Artsy: Where are you based in Brooklyn—whether your home, studio, or both?
CS: Williamsburg is my territory. I started on the northside but six years ago settled on the southside. My studio is in Greenpoint—a straight shot from my home. At this point, I belong to “old Williamsburg,” and am holding firm.
Artsy: And what’s exciting about the current Brooklyn art scene?
CS: Thirteen years into my professional life in Brooklyn, I work mostly in isolation, in spite of being surrounded by an active scene. I share workspace and ideas, and often collaborate with my partner Iván Navarro
, and maintain close relationships with a handful of intimate artist friends (also locals).
Artsy: Can you name a few favorite local Brooklyn haunts—places to eat, drink, see art?
CS: Besides our art-filled home, where we make big dinners and entertain a lot, we often eat at the bar at Diner
late at night—same thing we’ve been doing for 13 years.
Artsy: What are some of the most important resources for Brooklyn artists?
CS: For me, it’s the enormous variety of materials and fabricators, including a broad range of affordability. You can find almost anything in Brooklyn. In that way it is unlike anywhere else I know.
Artsy: Can you tell us a bit about the work you’re donating to the benefit auction, which will be supporting the museum and the Brooklyn artist community, and why that’s a cause you’re happy to contribute to?
CS: It is a small sculpture, made of cedar shingles, that wants to double as a stool. I am more than happy to contribute to the Brooklyn Museum, which is an asset not only to artists and not only to Brooklyn, but to the world. They do an incredible job representing the under-represented. I think it is a very important cause.