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, their donation, and who they hope to run into on the dance floor.
Artsy: What is your personal relationship to Brooklyn?
Jeremy Couillard: I moved to Brooklyn in 2004 and have lived in Gowanus ever since.
Artsy: Where are you based in Brooklyn—whether your home, studio, or both?
JC: I keep a studio in Sunset Park, on 36th Street and 3rd, and live on 15th Street and 3rd.
Artsy: And what’s exciting about the current Brooklyn art scene?
JC: The current art scene is exciting because such a high concentration of contemporary artists have had a studio here for at least a while. Just on my block there are around a hundred artists from all different backgrounds and stages in their development. There are small, less commercial galleries to meet at and hang out at. You see the same faces around and get to meet a lot of crazy and smart people from all over the world who come here because there are awesome things going on.
Artsy: Can you name a few favorite local Brooklyn haunts—places to eat, drink, see art?
JC: I like eating and drinking on 5th Avenue in South Slope. I like seeing art on my studio block at Malraux’s Place
and Torrance Shipman Gallery
. Also, Where
in Bushwick on 1397 Myrtle Avenue. It’s an art space in a shipping container that is also on a webcam 24/7. The Donut District galleries in Carroll Gardens are really great, too.
Artsy: What are some of the most important resources for Brooklyn artists?
JC: The number one important resource for Brooklyn artists is affordable studio rent. Studio space on my block is going up at rates that in most countries is illegal. Per square foot it is almost more expensive than renting an apartment in the city. Hundreds of artists have been thrown out of their studios in Industry City and I think similar things are happening/have happened in Bushwick and Williamsburg. This is a major issue and if it isn’t resolved the whole young art scene in Brooklyn is in danger of totally disappearing over the next decade.
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?
JC: I’m donating a 4’x4’ acrylic painting that I made for a show at Louis B James. The painting also comes with a video edition where the viewer enters inside the painting and goes on a journey underwater while a robot narrator talks about partying, building altars, and being consumed by ancestral spirits. It is a chapter in a 20-minute video that was in the show.
Artsy: At the Brooklyn Artists Ball, I want to dance with:
JC: At the Ball, I want to dance with my wife.