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?
Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom: While we have lived in many other cities and countries in the past number of years for months at a time, we still have spent more of our time in Brooklyn than anywhere else. It’s the place we came to separately to become the artists we are. It’s the place we fell in love, and it’s the place that has the strongest grip on us, because it is the best place on the planet.
Artsy: Where are you based in Brooklyn—whether your home, studio, or both?
LW & AE: Our studio has moved around quite a bit, as we are slightly nomadic. Last week we were living and working in a studio in Greenpoint, and starting tomorrow we will be working in a studio in Dumbo.
Artsy: And what’s exciting about the current Brooklyn art scene?
LW & AE: We have watched Brooklyn’s art scene get bigger and better year after year since we initially moved here in 2000. What’s exciting about it is that it has no limits and it knows that, and nothing can stop it.
Artsy: Can you name a few favorite local Brooklyn haunts—places to eat, drink, see art?
LW & AE: Greenpoint Heights
is where we go most often, good food, good drinks, good people. The Anchor, Bodega
, and the Palace are three places we like to wet our whistles. Isis, Xi’an Famous Foods
on Beadel, Fornino’s
, Pok Pok
, and the Crab Shack are all on our rotation. But more than anything, we love eating and drinking with our friends in each of their individual slices of heaven they call home. Everyone has created such different spaces where they choose to live, cook, and eat in, both out of space efficiency, and out of choosing what is important. Our favorite is going into our friends’ private spaces to celebrate through eating and drinking.
Artsy: What are some of the most important resources for Brooklyn artists?
LW & AE: The most important resource we all have in Brooklyn is each other. We have such a great, tight support group in Brooklyn, it’s ridiculous. Beyond that, for us, is finding materials— everywhere we look is either inspiration or actual materials we use in the making.
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?
LW & AE: The work we are donating is from a series of collages made from used casino playing cards. These cards are used in casinos, then bought by a company that sends them to prisons where inmates re-sort them into complete decks, at which time the company brings them back to the casino to sell in the gift shops. For our installation at the museum we are using all the detritus we have collected from a few recent art fairs and reassembling it to bring into the museum setting. So it is almost the same body of work, and completely opposite, at the same time. The Brooklyn Museum supports Brooklyn, and it is Brooklyn’s job to support the museum. Any way we can give back to the system and the place that supports us, we will do it.
Artsy: At the Brooklyn Artists Ball, I want to dance with:
LW & AE: Each other! Then everyone else :)