Nina Katchadourian

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.

Our chat with Nina Katchadourian follows:

Artsy: What is your personal relationship to Brooklyn? 

Nina Katchadourian: I’m a transplanted Californian who has been here for nearly 20 years. I lived in Manhattan for one miserable year when I first arrived, escaped to Williamsburg in 1996, and then to Boerum Hill in 1997, where I have lived ever since. 

Artsy: Where are you based in Brooklyn—whether your home, studio, or both? 

NK: Since around 2005, my studio has been in Gowanus. 

Artsy: And what’s exciting about the current Brooklyn art scene?

NK: What’s exciting about the art scene in Brooklyn is that there are many Brooklyns. Williamsburg was for me in my 20s what Bushwick seems to be for artists in their 20s now. I don’t visit Williamsburg that often these days, but it’s like visiting a different city every time I go there. 

Artsy: Can you name a few favorite local Brooklyn haunts—places to eat, drink, see art? 

NK: I’m lucky to have a studio in a building where there are a lot of other artists but also other arts organizations: Cabinet Magazine, Proteus Gowanus, the Reanimation Library, Morbid Anatomy. I think these are important resources for artists: smaller places to gather, more intimate conversations that can take place. 

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? 

NK: I’m donating a photograph from a series of mine called “Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style,” which are a small subset of a much larger ongoing project called “Seat Assignment,” all of which have been made on airplanes, in flight, using only a cellphone and what I find around me. The self-portrait I’ve donated plays with the aesthetic conventions of 15th-century Flemish portraiture, and guests to the ball seated at my table will find themselves engaged in a similar kind of simulation based on paintings from the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection. I am happy to contribute to a great museum that has so many more great works in their collection than I even realized—and this is exactly what I hope my table concept will shed some light on for the guests seated there. 

Artsy: At the Brooklyn Artists Ball, I want to dance with: 

NK: [Brooklyn Museum Director] Arnold Lehman—but he has to be dressed up as one of the paintings (I’ll help with that). 

Auction bidding begins April 7th at 12:00pm EST. Register to bid and explore the Brooklyn Artists Ball on Artsy