It’s Saturday afternoon, and you want to check out some art, grab a bite or perhaps a cocktail, but where do you begin? You need to find someone who knows where the best hidden gems are, right? Yep, that’s why we tapped Beckie Warren of @girlseesart to let us in on some of her favorite spots in Brooklyn to see art and re-fuel .
Location: 2000 Eastern Parkway
Hours: Wed – Sun, 11am – 6pm
At 560,000 square feet, the museum is New York City’s third largest in physical size and holds an art collection with roughly 1.5 million works. This museum is by no means a “hidden gem,” but the institution has recently hosted groundbreaking and non-traditional traveling exhibitions such as the David Bowie retrospective, and Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, which brought light to broad spectrum of black artists practicing from 1963 to 1983, one of the most politically, socially, and aesthetically revolutionary periods in American history.
If you don’t have time for a full museum tour, I recommend a quick photo with Deb Kass’s iconic OY/YO sculpture outside the museum. Depending on the vantage point, the sculpture reads as OY! or YO! Take your pic (pun intended).
Should you have time for a day at the museum, the current must-see exhibit is JR: Chronicles. The show is the first North American museum survey of works by the French-based artist/ activist. On view through May 3, 2020, this solo show focuses on JR’s ambitious public art installations and recent videos that give visibility to contemporary political issues such as gun control and US border policy. The largest and newest piece in the exhibition is an epic, sprawling mural featuring portraits of more than 1,000 New Yorkers. The mural is accompanied by an audio guide and recordings of each person’s unique story.
Broadway + Dodworth
If you prefer a little more grit and local flair, head on over to Bushwick which is known for its large-scale murals, painted primarily by local street artists. As you can see, these artists have pride in their Brooklyn roots, predominately featuring the location in the work. The murals can be found all around the Bushwick neighborhood, but again, if you are looking for a small sample and lots of great photos, these three murals can be found at the corner of Broadway and Dodworth.
Location: 1196 Myrtle Avenue
Professional photographer Liz Nielsen and seasoned art world professional Carolina Wheat Nielsen run this small but mighty gallery in Bushwick. It just so happens to be across from Happy Fun Hideaway and Birdy’s, so you can get your happy hour on and walk straight over to EWS. The gallery is named after the couple’s son Elijah Eliseo Timbale Gortaire-Wheat, whom the world lost much too soon. The gallery focuses on exhibiting emerging and underrepresented artists, many of whom are female and LGBTQ identifying.
The gallery’s most recent exhibition, “99 Agreements,” is a solo show featuring work by Chinese video artist Tianyi Zhang. The title refers to the fact that “Yes” in Zhang’s native language of Mandarin can have up to eight different characters, pronunciations and meanings. Each a nuanced form of agreement and with its own properties of affirmation.
“Yes” in the 99 Agreements are enacted with 99 different female characters, all in settings where they perform different roles, tasks for various occasions. Ambitiously recording herself in as many roles, Zhang presents in a high-femme category reminiscent of unsolicited objectification of the damsel in noir films. Zhang notes that “Some are talking to others pleasurably, some are muttering by themselves nervously, some are helpless and in pain.” Yet, when combined, the sonic environment progresses in a “full spectrum of emotion,” Zhang explains.
Don’t miss the gallery’s upcoming exhibition, a site-specific sculptural installation by Zsofia Keresztes. Opens Saturday, February 29th, 2020, mark your calendar!
Location: 198 Green Street, Greenpoint
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 12PM – 7PM
The latest and greatest art destination to hit Brooklyn! The foundation’s new location in Greenpoint is absolutely worth the trip on the G train! The inaugural show “A Read Bean Grows in the South” features work by prominent artists including Ai Wei Wei, Tracey Emin, Cecily Brown, Louise Bourgeouis, Anslem Keifer, and Paul McCartney, just to name a few. This incredible first show is open through April 11, 2020. Manhattan residing art enthusiasts, I promise this show alone is worth the “trip” to Brooklyn!
Location: 900 Fulton Street, Clinton Hill
Hours: 8AM– 2AM weekdays, 10:30AM – 2AM Saturday + Sunday
Open most days from 8AM – 2AM, this chic but, casual restaurant is a perfect destination for night owls and early risers alike. Eloquently decorated with a huge skylight and a sprawling white marble bar, this place is prime for both a photo opportunity and a delicious meal. Think expert takes on simple dishes like mac and cheese, a decadent burger and a killer crispy chicken sandwich. As for refreshments, my favorite cocktail is called the “Sinful Fuckers,” excuse my French. It is the perfect mix of jalapeno infused mezcal, cucumber, banane du bresil, and dried kiwi. One is plenty, trust me!
Location: 165 Thompkins Avenue, Bed-Sty
Hours: 5PM – 1AM Tuesday – Friday , 11AM – 4PM Saturday + Sunday
A TRUE hidden gem, one needs to be actively looking for the sign to find the door to this place. In the heart of the Bed-Stuy area, this restaurant and bar serves an interesting and delicious mix of Latin and American Diner classics. My fiancé and I have a fun ritual of meeting here every Friday night for date night. We love to nurse the happy hour specialty cocktail the “smoky mess” at the dark wooden bar and then make our way into the greenhouse in the back, which is heated in the winter. The greenhouse is lit by candlelight and twinkling white lights, and can be super romantic. Their specialty dish is the Cuban sandwich. For a real treat, order yourself a bottle of their natural orange wine (which I didn’t even know that existed before I started eating here).
Location: 45 S Third St
Hours: 7- 12 AM Sunday – Thurs, 7 – 4 AM Friday – Saturday
As you may know, I co-own my own online gallery, the Uncommon Beauty Gallery, I write a mega-popular art Instagram blog called @GirlSeesArt, and I teach lots of yoga. Aside from the yoga, I can do my work from anywhere, at any time. This Williamsburg hot spot is a co-working hangout and coffee shop by day, and music venue and cocktail bar by night. Young creatives and freelancers like me enjoy spending long mornings here sipping on the sparkling lavender lemonade and typing away on our laptops and tablets.
The sprawling layout has an open warehouse feel, but the brick and concrete walls are spotted with art by their rotating artists in residence. It’s a home away from home for many-a-millennial, but for good reason. The most dangerous cocktail on the menu is the espresso martini, complete with their house blend espresso, top-shelf vodka, and chocolate.
Location: Corner of Broadway and Dekalb
Hours: Whenever they want to be open
The quintessential Brooklyn dive bar with a definite flair for the arts, this hole in the wall is lined with wooden booths with a dance floor / performance space in the back. The last time I was there on a Friday night there was a woman doing a Chinese rap performance as her friends served some handmade rice balls from scratch. You can get a beer for two dollars which is as low as I’ve ever encountered in NYC. Wednesday nights are “drink and draw” nights, complete with discount cocktails and live nudes to sketch.