It is sorta a public secret that Bushwick’s own brother, Ridgewood is in fact really really awesome. Hiding it’s coolness from Brooklyn under a Queens ZIP, it shows its loving face only to folks open to adventures outside of their favorite borough and simply open to finding that mythical elsewhereness.
Several galleries and artists of the Williamsburg and Bushwick legacy have moved their artful existence to over the border to Ridgewood. An industrial giant 17-17 Troutman with dozens of art studios and now three excellent galleries (Regina Rex, Parallel Art Space and brand new Bull and Ram) is more than apparent example.
If you go deeper into Ridgewood, you will come across Valentine on Seneca Avenue. Its owner Fred Valentine, a Williamsburg veteran can’t stop praising the peace his Ridgewood location brings him. The space itself is simply gorgeous, spacious and typical. On Friday night, Valentine will feature a show of four painterly ladies (Lauren Collings , Barbara Friedman, Gili Levy, Shelley Marlow) titled 4 Who Paint. No doubt that these excellent female painters will provide for some Friday night artful enlightment in Queens. Of the strong foursome, I would like to point out Israeli painter Gili Levy. Gili has been proving on a number of occasions that she owns Bushwick’s abstract heart, and rightfully so. Let’s recall her excellent shows at Centotto, Ethan Petit Contemporary or Brooklyn Fire Proof.
The next stop on a Friday night stroll through Ridgewood is Palmetto St. Look for a small black door because it leads to consistently beautifully curated art space lead by artists Matthew Mahler and Jonathan Terranova. Gallery space Small Black Door has been taken over by the pure life force energy – artist Julie Torres. Julie has organized the biggest group show in the history of the space titled Heroes. She has invited 24 artists who are not heroic per se, but as Julie writes: they inspire and energize so many of us through the power of their own artwork, and also by sharing and communicating something larger than themselves. Deborah Brown, Paul Behnke, Loren Munk, Austin Thomas, Ellen Letcher to name a few have all participated works of the same community loving energy. 24 artists in the show are not only excellent artists, they are also gallery owners, curators, art writers etc. Heroes is a celebration of art, friendship and the supportive power of a community. Great news is that Small Black Door will be open not only by appointment but also on Saturdays and Sundays, 1-6pm for the entire time of the show. Julie Torres will be gallery sitting and working on her own paintings. So don’t miss an opportunity and go say hi!
No gallery night would be complete without a nice boozie afterparty. The Ridgewood ones are traditionally held at Gottscheer, an old fashioned German beer hall. On Fairview, only a couple of blocks away from Small Black Door, have a nice German draft for a ridiculously small price, chat with friendly staff and regulars. The food is delish, the juke box is free and oh, do not forget to check out the photo portraits of winners of Gottscheer’s beauty contest since 1960 in the hallway!
See you at Ridgewood on Friday night!