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Luhring Augustine Bushwick
Luhring Augustine Bushwick

BUSHWICK V. CHELSEA?

Feb. 16, 2012

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Much has been made of tomorrow night’s opening of Chelsea gallery Luhring Augustine’s new outpost in Bushwick. Will it herald the end of low rents and the independent art scene? Or will immigrant collectors drive sales at the local galleries?

Time will tell, but not everyone is waiting with baited breath. Coinciding with tomorrow night’s Charles Atlas debut of the new Luhring Augustine, Jason Andrew, co-founder of Bushwick’s Norte Maar, is unveiling an exhibition comprised largely of Bushwick artists -- in Chelsea. “Bushwick does Chelsea, Chelsea does Bushwick,” he said in an email.

The exhibition, “What I Know,” at the New York Center for Art and Media Studies at 44 West 28th Street, includes work from 40 artists, including townies Paul D’Agostino, Rico Gatson, Ben Godward, Ellen Letcher, Brooke Moyse, Kevin Regan and Letha Wilson, among others.

So which opening will residents choose? Deborah Brown, owner of Storefront Bushwick and an artist with work in the Chelsea show, plans to stay local. “It’s not every day that the Death Star lands in your neighborhood,” she said. “People like me are dying to have a look.”

Mira Schor, who also has work in the NYCAMS exhibition and has shown at several Bushwick galleries in the past, says she’s going to Chelsea and hopes “people can do both.”

Meanwhile, local galleries NURTUREart, Janet Kurnatowski and Valentine all have openings tomorrow night as well. But that’s not necessarily intentional. “None of us want to pander shamelessly to the new ‘big kid’ in the neighborhood,” said Brown. “There's still an attitude of wait-and-see about Luhring Augustine.”

When asked if the timing of his Chelsea show was deliberate, Andrew was cagy. “I’ll leave that up to you,” he said, but added that “staking out independence for me and my artists is kind of my thing.”

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