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Giacometti Joins Brooklyn Artists in Bushwick Apartment-Gallery Exhibit

By Meredith Hoffman | January 16, 2013 8:51am | Updated on January 16, 2013 12:44pm

BUSHWICK — Alberto Giacometti’s poignant minimalist figures have moved viewers at top museums in Paris, Berlin, Manhattan and London. And now work by the renowned Swiss Modern artist is joining Brooklynites’ drawings in a Bushwick living room.

Norte Maar, an "apartment gallery" where co-founder Jason Andrew lives and has shown art since 2006, will feature a double-sided drawing by Giacometti alongside 10 local contemporary artists' pieces in an exhibit later this month.

Andrew, who worked the past year to obtain the "Modern master’s" graphite-on-paper portrait trio made in the 1950’s, said he seeks to highlight the distinct character of each local artist through the juxtaposition.

"It’s our hope that having his work there will heighten the awareness of these other 10 artists,” he said, noting that "you can’t help but find comparisons" between Giacometti’s piece and the exhibit’s other figure drawings.

Andrew said he obtained the 18-by-14-inch drawing by Giacometti — a prolific sculptor, painter and illustrator who worked mainly in Paris in the first half of the 20th century — through a loan from a Manhattan art collector he met in his job curating the estate of painter Jack Tworkov.

"They've been very supportive of projects at Norte Maar," Andrew said of the collectors whom he declined to name.

"It took a lot of finagling to get insurance to cover the work because the piece is very valuable," Andrew said, also declining to comment on the exact estimated price of the piece, which he said the collector bought from the Pierre Matisse gallery.

To Andrew, the monetary value of the drawing — featuring a man with arms outstretched on one side and two portraits of Giacometti’s brother Diego on the other — matters far less than the potential for Giacometti's spirit to inform viewers about current local artists.

Every artist in the show depicts clear figures (whether people or rooms) and reveals a "hunt for personal style" in his or her drawing, Andrew said.

"Everything Giacometti did was very personal, whether sketching his studio or drawing a person close to him, and he had his own style and his own mark making," Andrew said.

He noted that Giacometti, who painted for two decades without showing his work after he broke with the Surrealist movement in the 1930's to find his own voice.

But though he was estranged from the Surrealist community, Giacometti was "so kind that he befriended a lot of people and artists," Andrew said.

"That camaraderie is reminiscent of what has been going in Bushwick…it’s like an artist ghetto where a lot of artists are making work and showing each other's work," Andrew said, noting that the majority of artists in the Norte Maar exhibit live and work in the neighborhood.

"I can see that's one element of significance of having Giacometti returned to this space," Andrew said, "where he can become a focal point of friendship."

"Giacometti and a Selection of Contemporary Drawings" will be on display at Norte Maar on 83 Wyckoff Ave., #1B, Jan. 26 — Feb. 24. The gallery is open weekends 1-6 p.m. and by appointment. Local featured artists include Anthony Browne, Maria Calandra, Kevin Curran, Ryan Michael Ford, Libby Hartle, Eric Mavko, Matthew Miller, Andrew Szobody, Francesco Longenecker and Thomas Micchelli.