Bed-Stuy Gallery Looks at Brooklyn's Evolution Through Art

By Paul DeBenedetto on January 6, 2014 7:51am 

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  A group of artists is examining the ever-changing history of Brooklyn through a month-long art exhibit.
"Brooklyn: Then and Now" at the Bishop in Bed-Stuy
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A group of artists is examining the ever-changing history of Brooklyn through a growing, month-long art exhibit in Bed-Stuy.

"Brooklyn: Then and Now" is part of Brooklyn Wildlife's "12 Days of Art," an annual celebration run by photographer Christopher Carr, 35, as a way to showcase his photography as well as to provide space for his artist friends to display their own work.

As the opening event, "Brooklyn: Then and Now" looks at the borough's evolution over the last 20 years.

"We wanted to do something that really celebrates Brooklyn," Carr said. "Showcase the culture, the fashion, the buildings and the neighborhoods, and how things may have changed out here, or maybe how they've stayed the same."

The exhibit, which opened Friday, will be housed throughout January in the Bishop, at 916 Bedford Ave. The space was until September run by former Pratt students Jackie Cantwell and Molly Myer, who created it as part of their thesis project.

Now the gallery is run by Irwin John, a friend of Cantwell who owned the space and helped the two women open it in March. 

John, 29, was born in Bed-Stuy, and said he's amazed by the evolution of his hometown over the years, which are highlighted by the exhibition.

"Seeing the different changes I've been fortunate enough to see, it's a beautiful thing," John said. "Everyone knows Brooklyn, or wants to see Brooklyn."

Artists provided paintings, illustrations, photographs, sculptures and mixed media inspired by Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Sunset Park and Coney Island.

Carr, a photographer, compiled photos from parties in north Brooklyn among his work. One photo collage featured images of his acquaintances in the band Yellow Dogs, members of which were shot to death in a tragic murder-suicide in November.

Other works included photos of Sandy-torn Coney Island and illustrations from an artist who goes by the name of Jonnie Flatbush, and more work will be added weekly until the walls are completely covered, organizers said.

Artist Oussamah Ghandour, who moved to Brooklyn last year from Dubai, painted a series of portraits of an unknown woman in Bushwick, each one in a style representing different versions of the woman's imagined personality.

The 35-year-old artist said his adopted home has become an inspiration for him.

"I can't see myself anywhere else right now," Ghandour said. "It's forming me as a person, as an artist."

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