When Shelley and I first started brainstorming the ideas that have now become GO, we were thinking about how to build upon some of the great things the Museum has done in the past.
One key question we kept asking was how can we advance some of the core concepts of projects like Click! and create something with even deeper public engagement. The other driving force was a deep desire to unite our connections with the local community with our commitment to Brooklyn artists. At the crossroads of these threads we landed on GO.
We have a long history of exhibiting the work of artists in the borough (too long for me to mention here), but within the last ten years alone, the Museum displayed the series Working in Brooklyn that culminated in Open House: Working in Brooklyn, the largest survey to date of artists working in Brooklyn with 200 artists; mounted exhibitions by Brooklyn artists including Fred Tomaselli, Lorna Simpson, and an upcoming one by Mickalene Thomas; and organized the current Raw/Cooked series of exhibitions by under-the-radar Brooklyn artists. We also have a strong commitment to collecting work by Brooklyn artists.
Yet, even with these great projects, we wondered if there was a way to reach even more artists and to give the public greater access to Brooklyn artists. The Brooklyn Arts Council registry alone lists 6254 artists working here—too vast a number to be able to approach. We needed to figure out a way to access more of the great talent right here in our neighborhood (albeit a 73 square mile one!). At the same time, we also want to give the community a voice in the process and to see whose work you find interesting.
GO starts with the artists and a willingness to be open about the conceptual and technical ideas behind their work. We hope that artists will be motivated to open their doors, engage with visitors, and talk about their work. In turn, those who sign up as participants will visit studios on September 8 and 9 and nominate the best of the best.
If you are an artist working in Brooklyn, registration is underway and runs through June 29. Visit www.gobrooklynart.org to set up a profile and we’ll guide you through the process. (And, if you are not an artist, you still probably know someone who should sign up, so help us get the word out!)
Sharon Matt Atkins joined the Brooklyn Museum in 2009 and is the Managing Curator of Exhibitions, overseeing the Museum’s exhibition program. She is the co-organizer of GO: a community-curated open studio project, with Shelley Bernstein. She has coordinated and facilitated numerous special exhibitions, including Andy Warhol: The Last Decade and Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Prior to her move to Brooklyn, Atkins had been the Assistant Curator at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire.