Bushwick art gallery’s closing seen as symbol of local arts scene’s decline

October 31, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
260 Johnson Ave. Image © 2018 Google Maps photo
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Arts-minded Brooklyn residents are sad that Signal, a well-known gallery at 260 Johnson Ave., Bushwick, will close after a final one-night exhibition, “No Signal,” on Nov. 2.  

The gallery was opened in 2012 by Kyle Clairmont Jacques, then a designer, and Alexander Johns, who worked for an art-book publisher, according to Artsy. The space on Johnson Avenue, which formerly housed a rug warehouse, is larger than most galleries in West Chelsea, a hub for avant-garde art.

“The gallery started out with a very particular goal, to stage really ambitious projects by young artists in a very professional-looking way — because we thought it was something the neighborhood could use, and young artists could use,” Johns told Artsy.

Signal is the latest of several Brooklyn galleries that have closed or moved to Manhattan in the last two or three years, Artsy reported. Owners of these galleries have blamed Brooklyn’s rising rents, the distance from Manhattan’s art collectors, and wealthy gentrifiers’ lack of appreciation for contemporary art.

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Clairmont Jacques and Johns have likewise blamed the gallery’s distance from art collectors, the fact that “the art boom in Bushwick and Williamsburg never really happened” and the anticipation that the looming L-train shutdown will decrease foot traffic in the neighborhood. 

While Signal gave space to many artists who later became successful, attempts to represent the gallery at art fairs “bled cash,” Artsy said.

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