This past weekend, Greenpoint debuted an impressive new art venue, cementing the neighborhood as a destination for art in NYC. The Faurschou Foundation opened its doors at 148 Green Street on Sunday (December 15th), and it’s an open-to-the-public art venture that’s been years in the making. Faurschou Foundation was started nearly a decade ago by Jens Faurschou, a Danish art collector and former art dealer who has founded many art institutions over the course of his career. The foundation also has spaces in Beijing—the largest—and Copenhagen, which is about the size of the Greenpoint location.
The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the new Greenpoint space is the massive footprint—it’s bigger than any publicly accessible art space in the area, and it can accommodate large-scale sculptural works and immersive installations, the likes of which would typically draw crowds in art-centric Chelsea in Manhattan.
So, why Greenpoint? “I was amazed when I came here for the first time,” says Faurschou. The space, a former Chinese imports warehouse, had the right amount of square footage and they found it at the right time, about three years ago after looking mostly in Harlem but considering locations all over the city. Jens says he immediately fell in love with Greenpoint’s charming small independent shops and cafes. So aside from the abundant space, the neighborhood had the right vibe for an international art institution.
Unlike many of the big art events that have been happening all over North Brooklyn, Faurschou is not a pop-up; it’s a long-term leased space, and will be here to stay. Faurschou’s opening show, “The Red Bean Grows In The South,” features works by the famed Ai Weiwei, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Yoko Ono and about a dozen more internationally well-known artists. The art mediums range from 50-minute films to sculptures, paintings and photographs.
When considering how to curate the opening, whether it’d be the work of one artist or more than one, Jens thought it would be interesting to pair artists together whose work isn’t typically seen side-by-side. “We need to show who we are, so why don’t we try to put the collection into a conversation,” he says. The first two pieces he put together in the space, a large-scale sculpture by Paul McCarthy and a painting by Georg Baselitz, played off each other in a provocative way, and the rest of the exhibit thematically grew out of that pairing.
Overall the works are thought-provoking, political, and arranged in a way that invites discussion. Jens says he wanted to create an exhibit with a visual point of view and not just a theme that helped them hang together. “The rooms talk to each other,” he says.
Faurschou Foundation in Greenpoint will host two major exhibitions each year, and will always be free and open to the public. You might find an exhibit that features only one artist, or an exhibit with many artists’ work, like the opening show, which will be on view through April 2020. To involve the community, local schools will always be welcome to visit and take tours to learn about the art. When I visited on Sunday, several parents had brought their children along. I overheard a mother explaining to her small child the challenging short film “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by Yoko Ono set to John Lennon’s song of the same name. As emotional footage of war-ravaged children played in the background, the mother said to her little one, “The artist wanted to show that war is not ok.”
The Faurschou Foundation (148 Green Street) is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm-7pm. Their programming “draws considerably from the Foundation’s sizeable and growing art collection, but also includes special commissions produced in collaboration with artists, galleries, and other institutions.”