GO Brooklyn: Notes on an Ambitious Experiment
The inaugural voyage of GO Brooklyn Art, the Brooklyn Museum’s ambitious borough-wide open studio weekend involving nearly two thousand artists and many thousands of curious art lovers, was a true experiment in community art viewing and crowd sourcing.
Saturday began with a bang. Literally. There was a tornado in parts of Brooklyn and torential rains everywhere else. There was also a dearth of subway service to various parts of Brooklyn, which made subway travel very sketchy.
That said, the determined and the curious braved the humidity and journeyed to just about every corner of Brooklyn. In Park Slope there were more than eighty artists. About 35 visitor came through our apartment on Saturday and it was a thoughtful and interesting crowd of mostly strangers.
On Sunday, a gorgeous day, the turnout was far better. We saw at least twice as many people in our apartment. It was a non-stop parade of visitors from 11AM until just after 7PM and Hugh nearly lost his voice from talking about his photographs.
But he loved it.
About the crowd sourcing element: GO Brooklyn was meant to be a competition of sorts. Visitors were expected to check in at each studio and, after visiting at least five studios, vote on their favorite artists. Those artists with the most votes will be visited by Brooklyn Museum curators who will then select a few for a group exhibition in December.
My observation was that many of the visitors did not bother with the crowd sourcing element. Some found the smart phone and computer apps too “difficult” and never even signed in. Some couldn’t be bothered and just wanted to enjoy a day of walking around neighborhoods looking at art.
I did notice that people who visit art studios are often passionate about art and really enjoy talking to the artists, learning about the materials and processes and have many questions about how things are done and what it all means. An Open Studio event truly attracts a highly interactive and dynamic group of people.
I’m sure there will be many lessons learned from this wonderful and ambitious experiment. I hope the Brooklyn Museum will do it again next year. Thanks are due to all those who organized and coordinated these wonderful and enriching days for thinking about art.