Bushwick trailblazer and Slag Gallery owner Irina Protopopescu takes us on an insider’s tour of her ’hood.
“Bushwick was a happy accident,” says Irina Protopopescu about the decision to move her gallery in 2012 from Chelsea to 56 Bogart, a warehouse of galleries and workspaces that has become the ad hoc hub of Bushwick’s thriving art scene. She may be biased, but the gallery owner says that it’s a natural place to begin a best-of tour. “On designated Thursdays and Fridays, the galleries stay open until 9 pm for special events, performances, and poetry readings,” she says. Slag Gallery (56 Bogart St., 212-967-9818) is currently showing works from emerging artists Erika Baglyas, Naomi Safran-Hon, Alisha Wessler, Jody Wood, and Masha Zusman.
With the arts came the dining and retail—all imbued with a raw edge. Take Blanca (261 Moore St.). “It has two Michelin stars, but you get to choose the music from their selection of vinyl,” says Protopopescu. House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave.), an after-hours, underground venue, keeps things offbeat, hosting everything from circus shows to all-night dance parties. Then, there’s Syndicated (40 Bogart St., 718-386-3399), a recently opened restaurant, bar, and indie movie theater, says the gallery owner, “that does what Bushwick retailers do best—repurpose a space to house a number of artsy offerings under one roof.” This is one former Chelsea girl who isn’t looking back.