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The interplay of sight and sound is alive once again as the Brooklyn Academy of Music officially kicked off its 25th annual Next Wave Festival on October 2nd. On Thursday, October 4th, BAM opens their innovative Next Wave Festival art exhibition. 

Art and music aficionados are invited to come out to the opening reception from 6-8pm at BAM?s Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Street in Brooklyn. This year?s Brooklyn-inspired visual art exhibition is curated for the sixth year in a row by Dan Cameron, former New Museum Senior Curator.

To learn more about this year?s show that goes through December 16th, we caught up with BAM?s Art Curator/Sales Manager, and Brooklyn Art Project member, David Harper.  

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Brooklyn Art Project (BAP):  What is the focus of the Next Wave Art exhibit?

David Harper (DH): This is the sixth year BAM has done a visual art exhibition concurrent with our Next Wave Festival. Our focus is to make use of our various spaces by opening them up to artists and to continue the long tradition of collaborations with visual arts at BAM. We have such interesting, dynamic spaces that are often underutilized. The Next Wave Festival, which was started in 1983 and dedicated to exciting new works and cross-disciplinary collaborations by promising young artists on the stage, is the perfect season to do an exhibition of this kind.

BAP: Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s show and some of the participating artists?

DH: This year we have six artists participating: Bradley Castellanos, James Esber, Yu-Sheng Ho, Dominic McGill, Jean Shin and Leo Villareal. The works in the show range from painting using non-traditional materials, video, drawing, sculpture and works incorporating new media technology. Villareal?s work was a special commission to honor the 25 years of the Next Wave Festival. The works are installed in both the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Ave, and the BAM Harvey Theater at 651 Fulton Street, in various spaces through out the buildings.

BAP: What themes are you seeing amongst participating artists this year?

DH: The majority of the artists participating this year were asked to create new works, all of which ended up doing one of a few things: engaging with our architectural spaces, with the city of Brooklyn which surrounds us, or even the kinds of programming one may find on our mainstage. For example, Villareal?s light sculpture, Stars, utilizes the circularity of the windows in our caf?, illuminating both the room and the fa?ade of the building while hinting at the sorts of performances which are taking place inside while Jean Shin?s Sound Wave, a five foot tall tidal wave constructed of recycled vinyl records, mimics the arches of our lobby while simultaneously bringing to mind the name of the festival due to its shape.

Bradley Castellanos? paintings, Chok?d and King?s Garden, use the neighboring Brooklyn Navy Yard as visual inspiration but also lines from plays by Shakespeare one could easily hear on our stages. Nearly all of the artists exhibited this year are using totally new and interesting materials, from James Esber’s massive paintings on Sintra, to Yu-Sheng Ho’s paintings with light, and Villareal’s works are completely new technology developed specifically for this project. It’s all very exciting.

BAP: How is this year’s show different from previous exhibitions?

DH: This year?s exhibition is definitely on larger scale, even though there are fewer artists than usual. In the past the focus was primarily on emerging and Brooklyn-based artists. While that may be true in some cases this year, we were less concerned with where the artist physically works and more with the kind of work they do and how it would interact with our building.

BAP: How are artists chosen to participate in the event?

DH: We are lucky enough to have, for the sixth year, this exhibition curated by Dan Cameron, former New Museum Senior Curator, who is currently working on a new biennial for New Orleans: Prospect 1. Without his expertise and the generosity of these artists and their galleries, we wouldn’t be able to have such an amazing exhibition.

To learn more about the event or see video previews, click over to BAM.org.

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