‘Truth’ hurts! Bandits steal TV from ‘confessional’ artwork

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Prospect Lefferts Gardens artist whose work probed racial and economic tension in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood could have included himself in the piece — thieves stole a TV that was a critical part of the artwork!

Last Tuesday, a crook broke into the unnamed art space on Flatbush Avenue near Maple Street and swiped the 42-inch Toshiba TV and DVD player that were displaying Brian Fernandes-Halloran’s piece, “Between Neighbors,” which asked viewers to sit in a curtained-off “Truth Booth” and speak candidly about tension in the multi-cultural, upwardly mobile area.

“It hurts,” said Fernandes-Halloran, a flannel-clad Philadelphia native. “Whoever did it doesn’t care about art or the neighborhood — or what went into the show.”

Before the TV was stolen, viewers were treated to video clips including a teen who hates her Jamaican accent, a Swedish woman talking about racism, and a rap about pretty ladies on Flatbush Avenue. The exhibition also featured oil paintings about “the physical space” between neighbors and “the deeper psychological distance” between cultures.

There was also an interactive map on which gallery-goers could hang location-inspired stories — “like Christmas tree ornaments,” he said. And at the back of the exhibit: A long, green curtain and a private booth for thoughts and rants on camera.

Several days after the opening, Fernandes-Halloran received a write-up in our sister publication, the Wall Street Journal, and praise from art bloggers. Soon, nearby schools began to bring students there for field trips.

“People felt really connected to this show,” said Laura Frenzer, president of PLG Arts, which sponsored the exhibition. “So a crime like this feels like a big violation.”

Indeed, Fernandes-Halloran — who lost $400 worth of his own electronic equipment — said it stings with irony, considering the artwork’s subject matter.

“This show was supposed to open people up,” he said. “But this makes you want to do the opposite.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

pr from plg says:
art exhibit on racism by a cracker? good riddance.
Oct. 29, 2011, 8:14 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
I guess the TV was stolen by someone who actually thought "art" was something which lifted the human spirit, which had both substance and form, and caused the viewers/listeners to feel, in some way, changed by their exposure to the art.

When "art" devolves into concept, and concept into execution, then the stealing of the TV was, in its own way, performance art, someone's response to Fernandes-Halloran's "art".

And let's note that this performance art masquerading as theft seems to have gotten more press than the original artist's execution of an insubstantial concept.

Fernandes-Halloran might title his next piece of "art", an empty desk with TV cords unattached to any electronics, "Performance Art Number 2."
Oct. 29, 2011, 1:43 pm
You See says:
This is why we can’t have nice things!
Oct. 30, 2011, Midnight
Bob Marvin from PLG says:
Too bad the paper couldn't have mentioned the positive aspects of Brian's wonderful show, or mentioed it's sister show, the Neighborhood Show, a group show featuring the work of almost fifty neighborhood artists, opening on 10/30 and runninh thtough 11/13.

BTW, the Truth Booth comtinued for the balance of Brian's show, using a computer monitor to display the videos.
Oct. 30, 2011, 7:58 am
Brian Fernandes-Halloran from PLG says:
Yes I agree with Bob
I am surprised that the reporter did not capture at all what I said nor described the "truth booth" accurately. Here is a copy of the exact text next to the booth copied word for word:
"Feel free to respond to the show; say something on your mind; tell a story; whatever you want. Your recording will play on the screen next to this message in the coming days."
the "reporter" described it as asking viewers to " speak candidly about tension in the multi-cultural, upwardly mobile area."
Besides this documented miss reporting, I repeatedly told the reporter that the theft barely affected the show because we replaced the screen in an hour. I said the theft was not motivated against the nature of the show as they left all art pieces untouched and that we were all just so amazed at the incredible outpouring of support from the community. And I NEVER said "this show was supposed to open people up but this makes you want to do the opposite"
Is a positive multicultural event that was embraced by more than 600 Brooklynites less interesting than a TV theft or is the reporter/paper lazily falling back on pessimism?
I encourage anyone interested in what actually happened in the show or to know about the current group show to contact me at or go to
Oct. 31, 2011, 11:34 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Right on, Brooklynite: I am also sick of bogus "artists".
Screw em.
Oct. 31, 2011, 11:41 am
Julia from Forts Green says:
I considered delivering my baby as part of this show, but I went to the hospital when I heard there was no tv.
Oct. 31, 2011, 1:10 pm
Pissed off from Leffert manor says:
To call some one a cracker ...just isn't right I see we yet to over come ...we are all trying to come forth as a community .. Let god judge u for he is stronger ..we may be weak but damm if I'm going to stop being an artist because of some idiot ....stop all the hating embrace all whats good on this earth .
Oct. 31, 2011, 2:32 pm
pr from plg says:
i would've embraced all that was good with that exhibit but someone beat me to the toshiba.

why god, why?!
Oct. 31, 2011, 2:50 pm
pissed off from plg says:
i just found out what Pr means perfectly retareded....its an unemployent idiot who has nothing better to do with his lfe ....and if your man enough to ...confront your words will be at the blue rosst on flatbush and lincon rd whould like to see u face to face ......bring your posey... any time any day ........
Oct. 31, 2011, 3:16 pm
suepeas from 11225 says:
Hi Brian and Bob, I really enjoyed both shows, and I must say that I did not now about the missing tv until I read this piece. The show did go on and quite successfully. Everyone that I invited had a good time. The kids especially had a good time.

Thanks for bringing this to our community.
Oct. 31, 2011, 6:59 pm
pr from plg says:

super, POFPS! let's meet! perhaps we can talk about the finer points of grammar, spelling, and taking pot shots at mentally disabled individuals.
Nov. 1, 2011, 7:26 am
Raul from PLG says:
Hey Brian. It was great to meet you at the show. Thanks for all you have done for PLG. The community is backing you up! Sorry about the losers who stole your TV. Don't listen to the haters who sit back and complain while you are doing something to make a difference in the neighborhood!!!
Nov. 1, 2011, 7:44 am
CB from PLG says:
I suppose I have to tolerate pr's rants just like I have to deal w/ the Tea Party infiltrating the news. Idiotic blather is a necessary evil in a world that reveres free speech.
Nov. 1, 2011, 7:49 am
Matthew from Bkln says:
Ouch, Brooklynite! Was the exhibit that bad?
Nov. 1, 2011, 10:20 am
WOW from PLG says:

Nov. 1, 2011, 2:16 pm
Noel from PLG says:
This article is a terrible representation of the show. The show was great and the neighborhood response was overwhelmingly positive...
Nov. 2, 2011, 11:47 am

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