‘Type Indicators’ at ArtHelix

Psyche art! Bushwick gallery curates show via personality test

for The Brooklyn Paper
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These artists don’t mind being typecast.

Bushwick’s ArtHelix gallery has curated its latest exhibition in a novel way — by personality type. The organizer of the show asked the participating artists to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test, then used the results to arrange their pieces in the space. The culminating exhibition “Type Indicators” offers a unique look at how the artists’ personalities relate to their work, he said.

“I loved the challenge of translating a psychology research tool into an idea for an art project,” said Wilson Duggan, gallery manager and curator at ArtHelix.

The Myers-Briggs test identifies 16 distinct personality types across eight preferences: extraversion or introversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. Duggan, an introversion-intuition-feeling-judging type, said he found that most of the 41 artists in the show had results that preference intuition over sensing when it comes to the way they process information.

“The results were very revealing, because the distribution throughout the sample of people was so different from how the Myers-Briggs types are distributed in the general population,” he said.

One participating artist said the test isn’t perfect, but found his results were a pretty good fit.

“All these tests are more like a correctly sized off-the-shelf shirt rather than a tailor-made garment,” said Sunset Park artist Scott Robinson, an extraversion-intuition-feeling-judging type. “I think it means that I fall into a personality type category that’s somewhat rare in the population but common among artists.”

Another “Type Indicators” artist said the assessment was a pretty accurate description of her personality, but not her piece in the show.

“The work is obsessive, meditative, repetitive,” said Jaynie Crimmins, an extraversion-intuition-feeling-perceiving type who used shredded household mail to make an eye-catching sphere that looks like a flower. “The piece, ‘External Factor 1,’ is the beginning of a new direction for my work, moving from the organic forms I have used in my work to finding the beauty and geometry in nature.”

But Robinson said he can see a correlation between his diagnosed personality and his art — possibly.

“If it affects my painting, it might have something to do with my appropriation of imagery or recycled forms,” said Robinson, whose work “Antipode #3” features abstract three-dimensional shapes painted in front of a found landscape image. “But that may be a shallow analogy.”

“Type Indicators” at ArtHelix [299 Meserole St. between Bogart and Waterbury streets in Bushwick, (917) 664–6523,]. Feb. 13–March 1. Free.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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