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January 8, 2016 / Brooklyn news / Bushwick / Brooklyn Is Angry

Bushwick artist scraps ‘Most influential’ residents show — but critics want it back

The Brooklyn Paper
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This artist didn’t need an eraser — just a different frame.

A gallery owner has canceled an event to anoint his pick of the “most influential” people “shaping” Bushwick, after it ignited a heated online debate with locals who slammed it as a tone-deaf celebration of gentrification. But the critics claim that’s not what they wanted — he should have gone ahead with the show so they could hash it out in the open.

“This is why we don’t progress, because people are cowards,” said local artist Jazo Brooklyn, who grew up in Brownsville and moved to Bushwick in 2005. “We feel uncomfortable every day because of what’s happening, and you’re not willing to feel uncomfortable to open up more eyes in the community?”

Fuchs Gallery owner Rafael Fuchs — a photographer who hails from Israel and has lived in Bushwick for 10 years — launched the Facebook event page for his “Bushwick 200” show on Saturday, saying he planned to honor 200 residents in the rapidly-changing nabe across a number of fields including art, tech, and real estate.

But the critics flooded the page with angry comment, questioning his intentions and bona fides for handing out the titles, and clashing with those who supported the show.

“To state the most innovative you should without a doubt be a native,” wrote Brooklyn. “If you’re not then you’re just exploiting our community as well as help with the white-washing.”

The spat quickly turned ugly, with commenters hurling racially charged remarks.

“Lighten up y’all. In the real world out there beyond the borders of ethnocentric barrio you seek to preserve, these kinds of ‘200’ lists are routine, healthy and illuminati­ng,” wrote Park Slope gallerist Ethan Pettit.

Fuchs defended the show at first, claiming his only intention was to highlight “positive influences” in the neighborhood, and would only celebrate real-estate professionals who respect the arts and community (he said he hadn’t found any yet).

But on Tuesday, he deleted all of the comments, saying he took the concerns seriously, but didn’t want to provide a platform for the “negativity and aggression.” On Thursday, he officially canceled the event.

Fuchs says he does want to keep the discussion going — he just thinks everyone needs some time to chill out, blaming the conflict on misconceptions, lack of communication, and a few “bad seeds” derailing the debate.

“Canceling the event gives us all a minute to re-group, breathe, and open an opportunity to start having a serious dialogue without the heat and aggression,” said Fuchs.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
You don't need any qualifications at all to make listicles about any topic. You just need a website.

One time I made a list of Brooklyn's best restaurants. I put my kitchen as #4.

It was a joke (I think) but not nearly as much of a joke as this: “To state the most innovative you should without a doubt be a native,” wrote Brooklyn.
Jan. 8, 2016, 12:15 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I question how Allegra Hobbs can write, directly after that quote, "the spat turned ugly." Unabashed xenophobia and nativism is ugly. Perhaps Mr. Fuchs should have apologized for lacking the foresight to be born in Brooklyn instead of Israel?
Jan. 8, 2016, 12:20 pm
Cherie says:
Go back to Pittsburgh, dickbreath.
Jan. 8, 2016, 5:41 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I think Ethan Pettit raises a good point about the homophobia running through the anti-housing movement. But Cherie also reinforces my own point about the nativism and xenophobia there.
Jan. 8, 2016, 6:10 pm
Pam Staples from Bushwick says:
For 2015 the hands down winner should be Beyonce or the Mayor's black wife.
Their bravery, defying all the sterotypes about the "fat, angry black lesbian" have made them an inspiration to many residents of Bushwick. And Latisha DeBlasio lived in Bushwick briefly while she was homeless.
Jan. 9, 2016, 3:19 am
Marcus from Greenpoint says:
Let's take a moment to talk about the racism that runs through the homosexual bohemian community of Brooklyn. Because, the gay hipsters of gentrified Williamsburg only brought the white gays along with them, not minorities. The gays of Williamsburg are mostly white, affluent people. They are not poor, usually, and they aren't a shade of brown. Yes, they might be broke, or broke artists; but they aren't poor, and they don't suffer from a lack of white privilege. Never have they experienced poverty.
Jan. 9, 2016, 10:45 am
Janet from Williamsburg says:
Marcus - black people are the true racists. Especially ones like you.
Jan. 9, 2016, 12:03 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Marcus, if you're looking for gay men of color, go on Grindr. You'll find plenty. I assume they are just invisible in the streets to you and that's why you only see white ones.

But I'm not sure how anyone can be expected to bring anyone besides one's own self "along with them" when choosing a neighborhood.
Jan. 9, 2016, 1:05 pm
Marcus says:
I'm sorry that went over your head, Mike. I'm happily married by the way, and we didn't meet each other on Grindr. He is from Morocco, but we did honeymoon in my homeland of Holland. They're pretty openminded about mixed race gay couples for the most part. We try to go at least once a year, if I'm not there anyway for an opening of my work at one of several galleries in Amsterdam. We have a great time every visit. Thanks for your concern about my love life tho. That's very sweet of you.
Janet, You are simply an ignoramus and a racist. Crawl back in your hole.
If anyone is interested in actually talking about the reality of the situation go ahead. If you want to deny the racist streak that runs through the white gay community you need your head examined.
Jan. 10, 2016, 10:49 am
Paul says:
Marcus - you're absolutely right about the open Dutch attitude towards mixed race gay couples - just look at Zwarte Piet and Santa Claus!
The tolerance is mind boggling! And where would we be without your bitter whining?
Jan. 10, 2016, 1:43 pm
Cyril from Brownsville says:
If there's one thing the racist white inbred newbies love to do, is to disenfranchise & exterminate people of color from their enclave and play the victim card in order to deflect the criticism of their racist ways. Wool hats, beards & flannel shirts are their white hoods and sheets they hide behind
Jan. 10, 2016, 3:37 pm
Cyril from Whitesville says:
If there's one thing racist, black, inbred southerners who've lived In New York a generation or two love to do, it's to disenfranchise & exterminate white people from their enclave and play the victim card in order to deflect from criticism of their racist ways. Baseball caps, braided hair & oversized sports clothes are their black hoods and bandanas they hide behind.
Jan. 11, 2016, 3:28 am
diehipster from ELIMINATING ETHANS says:
Abbrashazamazola!!! Did you all see Ethan The Chooch Pettit get clobbered all over the internet? What a racist gentrifier like the rest. Hahahaha hahahaha

Natives win!
Jan. 11, 2016, 2:52 pm
Native from Cannibalpoint says:
Have you noticed all the rotting I-beams throughout the subway system, most notably those holding up Midtown? The City believes the only way it can thrive is by sacrificing its own (along with their memories of sky and the serendipitous passing of time), in turn it simultaneously braindrains the world and enables global overpopulation.
Jan. 11, 2016, 2:58 pm

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