Photos and words by Laurie Markiewicz
(Wedneday, August 19, 2014) – A day before the highly anticipated August 7th Brooklyn Queens Elite (BQE) exhibition at Powerhouse Arena, I snuck in to see the show’s curator Yvette Hidalgo. With the understanding of the madness behind these shows, I started to wonder if people on the outside had any understanding as to how much work and detail goes into producing such events. At first glance, Yvette had the crunch-time look across her face. It was 2:30pm the day before the event, work hadn’t been hung yet, some pieces had to still arrive, and one of the names on the wall was spelled wrong. A lot of us have been there. Determined, Yvette was going to make miracles happen. And she did.
The BQE exhibition was packed with people and enthusiasm. Everyone (even the kids) grooved to the sounds of DJ’s Dr. Brown Celery, DJ Kilz, Nasty Vaz, and O. Incredible (also of Brooklyn/Queens). On the main wall KEO XMEN pieced “Brooklyn Queens Elite” bringing all of the artists together on one wall under their respective borough. Each artist had their own wall space through Powerhouse and filled it with as much work as they pleased serving as a perfect blend of creative minds.
Now in the show’s final week, I caught up with Yvette to discuss her motions before and after the show.
596: When I came to visit you before the show we had briefly discussed what inspired you to put this show together. You mentioned you were working in Dumbo on 9/11 and running down to the block Powerhouse now stands on to see what was happening and like so many that day being so struck with intense emotion. Is your memory of 9/11 and also the Brooklyn/Queens annual celebrations from your youth what made you want to have BQE in Dumbo?
YH: The Powerhouse block will always be a part of me. I started working at the present, 45 Main Street on January 2001 and when September 11th occurred it forever changed my soul. I stayed on that block with the Oasis company until 2002 and moved to So Florida. I moved back to NYC in 2006 and went back to Oasis which had still remained on Main Street. A year later, in 2007, I attended the 25th Anniversary Wild Style Event at Powerhouse and was in awe at the fact the space was pretty fresh to have an event. I had just started to get involved with Younity around that time. I said to myself, “One day I will have a fly show at this venue”. Since I was just learning some things of the art business I was not able to curate on my own. That summer night I was touched by an angel that kept me on the path. My vision evolved and falling in love with someone from Brooklyn, Antonio KEL 5MH, made the Brooklyn Queens connection. (I am from Elmhurst, Corona, Lefrak City, Queens) Yup i grew up on Junction Blvd and 57th Avenue where all those hoods met.) In the fall/winter of 2013, I had approached CAM, Craig Anthony Miller, to possibly have a show at reBar. DUMBO was most definitely the place for BQE. At this point since about 2010, I kept saying that I wanted to do a Brooklyn Queens Day event. When I had a meeting with CAM about what I had in mind he was down and gave me that opportunity to curate my 1st show. DUMBO was most definitely the place for BQE.
596: What was your process of selecting the artists?
YH: First and foremost the artists had to be native New Yorker’s. Specifically from BK/Queens. I did my research and since most of the artists in the collective are my personal friends I knew that each one will bring a certain style to the showcase. It was also a homage to their talent that concluded my final decision. At reBar’s the Walkway, I was only going to have 9 artists. The space at Powerhouse came along with more walls to fill up. I needed to add those additional talented artists to the lineup. Which a few times I was told that I had a heavy hitters collective. For it being my first show, and already being told I had a heavy hitters collective, why not give myself the challenge. I always want to see how far I could go.
YH: My favorite moment was seeing my immediate family. My mom, brother, sister, my in-law’s and my little boy, Sonny dance his little heart off. Only missing was my older boy, Mikey, he was away with his dad.
596: Is there a closing party or night?
YH: No we will not have a closing. However, this Saturday, August 23rd from 7PM to 12AM there will be a screening and reception at Powerhouse featuring a new surf film Strange Rumblings — Trailer: http://www.surfingmagazine.com/video/strange-rumblings-trailer/ . The people having the screening are neighbors at a store called Aegir Boardworks. I’ll be inviting people to this event to have a last shot to hang out there. The final day to see the show is Sunday, August 24.
What’s happening the day before the BQE show:
Kel adding a finish…