Ever wish you could get your hands on an original Warhol poster celebrating the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial? You can, along with a wealth of other extraordinary prints right here in DUMBO, thanks to a gem of a company hidden in 135 Plymouth. Art Wise has been in the neighborhood since 1997, and in the years since, it has grown from a small selection of museum and exhibition posters to an expansive inventory of highly sought after artworks with an emphasis on signed and limited edition posters and prints. We sat down with Bernard Rougerie to learn more.
Tell us about Art Wise!
ArtWise specializes in rare museum and exhibition posters from around the world such as Europe, Australia, Japan and South America. It is mostly artists-oriented more than object-oriented. The company has 3 divisions, the retail division, the wholesale division that sells directly to galleries, museum shops and auction houses, and the third division, our auction division.
When did ArtWise get started?
The beginnings date back to 1992, and we set up in DUMBO in 1997. I had been working in a poster store on Bleecker Street called French Kisses. I discovered how exciting the poster business could be and decided I would curate my own collection. Soon I was selling to galleries, museum shops, collectors, and large retailers across the world.
We wanted to be in Brooklyn but close to Manhattan. 90% of our business was in Manhattan at the time. Having quick access to both bridges and several trains stopping nearby was great solution. Rents were also very affordable at the time. I raised my family in Park Slope so I could easily bike to work everyday!
Can people also visit your warehouse at 135 Plymouth St?
Yes! We open to the public every Friday from 10am-5pm and by appointment. So anybody in the neighborhood is more than welcome to step by and discover some art!
I feel strongly about every poster we carry because I only buy them if I like ’em!
Bernard Rougerie, President of Rare Posters, Inc./ArtWise
What's your favorite poster?
My favorite poster currently is “We are the Revolution” by Joseph Beuys. I am also proud to own a copy of Warhol Brooklyn Bridge 1883-1983 Centennial poster. I must say though that I feel strongly about every poster we carry because I only buy them if I like ’em!
What are your favorite spots in DUMBO?
From the day we moved to DUMBO— before it was called DUMBO— we could only eat at Front Street Pizza. Lucky for all of us they made the best slice of pizza hands down. Later, Superfine and Almondine opened, both great spots. And we can't forget Jacques Torres!