Habitat: Nick van Woert

Nick van Woert photographed in his Greenpoint studio on August 20. KATHERINE MCMAHON

Nick van Woert photographed in his Greenpoint studio on August 20.


Habitat is a weekly series that visits with artists in their workspaces.

This week’s studio: Nick van Woert in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “What I’ve started to see and what has defined the subtext to much of the work I do is that the comfort that many materials provide is only camouflage for the horror underneath,” van Woert said, when asked about his process. “Things are not as they appear.”

Originally from Reno, Nevada, van Woert has been working at his Greenpoint studio space for four years. He originally studied architecture before switching to art, but one can see his earlier training in many of his pieces, like 6221 Osage Ave, which is a model of a home that once stood at 6221 Osage Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1985, the house was occupied by a black liberation group called MOVE. The cops dropped a bomb on the house, killing 11 people and burning down 60 other homes in the process. “I wanted to resurrect this house,” he said. “The piece of zombie architecture became a symbol for the unwritten laws that we all live by—assimilate or die.” Situated nearby, a giant Mickey Mouse figurine covered in battery acid peers in our direction.

At the time of this shoot, van Woert was gearing up for a show at Moran Bondaroff in Los Angeles, which is currently on view until October 10. Below, van Woert shares some insight into his creative process and takes us around his workspace, where motorcycles, giant Indian sculptures, and hanging giraffes coexist.


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