A class I took a few years ago called “Art in the 21st Century” is what led me to first attend a dumbo arts festival. In class, we spent several weeks discussing how art had arrived in the new era, relying heavily on ideas expressed by the artists themselves in the awesome lessons offered by the PBS site Art21. Naturally I responded more to the art of Kara Walker, Shazia Sikander, Eleanor Antin and Walton Ford when I heard those artists explain the incredible thinking that informs their work.
So the same can be said for visiting the artists at dumbo. Nothing I have found in New York will help you appreciate new art the way you can when you have an opportunity to speak with the artist and let them give you a better idea of what they are about and what context they place their work in.