For both uninitiated and veteran gallery hoppers, Bushwick Open Studios, arts and culture festival, which takes place the first weekend of June, may be confusing. Spread over a vast area, the multitude of artists’ studios, galleries and non-profit spaces are often inside big industrial buildings, behind poorly marked entryways. But with the help of the BOS interactive map, hubs, and hoards of friendly art lovers, festival-goers will most likely be able to orient themselves in no time and may even begin to appreciate Bushwick’s funky charm and loads of creative energy. This gallery guide, organized as 10 stops A-J around the L train stations will navigate visitors through a varied selection of art venues within about a 25 minute walking distance from subway.
GRAND STREET L STOP
1. Shamus Clisset Composes 3-D virtual environments with hyper-real vignettes that delve into Clisset’s obsessions and personal history. Along for the ride is the artist’s digital golem, FakeShamus, a pioneer or a conqueror who while overtaking his surroundings, leaves a benign wasteland in his wake.
2. “Epic Fail” features artists Brian Alfred, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Erik Benson, Deborah Brown, Joseph Burwell, Greg Lindquist, Juliette Losq, Esperanza Mayobre, Tom McGrath and Frank Webster, who share reflections on repurposed industrial zones and the hubris of human activity in the aftermath of environmental disasters.
3. Deborah Brown’s paintings depict the industrial landscape of car salvage lots and scrap metal yards in the Bushwick neighborhood where she has been working as an artist, curator, and gallery owner.
4. Curated by Marco Antonini of NURTUREart, “The Trees are Thick with Butter,” is a new performance and exhibition by Matthew Cowan. Opening reception: SAT 7 to 10PM; on view SAT-SUN 12-7PM
In his photographs, videos, installations and performances, Cowan, a New Zealand artist, reflects on the odd role of folk customs in a modern world, while referencing a fantasy of Cockaigne, a medieval land where no one has to work, and food such as lumps of butter grows on trees.
MORGAN STREET L STOP
1. Momenta Art, Chloe Bass, “The Bureau of Self-Recognition.” Opening Reception: FRI 6-9PM (including live performance), SAT-SUN 12-6PM, through June 30
Exploring the nature of the “daily” and the notion of habitual behavior, this exhibit combines elements of live performance on select dates with a single installation, which captures the results of a long-term conceptual project. The installation will showcase photography, video, and found objects produced or collected over the course of the work, while the performance will allow viewers to take part in the Bureau, a business designed to track self-recognition as a process. Bass will track three routes through the installation to encourage different experiential outcomes for each viewer.
2. Studio 10, Matt Freedman, “The Devil tricked me,” Regular gallery hours, through June 16, 2013
All thirteen works in this deeply moving show refer to bad luck. Freedman’s constructions portray common folk admonitions that seek to control bad luck (walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors). Another significant component of the show is the notion of disability which is communicated through hand written explanations of the restrictions that he placed upon himself for the creation of the installation. Each piece consists of “de-skilled” labor: collected objects either from the street; broken umbrellas and cigarette stubs, or from his house and studio; a couch, a collection of pennies, components from previous work. The exhibition is organized around Freedman’s edition of “Relatively Indolent but Relentless”, a graphic journal he wrote recently while undergoing a harsh cancer treatment.
Matt Freedman, “The Devil Tricked Me”
3. Robert Henry Contemporary, Phillip Buntin, “On Not Knowing,” FRI-SUN 12 – 7PM, through June 9th
Buntin’s fluid paintings in acrylic on canvas and enamel on Plexiglas resonate constant flux. In pursuit of something elusive and unstable, layers of graphs, charts and notations taken from varied scientific sources, offer complex information which always on some level eludes our grasp. The enamel drawings on clear Plexiglas especially embody the notions of ephemerality, incompleteness and absence. At the back, don’t miss a group show of other gallery artists, including lovely works on paper by Elise Engler, Robert Strati, Colin Keefe and Noah Loesberg.
This year for BOS, the gallery will feature “ATLAS, KAHRS, MUCHA, WHITEREAD,” a group exhibition of video, sculpture and painting in both its Chelsea and Bushwick locations, featuring Charles Atlas, Johannes Kahrs, Reinhard Mucha and Rachel Whiteread. The four artists share an interest in the nature of memory and the shaping of collective and individual histories.
1. Patrick Berran and Jack Henry, Patrick Berran’s seductive oil and acrylic surfaces suggests landscapes or geological processes. Luscious glazes and abrupt changes in color and value leave traces of prior activity to create a rich history of his painterly investigation. Fri 5-9PM, SAT-SUN 12-7PM, through June 23.
Jack Henry embeds discarded objects that can be found in any post-industrial town in America, within layers of pigmented resin and gypsum cement. These freestanding columns resemble sections of earth cut from an urban landscape.
2. In the Project Space: “Schmatte,” FRI 5-9PM, SAT-SUN 12-7PM, through June 23
“Schmatte” explores notions of the discarded and the distressed in the work of four NYC artists: Josh Blackwell thwarts the function of plastic bags by adorning them with colorful embroidery in geometric patterns, while interrogating the economies of waste and necessity.
Antonia Perez, a mixed-media artist who makes sculpture, assemblage and installations, also gathers discarded objects such as used plastic bags, household linens, or tissue boxes and transforms them from trash to art objects.
While drawing on the shimmer of color in refuse, Katherine Powers collages resonate in her mind vibrant portraits of people’s inner life, interplay of material, emotions and spirit.
Randy Wray’s recent works recycle and transform the detritus of our castaway culture–junk mail, packaging, used clothing and old furniture, aiming to create new paths of connection.
“Transmissions” is a joint exhibition between AIRPLANE in Bushwick and 3331 Gallery in Tokyo, which will develop over the weekend in an experimental format. Artists include: James Reeder , Stephen Eakin , Matthew Newton , Alexa Hoyer, Ianthe Jackson , Brittany Prater, Audra Wolowiec, Kim Brandt , Tatjana Preuss , aquiles hadjis , karin pisarikova , Masumi Inoue , Sam Stocker , Utako Kanai Shindo, Moeko Kudo. The point of the show is to create a conduit between the two art spaces and art communities, while cultivating connection, improvisation and accumulation through time-based projects and music/sound collaborations. In addition to pre-selected work that will be transmitted, printed/projected, proposals will also be considered up to and during the exhibition.
Utilizing unique analog or digital processes, the artists in this group show aim to interpret and expand upon the concept of the portrait. The works offer breakthroughs in 3-D imagery, electronic painting, analog video, and the use of embedded virtual information. Works include M. Henry Jones original “Fly’s Eye” 3-D; DataSpaceTime’s reinterpretation of a famous stolen painting using QR-code technology linked to YouTube video; “machine” painting by Anton Perich composed with his 1978 electronic apparatus; and digital prints by James Fotopoulos, based on the artist’s VHS tetralogy “Jerusalem”.
Brooklyn writer Vanessa Mártir and photographer Meryl Meisler have teamed up again after the success of last year’s exhibit Defying Devastation: Bushwick in the 80s. In this year’s installment, Vanessa’s reflections of the neighborhood give voice to Meryl’s iconic images of urban decay. Meryl, who worked as a teacher in a local Bushwick school at the 80s, was seeking in her photographs to chronicle the local families and the love that defies crime infested environment. Thirty years later, Vanessa, now a writer, found herself at seven in one of the photographs. In order to include voices of the community, the artists designated an interactive wall where visitors can post their own photos and sketches about Bushwick then and now. For a schedule of events check: http://artsinbushwick.org/bos2013/directory/?listing=9431
JEFFERSON STREET L STOP
In this whimsical exhibition, the Houston-based collaborative artist team Hillerbrand +Magsamen presents video work and consumer art objects such as comfort pillows ($99.99), coffee mugs ($39.99) and single-channel HD videos ($1,399.99) display images of overflowing garages, plastic toys, or comfy couches. Offered for sale with distinctly marked prices (including decimals), these colorful objects embody a love-hate relationship with the manifold possessions the artist duo never thought they would confront under their own roof.
The gallery will host an art book fair which will feature work by artists, writers, independent publishers, and designers based in the Bushwick area, and will include photography, prints, and other ephemera. Diverse programming will take place throughout the weekend.
This light hearted exhibit features Fern, the noted pet canine of curator Jason Andrew, captured in paint, sculpture, installation, and drawing by Bushwick artists and invited friends.