Under the direction of Jenny Mendez, students from the Beacon Center for Arts & Leadership will be performing at this year’s Bushwick Open Studios. Performances by local Bushwick kids are a rare thing for BOS, as the festival largely consists of Bushwick implants, experimental and established artists. During a hectic weekend of art shows, installations and crowded streets, be sure to stop by Maria Hernandez Park on Sunday, June 2nd and watch the real kids of Bushwick do their thang.
Happy HAPPY Friday!!! Here are the highlights of this weeks happenings from the Arts in Bushwick blog!
- Jungle Jim and Andrea talk about how an accidental two-piece became the band Twin Guns. Why they stand out, who influences them, their upcoming participation in Bushwick Open Studios, and how Jungle Jim overcomes morning quandaries relating to miss matched socks.
- BOS hosted the final ’13 Mixer at Little Skips. See what and who you missed here.
- BOS 2013 Community Day opens up for submissions. Get involved here.
- AiB Radio: Tom (aka Tomeeo) the talented DJ/Producer whom runs both a minimal techno label and a podcast dedicated to promoting electronic dance music in Korea put together a mix for us to enjoy! Listen here.
- Andrew Chan talks about how his Art is Music is Art connecting his work to LCD Sound Systems. Need more specifics? Check it out here.
- Paul Pagk: 18 Drawings and 1 Painting is now on view at Studio 10 Gallery, 56 Bogart Street until May 5th, 2013. See and learn more about this British Born abstract geometric painter here.
- Bizarre host the BOS Mixer No.5. Bizarre plans to host a variety of events over the course of BOS weekend including live performance, burlesque shows, jazz and more! Get the details here!
Want to join in on the action and contribute to Arts in Bushwick blog? Email hollyATartsinbushwick.org
Bushwick Open Studios is gearing up for its seventh year this summer! Over 10,000 art enthusiasts, art buyers, members of the press, and the public come out for this three day festival on May 31 – June 2.
A weekend-long annual celebration of the neighborhood’s unbounded creativity, festival Bushwick Open Studios is coming to its 7th year. Needless to say, a lot has changed in the neighborhood since 2006 when the festival was held for the first time. However, the self-curated festival keeps growing while operating within the loose framework of an anti-institutional, egalitarian, volunteer organization of Arts in Bushwick.
Bushwick’s very own volunteer organization Arts in Bushwick, responsible for Bushwick Open Studios mega-festival, just launched their blog. Under the editorial leadership of Holly Shen Chavez, AiB blog will be functioning all year round, as opposed to only seasonal festival blogging in the previous years.
By Sean Alday
I spoke with Lucia Rollow, a powerhouse organizer within the workaholic organization: Arts in Bushwick. It turns out that she wasn’t only sending out thousands of emails for Bushwick Open Studios, but also working behind the scenes for Go! Brooklyn and right in front at the Bushwick Community Darkroom among other things.
By Katarina Hybenova
A fascinating warehouse on 1717 Troutman St. located right on the boarder of Bushwick and Ridgewood, is a home to hundreds of artist studios. The building is so giant that some people have to ride a bike in the endless hallways to get to their studio at the end of the floor. This industrially romantic studio buildings is proud of its large windows, which provide for plenty of light and tall ceilings. Moreover, the deck on the second floor is one of the most magical spots in the area. It offers an unforgettable view of Manhattan skyscrapers interlaced with Brooklyn water towers. You can sit there with your friends or by yourself, drinking beer or simply enjoying the serenity of this industrial beauty… Naturally, there is a plenty of splendid art being created behind the doors. The building is now a home to two galleries. Regina Rex opened in 2010, belongs to the areas’ finest; and Parallel Art Space, its younger sibling (opened in April 2012) quickly gained the reputation of a spotless location for exceptional art.
All that industria cum art magic causes that 1717 Troutman is one of the highlights of any Bushwick Open Studios weekend, and this year wasn’t an exception. I admit that I suffer from artist studio voyeurism, and I love to observe them as a living organisms, the last pencil being as important as the art work itself. During this year’s BOS, I enjoyed getting lost in 1717 Troutman building for several hours….
By Sean Alday
Austin Thomas and I sat down before Bushwick Open Studios in her art gallery Pocket Utopia to talk about loss and failure. Or so I had planned. I was losing the lease on my space and thought that her story of rebirth and regeneration would be exactly what what I needed to hear.
So we spoke and she interviewed me as much as I interviewed her. She reminded me that failure is one of the most important components to success, and that true community can overtake conformity.
Austin Thomas: I never considered myself a gallerist at the time. What I was doing was an extension of my artwork. Pocket Utopia in Bushwick was run like a salon space, it was only open on Saturdays and Sundays, we had artist residencies, exhibitions, and talks. So I think that giving it the title of a gallery, may be giving me too much credit [laughs].
Sean Alday: So what did you call what you were doing?
Austin: It was really a place to expand my own ideas on what running a social space meant. We didn’t really sell work either. The work we did show included things like Andrew Hurst doing a performance drilling up through the floor from the basement. There were a lot of performances and an exploration of ideas more than anything else.
The current iteration of Pocket Utopia is also an exploration of ideas, but it’s a deepening of the understanding that started there.
Sean: Where was your artwork developmentally, before Pocket Utopia?
Austin: I had been building a lot of social structures. Things like benches, tables, chairs, for people to sit on and communicate with each other. They were hard structures that I made primarily at a woodshop in Bushwick.
I thought that my work was going to move in the direction of furniture. So that’s one reason that I opened Pocket Utopia, to see if I could run a space as an artwork. Which was very different from the idea of running a gallery. Plus it was only open on Saturday and Sunday, I had to work five days a week.
Looking back, it was my vacation house [laughs].
Sean: What was it like running an social arts space in Bushwick at that time?
Austin: We didn’t know that we were in Bushwick. We laughed one day when someone came in and asked “How does it feel to be the first art gallery in Bushwick?” We laughed because we thought that we were in East Williamsburg.
I knew that it was an artist neighborhood. The relationships between artists grew stronger as Pocket Utopia carried on. Building an arts community was the main byproduct of running it, whether we were in Bushwick or on the border [laughs].
I had a blog and wrote about how artists approached showing their work. I definitely noticed that it was more about the work and not about who you knew. With that knowledge I always tried to keep the focus on the artwork. I learned a lot about what making art meant to me.
The whole experience of having a community of artists to talk to… I had never had that before.
I don’t know what your experience has been, if you moved to Bushwick with your community of artists. Maybe saying “I didn’t have a community.” sounds foreign to you. But I had lived in New York for thirteen years before opening Pocket Utopia, with a studio in Chelsea for ten years, and I never found that I had a group of artists to talk to about making art. And what it felt like, was having a community who had my back through the experience of failure. Sometimes as an artist – failure is the best thing that can happen to you. We can get confused at always being successful or being surrounded by success.
Pocket Utopia had a beginning, middle and end, I had always planned on doing it for two years. Other things were happening, I was advocating that other artists open their own spaces too. I had learned so much about my own practice through having done that, that it seemed like something worth sharing. I don’t know if that’s your experience…
Sean: When I moved here, I didn’t know what Bushwick was. I just wanted to live and write in Brooklyn for a while. I realized that there were a lot of artists in my building that I got along with. So we started our space out of their adjacent apartments.
Austin: And it has the downstairs right?
Sean: Yes they are both duplex apartments.
Austin: Right… That’s where I saw the work that I liked. It was during Jason’s latest Beat Nite.
Sean: What were people telling you about your space. And were you aware of what people were writing about Pocket Utopia?
Austin: In what sense?
Sean: On Edward Winkleman’s blog in 2007 he openly wished that your approach would be the new mould for art galleries. That is, artist-run and artist-friendly.
Austin: That’s interesting… The funny thing is that that’s not far off the mark from what happened in Bushwick. I mean, here we are on the eve of Bushwick opening up, and there’s over 500 spaces advertised. That’s incredible.
It’s great that artists move there and think about community. And it seems to be the main reason artists cite for moving there. It’s great to find that ideas can manifest so quickly.
That quote from Winkleman is as relevant now as it was then. There is a lot of opportunity to do things, show things, write about things. It seems like there is a nurturing community in which you can show what you do with a lot of freedom.
The dialogue is moving forward. That part never stopped. I started with a few goals in mind. One was to run it for two years, the other was to do it as artpiece. Afterwards, I wanted to run with the idea of Pocket Utopia without a space.
We’re artists, we add and subtract things.
Sean: What was the transition like from closing your space and going out on that limb, of trying to carry the idea forward, to where you are now?
Austin: I never thought that I was going to reopen. Immediately after it closed people started asking me to do things. I worked a lot with Jason Andrew of Norte Maar and he runs one of the most collaboration-minded organizations around.
We worked together to put on Camp Pocket U in Rouses Point, one year after I closed the space. So that was 2010.
Sean: How did you like being in Rouses Point after having been in the city for so long?
Austin: I think that it was good for everybody. It was ten days. A lot of people came and it seemed to have a strengthening effect on the community. I love how Bushwick is this ever changing landscape right in the middle of the city. But that ten days was good for all involved I think. Sorry you couldn’t make it.
Sean: I am too in retrospect. But I had no idea about it at the time.
Austin: How has it been for you running 950 Hart?
Sean: It’s been a lot of fun. Definitely the best two years of my life. But I also learned more doing this than I ever did at school.
Austin: I feel the same way about Pocket Utopia. It’s been a great time in my life and it was worth several Masters Degrees based on what I learned. But the community that came out of it had the most lasting impact. The friendships, collaborations, the spaces that opened and have grown since then. Art should have a firm foot in community. We should support each other.
My wish would be for that collaborative community to continue. I think that it will, it’s been proven to work. On that note I look forward to collaborating with you in the future.
“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
By Katarina Hybenova
Julie Torres once told me she can’t just organize a regular art show. “I just can’t…” Julie has been largely involved with the artistic community in Bushwick for a couple of years now, and she had organized and curated several notable art events. At AIRPLANE she created durational experiment Cult Logic; she made a bunch of painters work and exhibit their work within 48 hours at Camel Art Space; and for BOS2011, she organized nights of collaborative drawings and showed the results at Norte Maar.
Neither this year did Julie fail to come up with an interesting, community driven concept. She invited a dozen artists she has never met in person, but she has been in vivid contact through social media and art blogs. Many of them came from over seas, just to meet energetic Julie Torres and the rest of the group of abstract painters. They flew in their work, but they also participated in a collaborative drawing night with the Bushwick artist held at Hyperallergic HQ. The show titled ALLTOGETHENOW at a pop up location at Starr and Wycoff, The Coin Locker featured all of these works, and certainly belonged to the most interesting shows during BOS2012. The works in the show were beautiful, colorful abstract paintings that furthermore reflected the energy and friendship, pure joy of being and creating together in Bushwick…
Shortly before the opening night, I asked Julie a couple of questions about the show and her friendly folks.