It looks like the end of days is near and the Mayans have us all freaked. Naturally, that won’t stop some of us from partying our faces off for as long as we have them. Grab your closest friends and face whatever comes our way over the next few days and December 21st with dancing, drinks and art. Here is what’s happening in Bushwick and beyond as we finish the current b’ak’tun, at Long Count 18.104.22.168.0.
I bet you guys notice the awesome art we have this week on our Facebook cover. It is Bushwick-based artist Jen Hitchings who my dear friends can hardly be characterized with one word. You better use at least one paragraph:
Jen Hitchings is an artist who works at Williamsburg’s Pierogi gallery, and besides that she contributes to Bushwick Daily and runs her own little gallery at The Active Space called Weeknights. Jen is a truly active individual and we cannot otherwise but deeply admire her all activities. But let’s focus on her art, shall we? Jen is a classically trained painter who likes to work in small dimension.s Recently, you had a chance to see her work at Sunset Surf Club gallery on Wilson Ave in Bushwick. In her art, Jen frequently reflexes on her upbringing in the suburban New Jersey. You can taste hints on nostalgia, boredom, escapism… Jen frequently examines human relationships and likes to work from photographs; yes, even from Instagram photos!
Put that bow tie on and get ready to sip some cheap beer while intellectually discussing art! Friday in Bushwick means A LOT of art openings, and here are four of them you should definitely pencil into your social diary!
CCCP stands for Creative Curator’s Collective Program and North Light is for sure one of the most liberal galleries at 56 Bogart. They have an event called Molotov Cocktail Hour scheduled for today to accompany their current art show Exogenesis, so pay them a visit today 6-8pm.
At 56 Bogart you are rather likely to see more than one gallery show, which is very practical especially in an eventful neighborhood such as Bushwick. NURTUREart, one of the area’s most significant non-profits is having an opening of Monochrome, the first solo exhibition of Scott Lawrence. Lawrence works in sculpture, painting, drawing and manipulates everyday objects.
Big cheers for Bushwick Film Festival is happening tonight at The Loom Gallery! Holly Shen Chaves has been invited to curate an art show related to film to support Bushwick Film Festival. Holly who has been involved with Arts in Bushwick as a lead of the in the bloggers for Bushwick Open Studios and recently also with Bushwick Daily, has curated an exhibition to offer a contemporary response to structuralist film concepts from the late 1960s and 70s.
Multitalented artist and blogger Jen Hitchings decided a couple of moths ago that it’s time she opens her own gallery. She divided her studio at The Active Space into the part where she works and into the part that serves as a gallery, proving everyone that everything is possible if you only want it… micro/MACRO is the second exhibition curated and held by Jen Hithcings.
By Katarina Hybenova
Summer doesn’t end just because the calendar says it’s Labor Day on Monday. But one has to admit that it certainly feels a little different. Whether you like it or not it’s time to wake up from the summer romantic dreaming and GO! …or drift…
While the past weeks floated by sweetly in the form of watermelons and on tops of the roof, the upcoming week is filling me with great expectations and just a (lil), pointy anxiety as is always the case when the number of art openings in the hood exceeds 10. Not only is virtually every gallery in Bushwick having an opening, it’s also a time for two bigger events to happen. Go! Brooklyn and citydrift will both happen next weekend.
Go! Brooklyn is an all Brooklyn open studio event organized by Brooklyn Museum. “Open your studio and wait for the votes from your visitors,” says Brooklyn Museum. “If enough votes are casted, and if you’re lucky, you might get a show at Brooklyn Museum.” In other words, Brooklyn Museum says that you better send out at least 5 emails to your contact list; create that Facebook event and buy 6 bottles of Trader Joe’s wine, to ensure that people come and vote, because a lot is at stake. I have to appreciate the lesson in self-promotion Brooklyn Museum is trying to teach us here. Yes, it is important to let people know you exist because if they don’t know you exist, does it even matter that you create? Interesting conversation about Go! Brooklyn had this week Jen Hitchings with a married artist couple Jane Fine and James Esber, who have been collaborating for years and even share a studio, yet Jane decided to Go! and James decided not to Go!
…the whole “People’s Choice” award thing, a curated show, is a bit bogus and isn’t going to work, because not everyone gets the same foot traffic… - James Esber
It’s beautifully organized, and it’s not that we should’ve been a priority, but it was just a bunch of emails, and why didn’t anyone get some of us on the phone instead? Is their intention to make it a success and then in the next years everyone wants to be a part of it? – Jane Fine
On Monday, we had Peter Hopkins from The Bogart Salon and the brain behind another big event next week, citydrift write about the concept and his inspiration. In his essay he pronounced a couple of amazing quotes on creativity and innovation that I wish we all pondered a little longer than usual.
The lessons I learned from these and the other things I saw were, first, to look for “the future” in unlikely places, places most everyone else had decided weren’t worth paying attention to, and second, to not try to replicate other past successful platforms, but instead “let go” of pre-conceived ideas and let your mind…drift. – Peter Hopkins
I consider myself a Buddhist, and I like citydrift better. Much smaller budget, much smaller PR, much more concept to it. citydrift invites us to come to one of the participating galleries and join one of the drifts that will go on a walk around Bushwick. Each drift will consist of a small group of people, like 7 or 10, and will have more or less concept to it. What all the drifts will have in common is that you will be encouraged to experience, to perceive, to see, to feel, to drift… Whether it’s an intentionally placed art installation or an accidentally discovered beauty, citydrift is essentially a trip back to the beginning where we ask: Why art? Why feel? And most importantly, it places the emphasis on the experience of art that should bring joy, pleasure and happiness. Because no matter what they tell you, a show at Brooklyn Museum will not bring you happiness. It will bring you societal recognition, but not happiness. Because happiness is your state of mind when you feel and create out of the pure desire of heart and the only approval that matters is your own.
Anyway, I wish you an amazing “last” summer weekend. Enjoy and next week, back to work!
By Sean Alday
Walking up to the door of Brooklyn Fire Proof for a portion of Vis-a-Vis Festival, I was naively surprised to see well-coiffed ladies attached at the arm to designer suits with bodies inside them. But the surprise quickly gave way to understanding. This was one event among several strategically timed after Bushwick Open Studios so as to not be lost amongst the weekend, but still attract some of the curious rubber-neckers who came back for more.
It’s usually the case with good-hearted performance art during the summer that the aroma of sweaty crotches hits you at the door. There’s nothing to fear in pheromones and it really added to the ambiance. The watchers were seated in a large circle under the art curated by our own Jen Hitchings, and there were quite a few in the standing room section. It was packed enough that I may have knocked a little boy on his head with my notebook as he ran to the bathroom.
It’s pretty simple to hang a light bulb from the center of a room, get some cloth and a few dancers and call it performance art. But that’s the cynic talking. The choreography was very start/stop and served to heighten the tension between the audience and the performers.
By tension I mean subtle flicks of ears and grasping the wall inches above someone’s head. People were trying to look non-plussed but there was little room to hide. An original-ish score by Matthew Siffert was interpreted on a clarinet, piano, cello and recordings including the refrain from “Send In The Clowns.”
I can’t claim to know what they were getting at. But a pretty obvious interpretation is “we are all beings running fore and aft while the light dangles.” I cringed writing that sentence in the darkened room. I don’t know how much of the beginning of the performance I missed.
Normally I’d advocate nude performance art, and I’m not disavowing it here, but the shawled performers made the audience uncomfortable emperors in this context. Which was appreciated at least by me.
Maybe this report sounds a bit crabby. I blame the heat, my crotch is sweating.
By Jen Hitchings
I locked my bike on one of those somewhat desolate, spacious street corners under the JMZ, at Broadway and Willoughby, to visit Jazzabelss, a very new boutique run by the Yazmin Colon. Yazmin was wearing a pink top and blue cardigan, and her enthusiasm and positive nature were gleaming just as bright as the parrot pendent dangling from her necklace. This is her first boutique, and you could never tell by the looks of the room.
“The most expensive things I have in here are those chains, they’re $30 each. A friend of mine saw those, and said ‘I just bought those somewhere else for $50!’ I don’t want to make a huge profit. I just want to cover my costs and then a little bit. I feel like we’re at a point right now where we are in a recession and rent is really high, but we still need to look good!”
Jazzabelss is tastefully organized and speckled with adorable, affordable jewelry and clothing for women and men of any age. Yazmin is in the process of acquiring plus-size clothing too.
Yazmin told me all about her 12 year old son Johnny, and how his classmates come into the boutique sometimes to hang out.
“I want the young kids around here to be doing something productive with their time, to keep them off the streets. I’ll tell some of them that if they finish school with A’s and B’s they’ll get a package of jewelry for free as a gift. And this collection here, these are little lady bells, for the younger girls. Sometimes I see them wearing jewelry or clothes that they’re just too young for, like huge hoop earrings, and I don’t like it. I want them to feel grown up and mature like their older sisters, but still look like the cute, young girls that they are.”
Aside from selling all kinds of jewelry that are stylish and will never go out of style, Yazmin told me about all of her huge plans to open up a storefront in Brooklyn, a shop in Florida for her sisters to run, the jewelry parties she already facilitates, events she wishes to hold like block parties, participation in flea markets, and donating jewelry and clothing to organizations benefiting women and under-privileged children.
“I want my boyfriend to get a permit, we want to shut the street down and have a block party. I’d love to do it one weekend from Broadway to Bushwick Ave., then the next weekend from Bushwick Ave. to Evergreen, then the next, Evergreen to Central. Just get everyone together so we can all meet each other and maybe help one another out.”
Community, not competition, seemed to be one of the most important things to Yazmin regarding her business. We spoke about how so many people in New York tend to compete with one another for profits and for reputability, but that’s not what Jazzabelss is about.
Jazzabelss Boutique is located at 1009 Broadway (at Willoughby) #203, is open from 1-7pm Tuesday-Sunday. The website was just launched at Jazzabelssboutique.com. You can friend Jazzabelss Boutique on facebook here, follow her on twitter here, and on instagram at @jazzabelssboutique.
By Jen Hitchings
It’s 10:00am on the opening day of the show.
Curator: “There’s something I had to do today…”
Curator’s boyfriend: “Throw a massive party?”
Rooms are never prepped. Artists forget installation day. Bands cancel hours before the opening. Your printer runs out of ink. FedEx delivers artwork but you’re not home to sign for it because you’re getting bagels with your friends around the corner, so it gets sent back to the office in Maspeth. You don’t know how to get to Maspeth because you don’t have a car. Your co-curator saves the potentially-empty gallery wall space by driving you to Maspeth 4 hours before the opening. And this is just a fraction of the obstacles that the independent curator has to hurdle over in order to put a few dozen pieces of artwork on some walls.
Poster Design by Spencer Alexander
This past Saturday, Bear Skin opened at Brooklyn Fire Proof. The visual curator was yours truly, and the bands were booked and sound handled by my friend and audio engineer Jon Perrelly (together, we make up Party Species.)
Curating group shows in a venue that you don’t own is kind of like herding a field of cattle that may or may not have Mad Cow disease with someone else’s sheep dog that speaks another language. Okay, it’s not always that unpredictable, but it has the potential to be. You have six artists in the show and six walls divided by columns. What do you do if one of them leaves the country and forgets to give you their work? While a show is up for a week, some work gets stolen or damaged and the venue has no security cameras – what do you tell the artist? You may say “installation will occur between 7-9pm” and end up dropping the hammer at 2am on a Friday night. You may hold on to work for 6 months after the show ends. There are a million things that can go wrong with the execution of a show, but at the end of it all, a considerable amount of people got a chance to look at work that they most likely wouldn’t have seen had you not spent all that time and caused all those self-inflicted headaches. You also most likely will get a chance to speak to other dedicated artists and curators and set up a studio visit in your euphoric and tipsy state during the opening. Not to mention it helps to have a bunch of supportive, creative, and skillful friends to put tacks in the wall, collect money at the door, fold your press booklets, snake audio cables through the walls, laugh at you for being so neurotic about measurements, and to get the crowd going insane during the bands performance.
If you are a dedicated curator, you make the show work. You make the artists happy to have their work hanging in a place other than their bedroom wall. Somehow, you make people tell you throughout the night that you should do this more often, while you think ‘THIS IS THE LAST TIME…’ but you know it won’t be.
All in all, if you love art and community enough to curate a show, go for it. Mad Cow Disease has fallen 90% since 2005, and some artists appreciate your efforts enough to thank you endlessly, or at least to buy you a beer.
Below are some photos from the opening night.