10:15am on a Monday in Bushwick feels pretty early. The neighborhood is quiet, and the air is a bit chilly, despite the sun shining bright. I am suddenly reminded of the inevitable arrival of fall, soon. Cooper Holoweski and I are taking a little walk in the closeness of his studio at Hart St. Cooper’s studio is in an old factory, which is hidden, a bit surprisingly, between the residential buildings. This is Bushwick.
Cooper is one of the Bushwick artists, proudly creating collage, and he says that it’s the perfect medium for the times we live in. Earlier in his studio he pulled out a bunch of cuttings from magazines and papers for his next project. Right now his studio is rather empty; good empty- most of his work is hanging in galleries.
Things Were Perfect is his solo show at Bushwick’s Storefront. Cooper who is originally from Detroit says that he grew up hearing how things in Detroit used to be perfect before, and now are not anymore. He is coming from the environment where fathers worked in factories believing that their children will once be executives there; families owned Herman Miller furniture in their vinyl-sided houses… “Capitalist Utopia,” says Cooper. “It never existed.” His show at Storefront is a gentle mockery of the loyalty to the American middle class lifestyle of the 20th century and it’s values.
“How do you like people in New York?” I’m asking. “Are they different than people in Detroit?”
“Oh my god! They are very different. People in Detroit are nice. And polite!” He is laughing. “But people in Bushwick are a very different story. People here are really nice.” I concur.
“Snow cones!” Cooper stops a snow cone vendor, after I’m being curious about what he enjoys in Bushwick. Cooper spent quite some time in South America, in Chile and in Brazil, and maybe that’s where he became addicted to this simple treat. The vendor lifts a towel from a piece of ice, and proceeds to scratch it only to get two cups full of snow. Cooper knowledgably points his finger to the bottle containing lemon juice and the vendor pours it on two cups, and inserts a straw into each of them. “One’s for you,” says Cooper, and I am thinking “Oh, shit. I didn’t notice if the ice was clean.” But it’s time to loosen up and enjoy some local treats. The lemon juice is bitter and intensively sweet.
“You know how in New York, even if you go to a bar by yourself, someone will talk to you even if you don’t know them.” Cooper continues in our discussion about people. ”So in Finland that would never happen. People there seemed pretty cold. Unlike Swedes who were really friendly.” Cooper seems like he’s happy everywhere, and I’m guessing he was also pretty happy in Europe where he spent some time at an art residency. His artistic path has been quite interesting so far. He started as a political science major ready to take the LSATs, but eventually ending up taking so many art courses, he received also an art degree.
He sips his lemon juice because the snow has melted.
... little BONUS for curious readers. Look at unpublished photos of
Cooper Holoweski at our Facebook page.