Photo Essays

Bushwick Open Studios 2011: Pets, Paintings and Performance

In this year’s Bushwick Open Studios, I trekked across the post-industrial neighborhood in search of art. I found surveillance pets, paperback books, marble sculptures and abstract paintings.

At the new media-focused 319 Scholes gallery is a showcase of NYU’s ITP department student thesis work. At front is Andy Jordan’s “You + Me”, a wooden construction of animatronic devices that spin to trigger sounds, audible from inside the box. It’s about how we influence each other’s thoughts.

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Igal Nassima’s “Surveillance Pet” questions our own ease with constant surveillance as its cute-ifies Big Brother.

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“Little Memories” by Andrea Wolf Yadlin are tiny projections of found Super 8 footage. Whimsical and evocative, these were nice sculptural works.

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At McKibbin lofts, Landscapes of Voluptuous Extremes was a group show that had a few highlights but was very uneven. Michael Rutushin’s popping “Maya be nice” (2009) painting stood out from the crowd.

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Sean Fader’s live/work studio showed off his series of photo portraits. Each subject has two photos — one of how Fader envisioned the person after seeing an online dating listing, and another reflecting the person’s actual personality. An interesting investigation of on and offline identity, perception versus reality.

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Rafael Fuchs showed a salon-style hanging of Postcards From Bushwick at the back of Swallow Cafe on Bogart Street. The neighborhood cross section exists in the cafe as well as on the walls.

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Eastern District had this storefront space filled with an exhibition of street art, featuring Aakash Nihalani (at right) and plenty of work by Dick Chicken (you can probably guess which one that is).

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Susan Begy showed a pair of delicate marble sculptures, this one, a baby nestled in Baroquely-twisting cloth. Two visitors look on.

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At Interstate Projects, the most striking work in a high quality group show was Justin Berry’s photo series of paperback books. The artist scanned the worn books and photoshopped information out: these have no title, no author, just the aging image, poetically silent.

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Outside on Bogart Street just off the Morgan L stop.

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At studio building 1717 Troutman, Jon Elliott showed this hypnotizing grid of paintings. The variation in size and shape of surfaces in this composition created a sweeping movement that made the work much more interesting than the subject matter and execution of the paintings themselves.

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Stephen Lichty was not afraid to go minimal in his studio showing, perhaps the most visually striking work I saw in the building. This single pole balances a strand of ribbon, metallic surface contrasting with the soft fabric. Different sets of ribbons and stands create variations on a minimal theme.

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Lichty found this ribbon, a pieces of vintage French rayon, at a specialty store.

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Artist-run gallery space Regina Rex has a group show called Through the Warp up, featuring work by Lawrence Weiner (top of the wall) and others.

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Tatiana Berg’s studio showed off some new entrants into her tent series of paintings. The soft blue tent at right included some glitter finish, but I also liked the thin wash surface of the green monster on the wall.

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We ended the evening at Grace Exhibition Space, a performance-oriented gallery. Anya Liftig (at right) had just finished up a performance when we arrived in which she posed like a raw chicken. The results were eerily exact. At left, Grace directors Jill McDermid and Erik Hokanson.

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