Events

Your Concise Guide to Gowanus Open Studios 2016

In which we try to help you make sense of the more than 320 artists’ studios and spaces in Gowanus that will be open to the public this weekend.

(courtesy Arts Gowanus)
(courtesy Arts Gowanus)

Get set to trek around your favorite superfund site this weekend, as Gowanus Open Studios (GOS) returns. Over 320 artists and spaces are signed up to participate, spanning Pacific Street to 21st Street. In addition to artists’ studios, this is an ideal opportunity to check out the neighborhood’s galleries and artist-run spaces, and its many specialized art-making facilities, from Brooklyn Glass and the Gowanus Print Lab to the Textile Arts Center. And although at least one of last year’s hub buildings has since been emptied of artists, some new studio complexes have popped up, too.

For those planning to find their own way around GOS, be sure to consult the online directory and map, or pick up one of a limited number of printed maps, which will be available at these locations (where, incidentally, you can also pick up Hyperallergic’s fall exhibitions guide). We’ve also compiled some handy suggestions of spaces to check out, big studio buildings to hit up, and concurrent exhibitions not to miss.

And don’t forget to follow Hyperallergic on Instagram; we’ll be posting photos from GOS all weekend.

The Gowanus Canal (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)
The Gowanus Canal (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

Studios

  • Spaceworks Gowanus (540 President Street): Formerly a prop shop, this space is a new addition to the GOS map, but already there are nearly three dozen artists signed up to participate. Among those worth seeking out at this address are incredibly funny and sharp paintings and sculptures by Crys Yin, conceptual and environmental public art by Katarina Jerinic, the surrealist botanist sculptures of Rachel Selekman, the irreverent feminist paintings of Alexandra Rubinstein, and the powerful marionette-like sculptures of Valerie Gladstone, among others.
  • 457 Degraw Street: This ceramics complex is home to about a half-dozen artists producing clay art in a variety of styles and scales, from Yumiko Kuga‘s elegant yet organic vessels to Judith Barnes‘s abstract yet fantastical sculptures.
  • Textile Arts Center (505 Carroll Street): As its name suggests, this studio facility and workshop is devoted to fabric artists. Come see what their current residents are working on, from the dazzling pattern works of Vien Le Wood, to the avant-garde garbs of Mia Daniels.
  • 98 4th Street: With over a half-dozen participating artists, this building is a good destination to check out a healthful range of works, from Melissa Dadourian‘s neon abstractions to Halsey Chait‘s finely detailed images of abstract and natural patterns.
  • Brooklyn Art Space (400 3rd Avenue, 2nd Floor): One of GOS’s hubs — and, consequently, often very crowded later in the afternoon — this facility features dozens of artists’ studios, making it a rewarding visit. Come by to check out the cheekily otherworldly sculptures of Ari Eshoo, the popping textile assemblages of Erika Roth, the evocative architectural fictions of Adrienne Tarver, the irreverent and diagrammatic drawings of Christina Kelly, the comic feminist collages and paintings of Karen Mainenti, and Katrina Makjut‘s detailed, cross-stitched still lifes of products and devices related to reproductive rights.
Works by Katrina Makjut in her studio at Brooklyn Art Space during Gowanus Open Studios 2015
Works by Katrina Makjut in her studio at Brooklyn Art Space during Gowanus Open Studios 2015
  • Gowanus Print Lab (54 2nd Avenue): With its gallery space up front and vast studio facility in back, the Print Lab is a good, holistic destination during GOS — they tend to also have some very affordable prints for sale. This weekend they’ll be showcasing work by current staff and members.
  • TI Studios (183 Lorraine Street): Neighborhood boundary purists will tell you this is technically Red Hook, but with over 50 participating artists handily concentrated on one floor, TI is one of the mainstays of GOS. You could easily spend a whole day here checking out the evocative concrete abstractions of Alexa Williams, Jonathan Cowan‘s sewn and painted images of sublime skies, powerful assemblages of found and industrial materials by Kimberly Mayhorn, the solid yet fragile sculptures of TJ Volnis, surreal and mysterious paintings by Brian Adam Douglas, and the architectural fragments of Stephanie Land.
  • 126 13th Street: One of the biggest studio complexes in south Gowanus, there are just 10 artists currently listed at this address in the online directory, but you will undoubtedly come across many more as you explore the building. Artists worth seeking out here include Andrew Smenos, for playful paintings and sculptures of iconic playthings, and Rachel Schmidhofer, for her popping still life paintings and seamless mashups of jigsaw puzzles.
Brooklyn Glass during Gowanus Open Studios 2015
Brooklyn Glass during Gowanus Open Studios 2015
  • Brooklyn Glass (142 13th Street): This expansive glass art studio will have works by resident artists on view as well as a series of workshops and public glass-blowing events happening all weekend long.
  • 62 18th Street: It’s a trek to get to, but this building on the southern edge of what, for the purposes of GOS, counts as Gowanus, is well worth the journey. Of particular note are the playfully and pill-filled paintings of Tamara Staples, the amazing and dreamy documentary photography of Maureen Drennan, and the charmingly self-deprecating yet quite masterful paintings of Paul Gagner.
  • Additional recommended artists: Yayoi Asoma (165 7th Street), Patrick Campbell (131 8th Street), Stanley Greenberg (119 8th Street), Judy Hoffman (18 Whitwell Place), Erik Hougen (165 7th Street), and  Elissa Levy (313 Butler Street).

Galleries

  • Ortega y Gasset Projects (363 3rd Avenue): The current exhibition at Gowanus’s preeminent artist-run gallery, On Knowing Unknowing: A Material Narratvie, has four artists who “address the space between knowing and unknowing,” per the curatorial statement. Don’t know what that means? Come find out! And, while you’re there, check out the space behind the gallery, which includes the studio of artist member Eleanna Anagnos, who makes dazzlingly colorful, alluringly textured, and tirelessly triangular abstract paintings and sculptures.
  • Trestle Gallery (168 7th Street): The gallery’s current show, Paper Pushers, was curated by artist Rob de Oude and features an impressive array of artists using paper in highly unusual ways, including to craft minimalist sculptures, vases, and wall-climbing bas reliefs.
Lizbeth Mitty, "Boating" (2016) from 'Falling In,' the current exhibition at Trestle Projects, curated by Melissa Staiger
Lizbeth Mitty, “Boating” (2016) from ‘Falling In,’ the current exhibition at Trestle Projects, curated by Melissa Staiger
  • Trestle Projects (400 3rd Avenue, 2nd Floor): In order to get to Brooklyn Art Space (see above) you will have to pass through Trestle Projects, so be sure to stop and check out the current show, Falling In, which includes a nice range of Gowanus landscape drawings and paintings (ranging from abstract and figurative to retro-futurist) and a fascinating sculptural and sonic collaboration between artist Christina Kelly and author Amy Sohn that explores the neighborhood’s rich and sometimes-sordid history.
  • The Vanderbilt Republic (61 9th Street, #C8): The vast, Gowanus-adjacent gallery is currently hosting Digitized Figures, an immersive and interactive installation and performance by Kathleen Kelley and Sarah Rose Nordgren. Judging by past large-scale installations in the space, this one is sure to be a lot of fun.

Gowanus Open Studios 2016, of which Hyperallergic is a media partner, takes place at venues throughout Gowanus on October 15 and 16.

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