Galleries

3 Critics Pick Their Favorites at Bushwick’s Beat Nite

by Mostafa Heddaya on October 28, 2013

A view of the Beat Nite crowd at Storefront Ten Eyck. (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)

A view of the Beat Nite crowd at Storefront Ten Eyck. (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)

This past Friday, the beat returned to Bushwick with Beat Nite: All Stars, a twice-yearly celebration of the Bushwick and Ridgewood gallery scene. This outing was curated by James Panero, executive editor of The New Criterion, and hosted by Norte Maar, a Bushwick-based arts nonprofit. Hyperallergic was the exclusive media sponsor.

We asked three Hyperallergic editors to offer their picks of the best in the neighborhood’s art galleries.

Loren Munk and Judith Linhares at Valentine Gallery

464 Seneca Ave, Ridgewood, Queens

munk

(photograph by the author for Hyperallergic)

At Valentine Gallery, Loren Munk was paired with Judith Linhares, an intriguing intermingling of Munk’s informationism and Linhares’ garishly charismatic figurative painting. Here, Munk departs in several canvases from his usual art-historical bailiwick, scouting ophthalmological terrain. In the project room, which predominantly featured the sentimental and atmospheric charcoals of Rebecca Litt, a handful of effortlessly emotive small works by the late Andrew Mozsynski completed one of Beat Nite’s standout entries. —Mostafa Heddaya

Meg Hitchcock, The Land of Bliss at Studio 10

56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn

meghitchcock

(photograph by the author for Hyperallergic)

Though not, strictly speaking, part of the curated Beat Nite circuit, Meg Hitchcock‘s The Land of Bliss resists exclusion. In one of the more remarkable shows on view today — in any borough — Hitchcock’s painstaking rearrangement of letters culled from antiquarian holy texts pronounce on paper a singular and meditative erudition. Raised Evangelical, the artist now leans to Eastern mysticism, and her fascination gives birth to an aesthetic at once spiritual and scholarly. Though much of the show eschews the formal structure of language for a varied lexicon of symbols and totems, the above work — the show’s anchor — is a monumental feat of Arabic calligraphy; the artist avowed to me that it represents three months of dedicated labor. Sincere engagement with the divine may be a punchline in much of Chelsea, but this deeply studied approach is not the work of a dilettante. —MH

Armas Carino, part of Front Line at Lorimoto

16-23 Hancock Street, Ridgewood, Queens
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(photograph by Erik DuRon)

Front Line, Lorimoto’s just-closed show about gentrification, was a strong combination of three artists, but the standout for me was the work of Armas Carino. Actually a duo comprised of painter Ori Carino and architect Benjamin Armas, Armas Carino creates models of downtrodden urban life: walls half-standing and brick buildings crumbling, usually covered in street art murals, all at a relatively small scale. The convincing physical decay mixed with vibrant art makes these works a potent symbol of the complicated realities of city life, and their small scale is particularly haunting—like dollhouses for the 21st century. —Jillian Steinhauer

Jessie Brugger: Jolly Decay at Storefront Ten Eyck

324 Ten Eyck Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn
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(photograph by Erik DuRon)

The front room (aka project space) at Storefront Ten Eyck currently looks sort of like an explosion of clay given form. This is the formidable work of Jessie Brugger, whose sculptures, tableaux, and stop-motion animation bowled me over on Friday night. Brugger’s art is messy but meticulous, with an aesthetic that looks improvisational but is no doubt carefully crafted. At Storefront, the standouts are a couple of dioramas whose misshapen figures are so animated, their scenes so wondrous and strange, they look like they might spring to animated life at any moment. —JS

Andrew Witkin’s simal-, simil-, simul-, -semble at Theodore Art

56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn

theodore-art-640

(photograph by the author for Hyperallergic)

Theodore Art’s first show in their new first floor space at 56 Bogart (formerly the Bogart Salon space), this is a clean and nicely curated show of Andrew Witkin’s work. Conceptually minded, Witkin’s show plays with series of fives, and the display includes a recently discovered drypoint series (in 5 states, of course) from the 19th century by Henri Héran. This curated inventory of thoughts and ideas include five Victorian doors (in various states of being striped down) and long lists of ruminations from the artist. —Hrag Vartanian

Paul Gagner at Centotto

250 Moore Street #108, Bushwick, Brooklyn
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Gagner’s sense of humor comes through in each and every work, but his recent show at the Centotto apartment gallery offered an ideal platform for his sculptures that seem perfectly suited for a more domestic setting. His book sculptures, including the one pictured here, are wooden re-creations of books that exist, and each pile is surmounted by an odd and unrelated object (human heart, baseball, crushed can … ). The one shown here has a giant spit ball created when the artist chewed an entire copy of The Artist’s Soul book. There’s a deep metaphor in Gagner’s action, but it’s also really funny. That mix perfectly encapsulates what I believe the artist’s work is all about. —HV

Ryan Michael Ford at Storefront Ten Eyck

324 Ten Eyck St, Bushwick, Brooklyn
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Ryan Michael Ford is the rare artist who can borrow and steal from consumer culture with such abandon that the final products appear like a strange and appealing synthesis of bling, violence, sex, abstraction, comic books, luxury, banality, and the world around us. His “Demon Parrot” (2013) (pictured here) is a freakishly attractive hybrid of exotic desire and brash consumerism — like a contemporary version of the infamous bejeweled tortoise in JK Huysmans decadent 1884 novel À rebours (Against the Grain). He’s also incorporated many recognizable dogs from the neighborhood in many of the works, and that lends the show a homegrown feel. Ford obviously loves high-octane visuals that verge on the offensive, and that tension tends to work. —HV
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