Photo Essays

The Next New Thing? 2010 Greenpoint Open Studios

by Hrag Vartanian on October 6, 2010

It was a beautiful day last Saturday and I took the opportunity to wander the post-industrial warehouses of north Brooklyn with the mission to explore the studios taking part in the 2010 Greenpoint Open Studios.

A work by Allie Rex (far left) and photos by Kristine Potter.

During my afternoon of wandering I only managed to visit 30% of the studios but I nevertheless saw a great range of work that gave me a feel for the area, and in the end, this is what I came up with: painters appear to dominate the artistic life of this corner of Brooklyn.

While I came eager to see new work by new names, I also encountered some established figures, and I even came across a large white work by artist Joe Bradley leaned up against a wall — the work was on its way to the New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art (NJMoCA) in Asbury Park, New Jersey, which is slated to open this month.

During my visit to one sculptor’s studio, Stacy Fisher, I was told that recently the world-renowned playwright Edward Albee — of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” fame — showed up a few weeks earlier to buy one of her Hydrocal, wood, hardware and latex paint sculptures… a sign of things to come for this neighborhood with infamously bad public transportation options?

Among the notable, or wacky, works that I recorded on Twitter — I tweeted a lot during my tour — were pieces by Malado Baldwin, Dana Bell, Majanya DeBear, Marcus Romero (whose palette I loved), and Stephen Fox. I encountered more than enough bad art, lots of design, and some studios with lavish food spreads that made you not want to leave.

If I had to gauge the artistic energy of the neighborhood I would say it was possibly on the verge of something but with the need for more community spaces perhaps… I would’ve loved to see a hand-curated show of some great local art organized from a curator’s point of view.

The following images are from that sunny day in Greenpoint. Also, check out my complete set from that day.

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The old industrial Greenpoint is fading away as a new artistic energy takes its place.

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Artist Julie Floersch shows off some of the many pairs of dirty jeans and jean shorts she has coaxed away from hipsters and construction workers. She offers to pay them but sometimes the construction workers just ask her to introduce them to her friends. The hipsters on the other hand tend to be embarrassed by their dirty jeans.

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Photographer Kristine Potter grew up in a military family and uses that insight to create these beautiful images in The Gray Line series, which portrays military men as sensitive, vulnerable, and masculine. The works will be going on display later in the fall at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in Chelsea.

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Burlesque paintings by artist Kenneth Browne. His previous series depicted a couple, who are also friends, that moved into a new condo in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn.

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Romy Scheroder’s “Skin” (2009) is made of 20-pound rubber bands that act as upholstery on a traditional chair. Scheroder says that she expects the bands to age and change color, which is part of her vision for the work.

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Walking into Bizzid’s studio, you can’t help but be struck by the vivid work steeped in Japanese and American pop culture. My favorite object on display was a mashup of Homer Simpson and Optimus Prime of Transformers fame.

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David Pettibone’s “You Are Special Today, Frederic” (2009) hangs in the middle of a wall, surrounded by other works by Pettibone. The landscape in the background of he painting is Frederic Church’s “Pinchincia” (1867).

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Artist Andrea Wolf rigged up a video with a corner sculpture to produce a miniature virtual tennis match.

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Christina Dallas is a set designer and her theatrical sensibility comes through in her childhood-inspired creations that center on doll-like forms.

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Recently the world-renowned playwright Edward Albee — of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” fame — showed up at Stacy Fisher’s studio a few weeks ago to buy one of her slab-like sculptures, which are made of Hydrocal, wood, hardware and latex paint.

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Patterned works by Jackie Hoving vibrate on the wall.

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Artist James Morrison transposes homoerotic imagery onto tshirts, bags, and other items.

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Christopher Saunders’ atmospheric canvases evoke flat landscapes where time seems to stand still.

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There are two bodies of work in artist Bruce Bosnan’s studio, including these wrapped sculptures, c. 2005, that almost look ominous behind the plastic coverings.

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Detail of an installation by Raphaela Riepl, which was dominated by shellfish imagery. It was hard to figure out where the work started and ended. Another view of the installation here

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The paintings that hung in Kate Nielsen’s studio were quirky and charming. Each had their own personality and seemed to exist in a shallow pictorial space.

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I encountered these odd sculptures and paintings in a studio space all by themselves. The only other things there were a table piled with Bomb Magazine materials and some party supplies, so I can only assume they were made for the big party later that night.

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Scott Chasse’s work grapples with — among other things — 1970s Hollywood icons, including William Shatner and Burt Reynolds.

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A recent street art piece by Radical from Albany. Just a reminder that all the art in Greenpoint wasn’t in the studios.

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While not Greenpoint Open Studio related, I couldn’t help but share this very north Brooklyn scene on the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

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The 2010 Greenpoint Open Studios happened on October 1 – 3, 2010.

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