Photo Essays

My Very Personal Beat Nite in Photos, Part 2

Chatting with artists Brian Maller in his studio at Curbs & Stoops (click to enlarge)

This is the fourth in a series of posts documenting Bushwick’s 5th Beat Nite, which took place on Saturday, February 18, 2011.

… Half the night was already over and we had the daunting task of seeing the other spaces in the midst of all the buzz of Beat Nite with only a few hours left. Art hopping in Bushwick isn’t always easy. With no real density of art spots, you end up darting around the neighborhood by foot or train. Sure there are surprises along the way but all I could wonder as we wandering through seemingly abandoned blocks was “is this what Soho felt like decades ago when it was mostly abandoned buildings and industrial spaces?” On a map Bushwick always looks more compact than it feels like on the ground.

One of the most remote spaces is the Fortress to Solitude gallery that sits on a nondescript block of Boerum Street. On the way there and back there is a string of street art to suggest you’re still in an art-borhood but otherwise the strip could very well have been in a more remote section of Queens.

The show at Fortress, A Line of Souls and a Few Words from the Holy, was spiritually inclined and lighting was an integral part of a lot of the art, including Ash Sechler’s “Pyramid” (2011). Sechler’s work was an experiment in light and fog on the upper floor and it was a calming counterpoint to the frenzy below. I do remember wanting it be larger until it engulfed the whole space. Pushed to the side of the floor it felt incomplete.

Newest Kid on the Block

Sebastian Vallejo's "I Love PR" (2010) at Curbs & Stoops (click to enlarge)

Next stop was the brand-new Curbs and Stoops space on Johnson Ave. The large multi-room facility was divided into five very independent exhibits that explored everything from Caribbean artists in New York to recent art by RISD grads.

The space feels less DIY than the rest of Bushwick but the diversity of work was a treat. Judging by the Beat Nite party, there’s a lot of young energy in the space and while some of the work may not be ready for prime time a lot of it certainly is. Take Brian Maller’s collaged paintings as a good example. They were energetic and fresh, or Pep Williams’s photos, which are beautifully composed and unsuspectingly romantic. I’m guessing this space is 0ne to watch.

Further along our “let’s do every space on the map in three hours because we’re crazy” art tour, we stepped into Arch Collective, which I found forgettable this time around — I honestly don’t remember one thing on display. We quickly shot over to Sugar, where we arrived after 10 and the apartment galleryista was itching to shoo us out the door. I gravitated to one thing on display at this consistently uneven mini-gallery space, which was Throwwhite’s “Tongue Slap” (nd). Consisting of lollipops attached to Tyvek suits, they looked like the outfits potentially worn by Hazmat workers who moonlight as children’s party clowns … pedobear likes hazardous materials.

A prettied up tiger blogga Brent Burkett (did I mention he was party of our art-hopping crew) found on the way to the Laundromat gallery. (click to enlarge)

The last stop of the night was the Laundromat Gallery at their new space on Wyckoff Ave, which is far removed from the street. Their inaugural show was a two-person exhibition with Alexa Hoyer and Walsh Hansen. Hoyer’s work is more conceptual and a harder nut to crack than Hansen, whose work easily riffs off popular culture. To be fair, I did miss Hoyer’s orchestrated performance earlier in the night so I only saw the objects.

In the far gallery, Hansen had installed a video screen in the middle of the room surrounded by the props that appear in his videos. “The Fawn” (2010) and “Duck and Squirrel” (2011) were both seemingly about relationships — how I got that from watching acrylic and wood cut outs of animals on screen with voice-overs (in one interacting with the artist himself and a dog), I’m not sure, but I’m sticking with my interpretation. The videos didn’t make much sense but I didn’t want to leave. They felt like long lost episodes of bizarre programming that could only be broadcast on late night cable access channels. Their related drawings were less interesting to me but the props were rough and felt like sculptural sketches. In the videos the props looked far more realistic … ummm, except for the animals.

Jason Andrew delivering the shirt-less goods during the after-party at Bodega. (click to enlarge)

By the end of the night I had added another friend to our roving party of art goers, Daniel Larkin, who insists the world hear every thought he ever has no matter how unorthodox or jarring. We headed over to Bodega bar on St. Nicholas, where the promise of uber-gym bunny Jason Andrew taking off his shirt at 11:30pm sharp was irresistible — if you don’t believe me read the press release! — and boy did he deliver.

This being New York, the night didn’t end there. A group of us — the group had ballooned at this point — headed over to Chelsea to see Christian Marclay’s event/exhibition/film/social phenomenon “The Clock” at Paula Cooper. It was 1:45am when we got there and the line was down the block, but that’s another story …

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A view of the room at Fortress to Solitude, where the first floor was an eclectic mix of works and the second floor only had one atmospheric piece.

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Vlogger James Kalm gets a closer look at Ash Sechler’s “Pyramid” (2011) in the upper space of Fortress to Solitude. It was the only work on the floor.

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“Pyramid” was comprised of a mist machine and light projector were hard to fully experience in the short time I was there.

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A work by Swoon is a treat to find on Boerum Street.

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A mural on Boerum Street that includes work by Overunder in the middle but I’m not sure who the rest is by, though it looks like it could be Maya Hayuk.

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This ugly piece of graff tells you where to go to get a little lovin’.

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Some party goers at the Curbs and Stoops party at 566 Johnson Street.

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Photos by Pep Williams were part of the  Gritty City Rockin Pretty one-room exhibition, that also included work by Lapiztola Collective, Hector Hernandez and UR New York Collective.

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Book cover piece by Hector Hernandez, clockwise from top left: “Hollywood Wives,” “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things,” “What My Mother Doesn’t Know,” “Mothers & Daughters,” “Rescue Me” and “First Comes Love.”

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Not sure who this was by but it made Joanne McNeil and I stop to check it out.

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I believe these works are by Jeffrey Pena and they were part of the “Island Hoppers” show of Hispanic Caribbean artists.

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A work in “Island Hoppers” becomes a brief topic of discussion by some visitors. I wish I remembered who this is by.

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Brian Maller’s beautiful “Untitled” (2011). We was the real find at the Curbs & Stoops space. The artist collages, draws and paints on paper, plastic, photos and canvas often using images he’s taken of paintings at museums. He has loads of art historical references but the result feels fresh and new. Though is it archival? Hmmmm …

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Some Astro girls by Hector Hernandez at Curbs & Stoops.

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People hanging out in front of Arch Collective, which was busted by the NYPD a little after I took this photo for drinking indoors … who knew.

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A projection shooting out from Arch Collective to a building across the street was difficult to see and just a whole lotta confusing.

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At Sugar gallery, Throwwhite’s “Tongue Slap” (nd) was made up of lollipops attached to tyvek suits. All I could think of was, I should be wearing one of those gallery hopping.

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A close-up of one of Alexa Hoyer’s subway dialogues. By the time I got to Laundromat gallery the performances she had staged using these overheard scripts were over. Presented this way they looked much more conceptual than they were.

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A video installation by Walsh Hansen at Laundromat gallery. Here is places a detective who comes a dog/faun sculpture relationship or something. The installation did a lot to augment the piece, which was well done with a 1970s feel.

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Bushwick’s 5th Beat Nite took place on Saturday, February 18, 2011.

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