Photo Essays

In a Bushwick Park, the Artworks Are Growing on Trees

Installation view of 'Paintings in Trees' (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)
Installation view of ‘Paintings in Trees’ (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

On Saturday evening about 300 people descended on the tiny People’s Garden under the elevated J and Z tracks in Bushwick for the opening of Paintings in Trees, a group show of paintings, drawings, and sculptures installed in every available space in the park, including the trees. Curated by Ben La Rocco, Linnea Paskow, and Ben Pritchard, the exhibition features about 150 works by over 100 artists, ranging from large canvases fastened to tree trunks, to smaller paintings hung discreetly amid the branches or from the walls of garden sheds and neighboring buildings.

Saturday’s opening reception and BBQ also served as a fundraiser for the community park, but the paintings will remain in the trees until the end of June, come whatever wind and rainstorms may. Most of the artists seem to have anticipated the threat posed by inclement weather, bracing their works against strong winds and applying extra sealant to assuage the effects of rain.

Visiting the park after Sunday’s violent storms and the ensuing two straight days of rain, I was surprised to find most of the work unchanged — save a couple of warped boards and extra-drippy paintings. Some artists made pieces specifically designed to change with the weather, like Julie Torres, whose hanging spheres have bold colors lurking beneath their white exteriors that will become visible as rain washes away the paint. The very notion of leaving works that were created to be shown indoors — at least for the most part —outside and exposed to the elements for a month is a refreshing take on public art, and an experiment that merits multiple visits to see the exhibition evolve as nature takes its toll.

Painted globes by Julie Torres
Painted globes by Julie Torres
Paintings by Nat Meade (right) and Linnea Paskow (left)
Paintings by Nat Meade (right) and Linnea Paskow (left)
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A two-sided painting by Andrew Lenaghan
A sculpture by Kevin Andrew Curran
A sculpture by Kevin Andrew Curran
Sculpture by Laura Wynter
Sculpture by Laura Wynter
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Painting by Mike Taylor
Two-panel painting by Theresa Dadezzio
Two-panel painting by Theresa Dadezzio
Paintings by James Prez hung along the chicken enclosure at the People's Garden.
Paintings by James Prez hung along the chicken enclosure at the People’s Garden
Sculpture by Barbara Kilpatrick
Sculpture by Barbara Kilpatrick
A painted sculpture by Rachael Gorchov
A painted sculpture by Rachael Gorchov
Installation view of 'Paintings in Trees'
Installation view of ‘Paintings in Trees’
A painting by Jason Rohlf
A painting by Jason Rohlf
A sculpture by Shane McAdams
A sculpture by Shane McAdams
A painting by Rob de Oude
A painting by Rob de Oude
A hanging sculpture by Ben Godward
A hanging sculpture by Ben Godward
One of several small ceramic figures by Dasha Bazanova
One of several small ceramic figures by Dasha Bazanova installed on her site-specific structure of burnt wood
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Works by Rick Briggs (left) and an unknown artist at right
Painting by JJ Manford
Painting by JJ Manford
Painted sculpture by James Gillispie
Painted sculpture by James Gillispie
Painting by Palma Blank
Painting by Palma Blank
Painting by Ben Pritchard
Painting by Ben Pritchard

Paintings in Trees continues at the People’s Garden (1237–1241 Broadway, Bushwick, Brooklyn) through June 28.

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