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The weather is cool, cafés are selling pumpkin-flavored treats, and it’s time for Bushwick Open Studios (BOS)! Yes, that sounds weird, but it’s the new reality: BOS is an autumnal event now, and it actually sounds quite pleasant — walking around with a breeze in the air, not trying to cut conversations with artists short because you’re having trouble breathing in their un-air-conditioned studios.
In this, its 10th year, BOS will see a return to its roots and its core focus: the artists of Bushwick. Event organizer Arts in Bushwick has spent time rethinking and retooling New York City’s largest open studios event, and the result is a quieter, gentler BOS: no more art fair, nary a branded party in sight, and, generally, far less distraction.
Which isn’t to say there’s not a ton to see this weekend. But it seems, happily, that most of it is art, whether it’s inside artists’ studios or on gallery walls or installed in other unusual spaces (a storage unit, anyone?) around the sprawling neighborhood. There’s a full directory of listings online, but we’ve done the work of sorting through it for you. Below, our picks for what to see and do at the pared-down but still really big BOS 2016, which runs October 1–2, as well as a convenient map of where to find them.
And don’t forget to follow Hyperallergic on Instagram; we’ll be posting photos from BOS all weekend.
As mentioned, there’s a lot less distraction piled onto this year’s edition of BOS, but it’s worth repeating that the event is, first and foremost, about visiting artists in their studios. The setup can be intimidating or a little awkward, sure, but grab a pretzel stick or whatever else they’re offering and take the plunge. It’s a rare chance — and a very rewarding one — to be able to hang out with artists in their spaces and talk to them about their work; take it. (And don’t be afraid to ask about prices.)
BOS is about talking to artists one-on-one in their studios. But it’s inevitable that you’ll want to visit the exhibitions, too — they are, after all, another good way to see work. Some of them take place in studios; some are in galleries; one is in a living room that doubles as a gallery — because Bushwick. Almost all of them keep the focus on the neighborhood and spotlight local artists.
Seeking Space: Making the Future
When: Opens September 30, 6–10pm; Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 1–6pm
Where: David & Schweitzer Contemporary (56 Bogart Street, Bushwick)
Inaugurating the new David & Schweitzer Contemporary, BOS’s annual open call exhibition features work by 305 artists ruminating on how to sustain Bushwick as a creative community. While the show looks forward, it coincides with the launch of a publication that looks back: Arts in Bushwick’s 400-page, 10-year-anniversary book, Making History Bushwick, which tracks the timeline of the organization and its involvement in the rapidly changing neighborhood.
When: Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 1–5pm
Where: Stout Projects (55 Meadow Street, Bushwick)
Another exhibition that reflects on history, Bushwick Chronicle pairs Meryl Meisler’s photographs of Bushwick’s artists, gallerists, writers, and organizers with writings about the neighborhood by James Panero — an attempt to document the creative community before it’s gone.
When: Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 11am–7pm
Where: 104 Meserole Street (Williamsburg)
The always thoughtful Panoply Performance Laboratory will do some reflecting of its own this year, on art in Bushwick before the days of branding and gentrification. This exhibition features artists “who were working in performance art before it became a joke on TV, artists who use ‘recycled materials’ because they are free, artists whose politics, identities, and ‘socio-ethics’ are core elements of practice not marketing tools.”
When: Opens Thursday, September 29, 7–10pm; Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 12–7pm
Where: 1182 Flushing Avenue, 2nd floor (Bushwick)
For the past two editions of BOS, artist Björn Meyer-Ebrecht has organized inventive group shows that fit within the space of his studio — one on top of a table that he made, the other inside a room that he built. This year he’ll take a looser approach, hanging exclusively works on paper on “large and small wall elements propped against the studio walls,” in an investigation of open space (also the show’s title). You won’t want to miss it.
Frankenstein Admires a Flower
When: Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 12–7pm
Where: Factory ArtSpace (1630 Stephen Street, Ridgewood)
Organized by the collective Poissonblanc at the new Factory ArtSpace, this show departs from a delightful premise: “We recently acquired a truck load of pedestals from the Fischli and Weiss show at the Guggenheim Museum.” Participating artists — including Lisa Levy, MTAA, and Marcy Chevali — consider the pedestal as platform, frame, or art object itself.
Lisa Levy says you did your best! Come to the inaugural show at Factory ArtSpace, Frankenstein Admires a Flower, running for three weekends – before, during, and after Bushwick Open Studios. Also have other BOS events. Artists represented in this show include: Frank Bacon Michael Buckland Marcy Chevali Stacy Fisher Emilie Frohlich David Kramer Carter Kustera Lisa Levy Stephanie Lindquist Glendalys Medina Björn Meyer-Ebrecht MTAA Tania Roberts Shannon Sberna Samuel Alexander Galbraith Smith Thomas Tait John Veenema http://artsinbushwick.org/events/frankenstein-admires-a-flower/ #Bushwick #ridgewood #nycart #bushwickopenstudios #nycarts #frankensteinadmiresaflower #gallery #galleryart #galleryshow #bos2016
A photo posted by @factoryartspace on
Made in Ridgewood
When: Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 12–7pm
Where: OUTPOST Artists Resources (1665 Norman Street, Ridgewood)
You’ll be seeing a lot of art made in Bushwick; how about that’s made next-door in Ridgewood, Queens? This exhibition brings together work by the members of the Ridgewood Artists Coalition, which promotes the neighborhood’s creators, and by the residents of OUTPOST, which focuses on aiding artists with technological projects.
When: Saturday, October 1, 2–6pm
Where: Centotto (250 Moore Street, #108, Bushwick)
The concept is strict but simple: Participating artists were instructed to mix a color and paint it onto a six-by-six-inch wood panel that is about an inch deep. They then named the color however they wanted and wrote it on the back of the panel (along with their name). More than 150 artists participated; see what they dreamed up.
When: Opens Friday, September 30, Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, 6:30–9:30pm
Where: 476 Jefferson Street (Bushwick)
This juried show of Mexican artists isn’t exactly a local affair, but it promises to infuse a welcome dose of diversity into an art scene that’s predominantly white.
Performance & Festivals
For those craving something a little more active, a little more visceral than (mostly) art hanging on walls, BOS has you covered. Here are a few performances and festivals worth checking out.
Grattan Street Performance Block Party
When: Saturday, October 1, 12–6pm
Where: Grattan Street between Bogart and Morgan (Bushwick)
When you’re feeling art overload and all the abstract paintings start running together, we find it’s helpful to take a break with some live performance. This block party, presented jointly by the Pine Box Rock Shop, Spread Art, and thingNY, will feature a curated roster of performers all day, from Philadelphia dancer and choreographer Megan Bridge to New York poet performer Jana Astanov.
The Knickerbocker Avenue Strange Science and Terror Radio Program
When: Saturday, October 1, 7–11pm
Where: 1087 Flushing Avenue (Bushwick)
Paper Jam Small Press Festival
When: Saturday, October 1, 12–6:30pm
Where: Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Avenue, Bushwick)
With the NY Art Book Fair already two weeks behind us, you should be recuperated and ready to dig into zines, comics, and small press publications once again. Held at the beloved Silent Barn, Paper Jam promises to be especially experimental and local in its offerings (and will have an animation showcase for the first time this year).