Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
After a few years making the trips on the merry-go-round of open studios around the city, I find that the enjoyment I get tends to be twofold: discovering new artists I hadn’t known about before and running into artists whose work I am already familiar with, but whose studios I had not previously visited. I especially like the latter experience because it feels like in an open studio context the heat under the pan is turned down and neither the artist nor I need to be as performative in our roles. I can just engage chit chat, or discuss what the artist’s latest projects are, or bring friends along and introduce them to the work and see through their eyes what is marvelous or surprising about the work.
When I ventured out to the Dumbo district for their open studios event last weekend I genuinely enjoyed myself, in both respects. Among the new artists I discovered were Stefan Killen at 68 Jay Street, whose pinhole, black and white photography has a misty, ethereal, almost nostalgic pull. Then, over at Smack Mellon I got to meet Christie Neptune, whose video work (I discovered while writing this) I have seen before and was very impressed by. In her studio, Neptune had images that seemed to be about deconstructing the artifice of studio photography by giving the viewer a cutaway perspective of the artist among her studio tools and appurtenances.
Down the hall from Neptune, I ran into the painter Maria Berrio, who was only showing projected images of her work since the space was still working its way back from an unfortunate flood that had occurred months before. Berrio’s work is magpie, riotously colorful, with human figures almost always facing the viewer in a demeanor of watchful awareness. Her scenes mix the magical and the mundane is ways that are just riveting. Samantha Keely Smith at 68 Jay Street combined portraiture with her rambunctious fictional landscapes to create images of faces that teetered on the verge of dissolution.
At the Sharpe Walentas Studio Program, Laura Bernstein took the figure into macabre territory with her explorations of the idea of the cuckold. As she told me, in Shakespeare’s work men whose wives were unfaithful sprouted horns in their bodies, so she sculpted figures that represent what that nightmare might look like embodied.
Among the artists I already knew, I was thoroughly delighted to run into several of them at Sharpe Walentas. Derek Fordjour, whose painting work with cheerleaders and professional athletes I’ve written about and continues to strike me as timely and insightfully conceived, was there. I was glad to meet Brandi Twilley for the first time, having written on her 2017 deeply felt show at Sargent’s Daughters. One of Twilley’s current projects is a series of portrait paintings of Kellyanne Conway, which depict this infamous counselor to the current president morphing into an increasingly wretched appearance. Lastly, I ended up at the studio of Narcissister, an artist whose reputation precedes by a good country mile. She makes work that is focused on the female body transgressing the implicit rules of women’s social comportment that aim to police clear distinctions between the genders. Her work is forceful and confrontational but also sexual in a way that stymies shame. In an image tacked onto her studio wall she says she uses for inspiration, a male doll has his head lost in a woman’s vagina, I also see the comic in her who wants to laugh at our silly, moribund patriarchal mores.
I ran into several other artists while making my visits, and that too is an added boon to my open studio jaunts. It’s key, I realize, to have these moments of contact with artists that feel both intimate and freeing.
Dumbo Open Studios took place Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 around the Brooklyn waterfront, and was free and open to the public.
The new generation of artists and curators is eager to explore alternative organizations and to tackle current social inequalities and issues.
Her female nudes were extraordinary for the time because she portrayed female sexual desire. Her subjects defied conventional ideals of femininity.
No Vacancy, curated by Jody Graf, will be on view from October 26 through November 8 at the school’s Kellen Gallery in New York City.
Francis made over 10,000 artworks, starred in more than 100 solo exhibitions, and, in the late 1950s to mid-1960s, commanded the highest prices of any living painter.
Brian Blomerth’s Mycelium Wassonii deploys amazing graphic storytelling to share his own exploration of mushroom history
Over a century after Wright designed a workplace that borrowed features from the home, designers are at it again, but who does a homey office really serve?
Art by Athena LaTocha, Wendy Red Star, Marianne Nicolson, Anita Fields, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & Neal Ambrose-Smith, and more is on view through January 2022.
This week, the National Gallery of Art finally acquired a major work by Faith Ringgold, the director of The Velvet Underground talks film, North America’s Hindu Nationalist problem, canceling legacy admissions, and more.
Sculptures of Oaxacan alebrijes, envisioned as guardians of the nation’s immigrant community, and catrinas, Day of the Dead skeletons, are now at Rockefeller Center.