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Posted inArt

New Art Spaces in the Bushwick Area, Part 1

The bewildering number of new galleries opening in Bushwick in late 2012 and early this year continues to grow (even while this article goes to press). Counts now, depending on who you ask, are above 45. Growth seems to be nothing short of exponential as virtually every major studio building in every micro-neighborhood that’s part of Bushwick is now home to several artist-run exhibition spaces, and naturally, apartment shows abound. Here’s the first five on our list.

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Fuck Grad School, Let’s Have a House Party!

“This is the biggest dumb idea I’ve ever had,” Andrew Ohanesian told me late one night over Budweisers at Pierogi gallery’s massive auxiliary space, The Boiler Room, in North Williamsburg. “There’s nothing I hate more than a good idea.” Ohanesian often selects “really stupid” ideas for his art that are, in reality, incredibly complex and expensive to realize. For his two-month-long solo engagement with Pierogi opening this Friday, he has made his most outlandish project to date.

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Bushwick September Preview: Group Shows, Figurative Art, and Reinvigorated Programs

This September, every gallery in Bushwick is opening with some of the strongest shows the neighborhood has ever seen. Here, we outline the best shows to see (which, oddly enough, is almost all of them), and when and where to see them. Bushwick has certainly grown into its own as New York City’s youngest art district, and this powerhouse lineup of September openers proves it.

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Flying Solo at Volta

Big art events in New York are often set up in opposition to the “establishment.” In reaction to the Whitney Biennial, there is now the New Museum Triennial and the BHQF Brucennial. The Dependent responds to the Independent. In this sense, I would compare Volta to the Armory — they are sister fairs who share VIP access cards and shuttle vans. Sort of the Lower East Side versus Chelsea. Note, the Armory was the first hotel art fair in the 1990s and, at the time, the upstart, up against the big bad and very establishment ADAA — how times have changed — is Volta an attempt to return to that kind of authenticity?

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New Monuments on the Lower East Side

Entirely new work was made for New Monuments. “Artists were selected for the show, not specific works,” says show-organizer and participating artist Ben Godward, who basically commissioned the other four participants. They all have deep ties to the Bushwick art scene, and are all transplants from the Midwest.

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Sculpting with Ruins or Imposing Force on Matter

For her second solo exhibition at Klaus von Nichtssagend, Empty is Run About Freely, Bushwick-based sculptor Joy Curtis has created several large sculptures comprised of casts she made of interior moldings and architectural details of 77 Water Street, an unused downtown Manhattan bank building, which the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council employed as studio space during Curtis’ residency in 2009. She has been working with the material collected during this residency almost exclusively for the past year. Speaking to the work on display, Curtis told me, “[As artists] we mine the world for materials, and then we impose a force on that matter. I am interested in showing the evidence of imposing force on matter, and showing the evidence of the passage of time.”

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Feeling Civilized at the 2011 Volta Art Fair

Across the street from the Empire State Building is the Volta Art Fair, a sophisticated and civilized art fair where galleries from around the world present solo artist projects. Elizabeth Tenenbaum and Elissa Levy of InContext Studio Tours gave me a preview of Volta New York 2011. After attending six art fairs during Armory Week, Volta felt different to me. It was a tightly curated, intelligent and a refreshingly friendly view of international contemporary art. The attitude here was more like a TED conference than an art fair, seemingly more concerned with good ideas than with commercial sales.

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Bushwick Brought the Party to NY’s 2011 Scope Fair

Perhaps going directly from the Armory to Scope was a mistake. At a significantly smaller scale, lower budgets, and complete with an indoor smoking room and a cash bar manned by none other than Bushwick artisanal pizza powerhouse Roberta’s, Scope Art Fair New York was very much like a Bushwick opening after a day at MoMA. The editorial lens of the significantly more exclusive (and expensive) art fairs do, in fact, produce better art viewing experiences.

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Why Ed Winkleman Did #Rank at the Seven Miami Art Fair

How many of the estimated 46,000 artists, dealers, collectors, and lookyloos that checked in at Art Basel Miami Beach actually made the 35-minute car trip from the stunning South Beach to industrial Wynwood for the Seven Art Fair is still unclear.

Seven was to Basel what Independent New York was to the Armory Show. An art fair (ok fine, temporary exhibition forum), yes, but set up as a museum-like display rather than sales booths, more concerned with theme and content than commodity object. Curatorial considerations made intelligent relationships between artists from different galleries, instead of an “art world greatest hits.” Because of the elimination of sales booths, the pressure was off. Here, dealers seemed to be interested in discussing ideas.

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Painting Real Fiction: Christopher K. Ho at Winkleman

Regional Painting (2010), at Winkleman Gallery, is not a remarkable presentation; the casual viewer could be excused for thinking it is just another painting show. Twelve paintings on linen, each twelve by sixteen inches, beautifully framed in walnut, greatly varied in technique and style, are hung equidistant around the gallery. Some are intentionally amateur, others unexpectedly virtuosic, all preserve some part of the clear-primed linen. There is an antique quality to some, taking their cue from early 20th C. abstraction, others are more contemporary and even a little slick. They are Christopher K. Ho’s legitimate attempt at earnest painting, but also represent a much larger system of conceptual artworks.

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Seeing Enough Shows on the LES

A generic survey of New York’s Lower East Side galleries, perused at random on the first week of November, 2010, including observations from a viewer completely outside the art world.

Jerry Saltz often ridicules artists for not going to see enough shows; that they have several cookie-cutter reasons: too busy, not wanting to overexpose themselves in the scene, fear of polluting their unique and singular artistic vision, etc. Well, I set the fear of contaminating my art aside and I went around the New York City’s Lower East Side gallery circuit on Saturday to bring you the report.