… 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.
In LA, the Watts Towers are a homemade monument by Simon Rodia, pointed cylinders of steel decorated with found objects that stretch over 99 feet tall. In Madrid, Benedictine monk Justo Martinez has constructed his own cathedral of a scale and complexity to rival Baroque architecture. Built over the past five years and rising over 131 feet, the cathedral is an enormous monument to perseverance.
Things are looking up for artists of the radical Russian art collective Voina, who had been languishing in jail for months. They were just released on bail but the duo still face a future court date & they may have inspired other inmates to pursue a life in art.
Even though we all think we know what Shakespeare looks like from our middle school Hamlet textbooks, only one portrait was (probably) painted in the writer’s lifetime. In this singular work now on view at New York City’s Morgan Library, Shakespeare is a total 17th century hottie with glowing skin, a stylish goatee and overwhelmingly large collar. Sexy. Unveiled in 2009, the quality and age of the portrait means it is now believed to be the original in a long line of Shakespeare portraits, the ancestors of our textbook copies.
Sometime around February 14, an internet phenomenon erupted as Charles Hoey and Pete Smith announced they had found a lost game cartridge for the original Nintendo video game system (NES). This cartridge was an unlabeled video game version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famed novel The Great Gatsby. Depicted in chunky 8-bit pixels, a boomerang-hatted Nick Carraway dashes through a game world of flappers, bellhops and gangsters. It even came with a vintage advertisement and a game manual that looked straight out of the 80s. The trick? This game wasn’t found; it was made in 2010. Thus we are rushed into an era of digital nostalgia.