“Something in this painting seemed to change over the course of 2020.”
Last month, members of Colab gathered at Printed Matter for the opening of a new iteration of the A. More Store, the collective’s pop-up exhibit of cheap multiples. The display coincides with the publication of A Book About Colab (and Related Activities) (2015), a sumptuous collection of archival images and written accounts compiled by Printed Matter’s director Max Schumann.
In a small room on the top floor of the Old School building at the corner of Mott and Prince Streets, floor-to-ceiling shelves are lined with pictures of disembodied heads and torsos adhered to off-brand canned goods.
At one point, Arts & Labor member Blithe Riley, who was in the audience at the round table, made a comment about “freaking out a little.” This highlighted the disconnect between the political and social aspirations of Arts & Labor and the general role of art critics for me.
Last Thursday night at Housing Works Bookstore, Occupy Wall Street affinity group Arts & Labor organized a panel of New York art writers to discuss the labor of art criticism. Village Voice and New York Times critic Martha Schwendener opened the round table with the question, “What is the labor of writing?” Schwendener and Arts and Labor proposed a discussion about the working conditions of art criticism in an effort to dispel some prevailing myths, which she framed as power, authority, and allure. She then started things off with an open question to the panel about how they became art critics.
After watching Bushwick’s visual arts scene grow and usurp the energy of Williamsburg’s two decades of dominance as the epicenter of the city’s artistic edge, curator Larry Walczak decided it was time to put together an exhibition that investigates the neighborhood’s recent art heritage. The show, Williamsburg2000, opened on March 12 and includes 68 artists. Taking place at the small artist-run indy space Art101 on Grand Street, the exhibition focuses mostly on Williamsburg’s “second wave” that began in 1998 and continued until 2002, coincidentally its the same time period that Walczak ran the Eyewash gallery space with the late Annie Herron.