It’s difficult not to compare the Bushwick Open Studios (BOS) of two weeks ago and Northside Open Studios (NOS) this past weekend. Where BOS felt like a small, tightly knit group of art world wanderers, NOS was more dispersed; more approachable, yet also more isolated. Still, there were some great shows to see and studio buildings to check out. Here are my impressions through a photo essay and commentary.
This Friday kicks off a pretty epic weekend in Williamsburg. Along with the Northside Festival, Northside Open Studios will showcase our neighborhood’s art community, from artist’s studios to gallery shows and guerrilla events. Here are our picks for what not to miss.
The Street Spot has a series of photos by Becki Fuller of British street artist Sweet Toof hitting Williamsburg rooftops for some mural-size pieces. You might know the artist’s work from his visual vocabulary of puffy pink gums filled with pearly white teeth.
This past Friday May 13th marked Williamsburg 2:ND Fridays, a night of gallery openings and exhibition unveilings. I trekked around the neighborhood from the far north Causey Contemporary all the way down to Like the Spice gallery and checked out the shows. Here are my findings, in photo format.
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.
In 1996, someone mentioned to Richard Timperio that he should mount a Christmas show at the Planet Thailand cafe on Bedford Avenue. While Timperio isn’t a big fan of Christmas shows, he gave it a try and organized the first in what has developed into an annual tradition of inclusive exhibitions that continue to grow. This year’s incarnation is titled It’s All Good (Apocalypse Now).
I’m kicking myself for not getting to painter Margrit Lewczuk’s vibrant show in the heart of Williamsburg sooner. I stepped into the fantastic show on its second to last day. Located on a stretch of Metropolitan that is quickly being transformed by new developments, the show is in a low-rise warehouse fitted with fantastic skylights that, on the day I visited, bathes the gallery with an even light.
On November 11, a small gallery opened its doors on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and caused a ripple of excitement in local art circles. Not only was this one of the first galleries to open on Bedford for ages but many people are taking it as hopeful sign that some energy was returning to a neighborhood that used to be a central part of New York’s art world dialogue.
Named Rawson Projects, the small gallery consists of Christopher Rawson, Julian Calero, and James Morrill. Their first exhibition, Fingers in the Sun, features the work of local painter Sam Martineau and it is a smart show filled with works that are nuanced and almost impossible to capture in photographs.
I attribute it to serendipity that there are currently two fantastic sculpture shows in the Williamsburg galleries. One is by Greg Barsamian, who creates simple sculptural forms filled with Eadward Muybridge-like animations out of metal, and the other by the masterful Shari Mendelson, who always finds a way to transform banal plastic refuse into beautiful things.
According to Brokelyn, one North Brooklyn hospital at the corner of Flushing & Broadway, Woodhull Hospital, is offering artists a means to barter art for healthcare.
In his recent categorization of New York neighborhoods, statistician Nate Silver grouped graffiti with rodents and potholes. It was a criteria he used to gauge the Health & Wellness of a neighborhood.
If you walked into the backroom exhibition space at Pierogi you might be forgiven for thinking you had just walked into a children’s room decorated by Werner Herzog and John Waters, by which I mean it is a sordid, moody, desperate, joyous, and campy. No really.