by Kate Balderston and Willow Goldstein; photos by Willow Goldstein
Sitting cross legged on the floor, high school students discussed the qualities of works by photographer Dawoud Bey with arts educator and Bushwick resident Seth Caplan. As 2014 Arts in Bushwick High School Fellows (a designation given to a new pilot initiative started by the Arts in Bushwick Community Projects team whose aim is to introduce Bushwick youth to the art world through action, discussion, and interactive learning), these students have been selected to further their arts education beyond the classroom through experiential learning. AiB Community Projects leaders Lauren D. Smith and Alexandra Hodgkins have been building this pilot program since spring 2013, and Sunday, February 9, was the exciting culmination of their efforts as students and educators met at the Bushwick Community Darkroom.
AiB Fellows outside of the Bushwick Community Darkroom
In the first segment of a two-part workshop, the fellows discussed the art of digital photography, focusing on questions such as, What elements make a portrait a portrait—body language, composition, perspective? How is the emotional content of a portrait conveyed? Bey’s Class Photos series was the focus of discussion, with an intent to counterbalance the prevalence of the “selfie,” the modus operandi of today’s personal visual culture, a phenomenon not solely regulated just to youth. Thus armed with digital cameras, students went out into the world to shoot portraits, keeping in mind angles, mannerisms, and composition. Afterward, they discussed how these aspects created more than just an image. How does the subject’s eye contact and posture shape a photograph’s message, and how does this in turn affect the viewer?
Portrait of Ariel; image courtesy of BBoy Hectic
The Arts in Bushwick crew took over Bushwick mainstay Pine Box Rock Shop Monday night for the first BOS registration mixer of 2014! Registration mixers run through the month of March to provide an opportunity for artists to talk to Bushwick Open Studio organizers and sign-up to receive a registration code. Don’t worry if you missed the first mixer; there are plenty more opportunities for you to touch base in preparation for BOS 2014!
Tuesday, March 4th, 7-9pm @ Molasses Books
Sunday, March 9th, 7-9pm @ Tutu’s
Saturday, March 15th, 1-3:30pm @ Hana Natural (outside)
Sunday, March 16th, 7-9pm @ Brooklyn Fireproof East
Saturday, March 22nd, 1-3:30pm @ Swallow Cafe (outside)
Monday, March 24th, 7-9pm @ Skytown
Reva Castillenti’s exploration of the human body is simultaneously intimate and grotesque. Her current solo exhibition at et al projects, Corporeal Digest, illustrates the perverse fixation we have with our physicality.
Entering the gallery is a bit like walking into a friendly, brightly-lit morgue. Castillenti has sliced and diced the faux human bodies to showcase the viscera in Barbie-Dreamhouse-pink. Contrasted against bleached-out skin and white gallery walls, the effect is disturbingly sterile.
Near: JFK’s Scalp. Middle: John Bobbitt’s Penis.
by Arthur Ivan Bravo
Fate, or coincidental circumstance, has situated Good Work Gallery in the seemingly strategic crossroads of the ever-increasingly busy interaction of Broadway and Dekalb avenues, straddling the border between Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, an area that already hosts Bushwick mainstays such as The Living Gallery, Goodbye Blue Monday, Lone Wolf, and Wayfarers. Sporting an impressively large storefront-style facade, Good Work Gallery makes one wonder why artist and commercial sign-designer Scott Goodman hadn’t decided to become a gallerist sooner.
Opening night, Alvarino Klein Design Production Systems Team: New Work. Photo courtesy of Alexander West Guerrero
First used as Goodman’s studio, the space at 1100 Broadway has its own colorful history. As Goodman’s landlord told him, the building was constructed in 1931 and was originally used to manufacture clothing. Decades later, it was badly damaged by the fires that burned Bushwick in the 1980s. Subsequently, the building became the location of more than a few types of illegal activities until it was bought and developed—all this information, Goodman is quick to add, should be taken with a proverbial grain of salt.
Scott Goodman in his gallery, office, and studio space
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.” The works of Awkward x 2, the partnership of Rebecca Norton and Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, suggest an addendum: Try practicing with a partner.
The paintings on view at their opening for Into the Arcane of Animation were bright, joyful, and raucous—not unlike certain Saturday morning cartoons. And as Norton explained, that was the point. “Cartoons are like eye candy for us…It’s the idea of speed, of being playful.”
Fans of the band The Postal Service will be familiar with the collaborative method of Gilbert-Rolfe and Norton. Each piece was sent back and forth between Bushwick and Los Angeles several times, allowing the artists the chance to continually surprise each other. Some paintings became collages; others have small pieces cut out to create transparency.
by Etty Yaniv
Works by Thornton Dial (foreground) and Joan Snyder (on wall); all photos by Etty Yaniv for Arts in Bushwick, unless otherwise indicated
There are no titles next to the paintings and sculptures at Outside In, the museum-scope show currently on display at Life On Mars. To discover the artists behind the work (Katherine Bradford, Farrell Brickhouse, James Castle, Thornton Dial, Chris Martin, Joan Snyder, and Fred Valentine), curious viewers must sort through the ample printed information placed on the gallery front desk. Viewers can discover, for example, that a nonchalant large-scale glittered canvas is by the versatile Brooklyn-based artist Chris Martin and an arresting grid of drawings placed next to it are by the self-taught African-American artist Thornton Dial from rural Alabama. In another part of the room, intricate warship constructions by the consistently inspiring Brooklyn-based artist Katherine Bradford juxtapose Dial’s painted fish and tiger.
Works by Chris Martin (back) and by Thornton Dial (front, construction on pedestal)
TAZ #23 by Chris Martin; photo courtesy of Life on Mars
Ship from Nowhere by Katherine Bradford
Probing further, viewers can learn that the exquisite small-scale, double-sided soot drawings protruding from the wall were created by one of the more famous “outsiders” James Castle, a self-taught, deaf artist from rural Idaho, whose drawings have been widely collected and shown in retrospectives at major museums. Next to work by Castle are a pair of marvelously dense and textured large-scale charcoal portraits of women with psychiatric impairments by the well-trained “insider” Fred Valentine, a much-admired Ridgewood-based artist and gallerist whose uniquely personal and varied forms of expression have positioned him closer to the edge of the current art-world mainstream.
Overview of drawings by James Castle (back) and of portrait by Fred Valentine (right, foreground)
Young Woman by Fred Valentine
by Christopher Stout
The Sea Is a Big Green Lens; entrance view at Studio 10
Currently on display at Larry Greenberg’s gallery Studio 10 is The Sea Is a Big Green Lens, a collaborative installation by two Brooklyn artists and brothers: sculptor David Henderson and sound artist Douglas Henderson. This installation comprises an arrangement of fifty sculptural objects, integrated with fourteen speakers, materially “sketching the boundaries of a vast, lenticular void occupying the gallery space.”
Ceiling view of The Sea Is a Big Green Lens
Recently, the Arts in Bushwick editorial team visited Director Annelie McGavin at Studio 10 to create the following photo essay of the exhibition, providing images to communicate the sculptural component of this installation. Further amplifying the experience, a recording of the accompanying sound composition articulates an abstract narrative derived in part from “Whitesounds,” a poem by deceased Romanian academic Paul Celan.
by Christopher Stout
Signs of Life by Babette Allina
Currently at Daniel Aycock’s Front Room Gallery is a group exhibition curated by Linda Griggs, titled Mapping Heaven and comprised of a group exhibition of artists who use diagramming and mapping methods to explore the unknowable. This show includes installation, sculpture, painting, large-format video, and collage by Babette Allina, Sally Curcio, Allen Hansen, Dennis Hlynsky, Thomas Lyon Mills, Igor Molochevski, Lindsey Noble, Anne LaPrade Seuthe, Patricia Smith, and Larry Walczak.
The concept for this exhibition was inspired by "Darwin’s God" by Robin Marantz Henig (March 4th, 2007, New York Times Magazine), which discussed Stephen Jay Gould’s idea of religion as a spandrel in the evolutionary biology of the brain. On Friday, December 13, 2013, the Arts in Bushwick editorial team visited Front Room Gallery to attend the artists’ reception, generating the following photo essay of the exhibition.
Detail of Orbit City by Sally Curcio
by Christian Finbar Kelly and Roberta Sutton
photos by Christian Finbar Kelly
Now that record labels don’t control the music industry as they once did, new artists are emerging from genres of music that had been gobbled up and spit out through the same software until they all sounded like Cher’s “Believe.” From hip-hop to garage, Brooklyn is a hot bed for music acts that are getting in touch with the past, while utilizing the tools of today. Loaf Muzik is one such example.
A collective of musicians, these artists are reaching back to an era when the idea of having a voice carried with it responsibility. Not everything they say is positive, but if you grew up in Bushwick, your raps might be raw too. At Armature Art Space, with NAS’s Illmatic playing in the background, we sat down with Shadow the Great, Shine Sinatra, and producer Captain Mudd, three members of Loaf Muzik, to thank them for not repetitiously mumbling over whack tracks and to find out what Loaf Muzik is serving.