Bushwick, Brooklyn–Jason Andrew and Norte Maar bring back the late night in Bushwick with the tenth edition of Beat Nite featuring just 10 art spaces selected by guest curator Austin Thomas on Friday, February 28.
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Navigating tight quarters is second nature for any New Yorker. We bunk-up in studio apartments, do the sardine dance in subway cars, and barrel down the maddening sidewalks of Midtown. Last Friday in Bushwick was no different, and as Beat Nite: Limited Edition unfolded, droves of people filed in and out of some of the city’s tiniest—yet perhaps most spirited—art spaces.
“It had to be one of the most memorable moments I have experienced in the neighborhood,” proclaimed Jason Andrew, the architect of the night. “From the terrific curation of the spaces, to all the spaces pulling together to help promote the night, to all the amazing people that attended, the night was just terrific. And then to have us all come together for the afterparty with PassKontrol, it was all quite special.”
Jason Andrew + Norte Maar bring back the late night in Bushwick with a limited edition of Beat Nite featuring just 10 art spaces selected by guest curator for the night, Julian Jimarez-Howard of Outlet Fine Art.
Beat Nite: limited edition will be held Friday, February 15. All participating spaces will be open 6-10pm followed by a huge after party at the newest bar/cabaret Bizarre where our local band PassKontrol will get our walking feet dancing.
The New York Times
June 7, 2012
For artists New York City has always had unaffordable neighborhoods. Now it has an unaffordable borough, Manhattan. There, in the past, blue-collar areas like Greenwich Village, SoHo and the Lower East Side offered cheap living for the no-collar day-jobbers that most artists were and still are. Rents were such that they could make their work upstairs and show it downstairs.
Art was a cottage industry.
Then came the 2000s and money and Chelsea, which is the equivalent of a suburban mall: a business district, a consumer zone.
A few artists went there to show; most went to look and then go home. Increasingly, in the past decade, home has been Brooklyn, starting with Williamsburg, then moving outward ahead of the real-estate cash tide. For a while now the buck has stopped at Bushwick, a scrappy, ethnically manifold, postindustrial jumble of a place abutting onto Queens. At street level it’s mostly bodegas, fast-food shops and auto repairs. But artists are there, lots of them.
For the sixth annual Bushwick Open Studios celebration last weekend, more than 500 artists made their work spaces, which were often also their living spaces, accessible to anyone who wanted to look. Others exhibited in the area’s two dozen or so galleries. Still others displayed their wares at Bushwick Basel, a miniature art fair housed in the studio and sometime alternative space belonging to Jules de Balincourt, a Bushwick painter with an international reputation. When you tote up the numbers, and factor in the local talent too shy or unready to show, you’re talking serious art-population density, so serious that Bushwick can really no longer be considered a buzzy frontier. As if in proof of a budding mainstream status, a major Chelsea gallery, Luhring Augustine, recently established an outpost here, and a very Chelsea place it is: blank and thick walled, like a bank vault.
But what does frontier mean anyway? Does it — should it — mean something about the kind of art being produced? It meant that in SoHo in the 1960s and ’70s, with the emergence of new media (video, installation, sound art), and in the East Village of the 1980s, which could claim an apocalyptically minded post-punk aesthetic, not to mention Neo-Geo.
But since then art has professionalized and industrialized. Schools pump out artists; artists pump out vast amounts of art. The market, as embodied in art fairs, has become a bulk operation, favoring the smooth-selling tried and true — painting, sculpture — over experiment. An ancient avant-garde model of the artist as creature of high ideals, messy habits and no expectations has been revised to accommodate competitiveness, personal polish and an agenda for professional success.
To what degree those elements shape artists’ lives in Bushwick today I can’t say. More than once during a recent gallery and studio walkabout I had the sensation of being in a giant M.F.A. graduate show, with all the cautious, self-conscious formalism and too-tight ideas that implies. At the same time, the general atmosphere was school-like in a good, utopian way: people working side by side, artists enjoying other artists, Manhattan a mere mirage in the wide Bushwick sky.
Seeing art in the neighborhood, though, requires some effort. Bushwick is big; galleries are spread here and there, spilling over into Ridgewood, Queens. One way to organize a tour is around a couple of L line subway stops, each near different gallery clusters.
Morgan Avenue L Train Stop
The Morgan Avenue stop, the first of the two if you’re coming from Manhattan, is close to a converted warehouse with several galleries at 56 Bogart Street. Momenta Art, a tenacious nonprofit space, moved here a year or so ago from Williamsburg, bringing with it a politically minded sensibility fairly rare in Bushwick, evident in a series of photographs by Mark Tribe that look like Romantic landscapes but are lifted from paramilitary-theme video games.
By contrast, abstract work at adjoining galleries — Meg Hitchcock’s fine-grained collages made from printed Koran and Torah pages at Studio 10; Andrew Zarou’s silvery geometric collages at Robert Henry Contemporary — is characteristic of a kind of hands-on, somewhat hermetic, kitchen-table-scale art that the neighborhood has a lot of. (Austin Thomas’s delicate cut-and-paste mandalas at Centotto Gallery a few blocks away fit the category.)
It has a lot of performance art too, with one example at yet another gallery in the building, Bogart Salon. There a Bollywood-style soap opera called “Isha: A Tell All Tale,” starring the artist Meenakshi Thirukode — and described by the gallery as the story of a young South Asian woman’s “dramatic journey through the treacherous shoals of the New York art world” — has been in production as recently as last weekend, with gallery visitors recruited to take on sundry roles. More scenes will be shot on the premises this weekend. In one, Isha comes up against a demonic curator; in another, she’s reconciled, via Skype, with her family back home. Drop by and get ready for your close-up.
From 56 Bogart, Luhring Augustine is but a short walk, and one worth making to take in a light-show-type video installation by Charles Atlas, an artist with no known connection to Bushwick. Within striking distance too is Kesting/Ray, a second Manhattan transplant, but one more purposefully integrated into its new environment.
Appropriately, in a neighborhood rich with outdoor wall paintings, Kesting/Ray’s inaugural exhibition is in a street-art spirit. A centerpiece sculpture by Ben Wolf is made mostly from urban junk, and there are several wheat-paste prints by the artist known as Swoon, who also has paintings on the building’s facade. The paintings were there before the gallery was. This artist created them some time ago for a friend, the photographer Tod Seelie, who lives on the block, and is in the show.
A few minutes’ hike to Flushing Avenue, a main thoroughfare, and a bit beyond will take you to two of the area’s veteran spaces, both a few years old. English Kills, open since 2007, has an alleyway entrance and spiffy installation of small resin sculptures of females figures — part Willendorf Venus; part, maybe, Smurf — by David Pappaceno.
At Storefront Bushwick, a former tax accounting office, there’s a single abstract sculpture by Drew Shiflett about the size and shape of a suitcase, and exquisite thread drawings by Adbolreza Aminlari that could easily fit inside. A fresh arrival, the subterranean Airplane, has a multidisciplinary program — “curated shows, food events, seminars and collaborations” — of a breadth that Chelsea would never imagine, and a nicely funky group show to boot, with a robotic skeleton by Tim Belknap, twitching away in the backyard, being a highlight.
Finally, near an art-friendly cafe called Little Skips, there’s Microscope Gallery, which gained some notice last fall when the artist Marni Kotak delivered a baby there as a performance piece. The current show of photographs by Emma Bee Bernstein is conventional by comparison, but quite moving. The pictures of Ms. Bernstein and her friends could easily be mistaken for portraits of smart young Bushwickians, but they exist under a shadow. She died, a suicide, at 23 in 2008, and the images are from the archive she left behind. On June 18 a film about her life by Henry Hills will be screened at the gallery.
Jefferson Street L Train Stop
The Jefferson Street stop is the jumping-off point for another set of galleries, which are fewer and farther apart. The Active Space, in a former factory, is a white box with hardwood floors, like SoHo of yesteryear. Large, brushy paintings by Deborah Brown, each a kind of sci-fi image of Bushwick’s salvage yards and low-rise shops, look great here.
A salute by this mid-career artist to her home turf, the show is also a tribute by the gallery to Ms. Brown, who runs Storefront Bushwick and has worked hard for years to make the neighborhood welcoming to new art.
Along with a couple of galleries the Active Space building houses a number of rentable studios in a pattern repeated elsewhere. In former factories on Troutman Street, galleries like Sugar at 449 and Regina Rex, at 1717, are embedded in studio environments, creating a mixed-use model that, again, recalls 1970s SoHo, where making, exhibiting and selling of work were all, to some degree, controlled by artists.
Along these lines Regina Rex is collaboratively run by a group of artists, several originally from Chicago, who organize the shows. (An exhibition of paintings by E. J. Hauser, Nancy Haynes and Sarah Peters opens there on Saturday.) Gwendolyn Skaggs, founder of Sugar, is an installation artist who has turned her energies to presenting the work of colleagues, many of them from the Midwest where she grew up, in carefully judged arrangements.
Ms. Skaggs’s particular interest in performance and film has made her an important figure in a gallery scene that otherwise has a notable, even excessive, investment in painting.
But the real catalyst behind Bushwick’s performance and dance programming is Jason Andrew, who runs a nonprofit gallery called Norte Maar out of his small Wyckoff Avenue apartment.
The main show there now is a solo of paper-and-film collages by Oliver Ralli, the guitarist and singer for the Brooklyn band Pass Kontrol. (Most of the collages were designed for fliers and CD covers.) But the gallery’s permanent attraction is a classy display, hung floor to ceiling in Mr. Andrew’s bedroom, of artists he particularly likes, among them Rico Gatson, Amanda Trager, Michelle Jaffe and Ellen Letcher, all of whom either live or work in Brooklyn.
A solid, mature group, they demonstrate the critical mass of creativity in the area, but also what’s missing, or at least hard to see: namelywild cards of a kind you’d think alternative art neighborhoods would exist for. I chanced across one example during a studio trek in the work of a young artist named Matt Richard, who had turned his closet-size room-within-a-room space into an enveloping Day-Glo green landscape of tiny plastic figures and trees, which he uses as source material for YouTube videos. It’s a sculptural wonder of fevered complication.
There’s a comparably driven, make-your-own-world element in the work of the painter Fred Valentine, who has his own shoe box of a gallery, called Valentine, a few blocks away from Norte Maar in Ridgewood, where he’s now showing two other painters, Cathy Nan Quinlan and Kurt Hoffman.
Art maps circulated for open studio weekend suggested that Valentine marks an outer limit for gallery expansion in a Queens direction. But surely this is wrong. Galleries are constantly coming and going. I was well aware of several that I wanted to get to and didn’t (the Parlour, Wayfarer’s Gallery, etc.), and of others that had disappeared, or would soon be no more (Botanic, 950 Hart, etc.). Rents are rising in Bushwick. The place is changing. But, then, it always has been.
If you want some historical perspective, you can do no better than to conclude a tour with a visit to one last space, the Living Gallery, part of an indoor mall complex on Flushing Avenue.
The exhibition there, “Defying Devastation: Bushwick in the 1980s,” is the joint work of the writer Vanessa Mártir, who was born in the neighborhood, and the photographer Meryl Meisler, who taught in its public schools and took pictures of its residents, the young Ms. Martir among them.
Together they tell the story of Bushwick long before the art wave got there, when, shattered by poverty, racism and civic neglect, it was seen by many as a ruin that would never rise. Now it’s rising, and art is helping it, just as it is helping art by giving its makers a place to go. Ideally such synergy would hold; it can’t, because it never does. Still it’s hard not to feel a tug of hope under those big, open Bushwick skies.
Gallery Hopping in Bushwick:
MOMENTA ART Mark Tribe, 56 Bogart Street; through June 18; (718) 218-8058.
STUDIO 10 Group show, 56 Bogart Street; through June 24; (718) 852-4396.
BOGART SALON “Isha: A Tell All Tale,” 56 Bogart Street; Saturday through Monday; (203) 249-8843.
ROBERT HENRY CONTEMPORARY Andrew Zarou, 56 Bogart Street; through July 1; (718) 473-0819.
KESTING/RAY Group show, 257 Boerum Street; Saturday and Sunday; (212) 334-0204.
LUHRING AUGUSTINE Charles Atlas, 25 Knickerbocker Avenue (at Ingraham); through July 15; (718) 386-2746.
ENGLISH KILLS ART GALLERY David Pappaceno, 114 Forrest Street; through June 17; (718) 366-7323.
STOREFRONT BUSHWICK Adbolreza Aminlari and Drew Shiflett, 16 Wilson Avenue (south of Flushing Avenue); through July 1; (917) 714-3813.
AIRPLANE Group show, 70 Jefferson Street (basement); through July 15; (646) 345-9394.
MICROSCOPE Emma Bee Bernstein, 4 Charles Place (at Myrtle Avenue); through June 25; (347) 925-1433.
THE ACTIVE SPACE Deborah Brown, “Freewheeling” 566 Johnson Avenue (buzz No. 5); through July 1; (646) 284-6364.
SUGAR Group show, 449 Troutman Street (between St. Nicholas and Cypress Avenues); through June 24; (718) 417-1180.
REGINA REX 1717 Troutman Street, Ridgewood, Queens, ring bell No. 329; Saturday through July 15; (646) 467-2232.
NORTE MAAR Oliver Ralli, 83 Wyckoff Avenue, No. 1B; through June 24; (646) 361-8512.
VALENTINE Cathy Nan Quinlan and Kurt Hoffman, 464 Seneca Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens; through June 24; (718) 381-2962.
THE LIVING GALLERY “Defying Devastation: Bushwick in the 1980s,” 1087 Flushing Avenue (inside the Loom); through June 25.
This is the largest Buswhick Opens Studios ever! Just when you thought this annual event couldn’t get any bigger, wait until you see the event program! Let’s just say it’s as thick as a Sunday edition of The New York Times and just as big. This year alone over 525 artists will participate (easily exceeding last year by 175 registrations). Spread over three square miles there are over 235 separate locations registered. Registrations spread from Kingsland Avenue near the Graham Station off the L, to Cooper Street off the Wilson L, and from Broadway to Woodward Ave in Ridgewood.
Norte Maar has come to know this festival intimately having been an active supporter and proud sponsor of BOS since 2008.
This Memorial Weekend, with an advance copy of the event program, we stayed in, studied up, cross referenced it with the website, messed around with the fancy new BOS Event APP and have come up with these suggestions to help best navigate this mammoth of a festival. Huge thanks and congrats to Arts in Bushwick’s all-volunteer team for pulling this off once again.
We begin with 3 Tips:
1. Download the BOS Event APP.
This will be your saving grace! And bravo to the event organizer that came up this brilliant idea as it certainly upgrades the festival allowing you instant access to everything allowing one to navigate the neighborhood with the event program. Download BOS APP
2. Decide where you are going to start.
Of course, we suggest you begin your BOS experience at Norte Maar as it hosts its annual Maps-N-Mimosas, Saturday, June 2, from 11am-2pm. How can you go wrong starting your day off with a cocktail?
3. Skip brunch, buy art.
Spend your money on some new art. It’s rare to have the opportunity to visit artists in their studios, away from the hype of the galleries and dealers. You’ll be one-on-one with the artist and with a bit of cash in hand you will become the collector every artist is looking for! But you’ll need refreshments so for ice coffee visit Little Skips, 941 Willoughby Ave (Central off the M) and/or Wyckoff Starr Coffee, 30 Wyckoff Ave, (Jefferson off the L)
14 Studios / Spaces not to miss
As in years past, the festival is split up into six zones. We’ve selected a few not to miss studios and art spaces that should not be missed. We are listing these stops in order as if you were on foot or bike (not in Zone order). Note: Norte Maar is located in Zone 5 / HUB: J (Dekalb or Jefferson off the L).
#26 Indeterminate Hikes + Basecamp @ 319 Scholes Str
Take an Inderterminate Hike through Bushwick’s sublime industrial wilderness with the collaborative artist team of Echoarttech. Artists Leila Christine Nadir and Cary Peppermint join forces to start Ecoarttech which explores environmental issues and convergent media from an interdisciplinary perspective. They have set up a basecamp at 319 Scholes Str which will explore what it means to be a modern ecological being amidst networked environments, including biological systems, global cultural exchanges, international commerce, industrial grids, digital networks, and the world wide web. Sounds heady. Sat + Sun 12pm-7pm
#80 The Schoolhouse @ 330 Ellery Str
Nearly every artist we’ve come in contact with has either lived, worked, squatted or partied at the Schoolhouse. A true Bushwick cultural landmark for over a decade, it’s sort of the landing spot for artists and musicians. For BOS they got a group show of some of Schoolhouse’s residents and repeaters: Must-see Justin Orvis Steimer, Gaspar Dietrich, Chris Chludenski, Cody Healey-Connely, David Powers, Cassidy Mosher, Mariette Papic, Willy Muse, Elliot Kurtz (Freedom Press), Yuan Liu, Augustin Doublet, Tessa Mauclere. Fri 5pm-11pm; Sat + Sun 12pm-11pm
HUB E Airplane @ 70 Jefferson Str
If it’s hot out, the scene will be cooling itself at Airplane, one of our favorite basement spaces. They’ll have a group show up showcasing artists who investigate the collective and subjective expereience of the landscape and the natural world including works by Tim Belknap, Andrea Burgay, Matt Burke, Peter Caine, Maanik Singh Chauhan, Wendy Deschene/Jeff Schmuki, Jill Lavetsky, Gili Levy, Jennie Shanker, Shinya Watanabe, Studio AND (Audra Wolowiec and Neils Cosman).
HUB H English Kills Gallery @ 114 Forrest
English Kills remains at the center of the Bushwick scene. Once you land in the alley, you might never leave because you’ll realize that it’s so happening. They’ll have a solo show of paintings and sculptures by David Pappaceno. Then cut across the street for some totally whacked out art by Don Pablo Pedro. Sat 12pm-10pm (opening reception 6pm-10pm); Sun 12pm-7pm
Two Birds with One Stone: Navigate the entire bldg at 114 Forest including stops at Unit #9 for big paintings by Joe Ballweg, Mira Dancy, Ryan DaWalt, and Brooke Moyse in a show called Greasy Luck Pioneers of Inspiration. Separate from the show, you’ll get to see some new work by painter Mike Olin (cause it’s his studio).
#63 INQUIRY @ 117 Grattan Str, Unit #419A
Our favorite blogger/painter Sharon Butler (Two Coats of Paint) opens her new studio and invites veteran Bushwicker Austin Thomas (Pocket Utopia) to curate. The show titled INQUIRY includes painting by Margaret Atkinson, Guy Corriero, Lawrence Greenberg, and Edie Nadelhaft. Separate from the show, you’ll get to see some new paintings by Butler.
Two Birds with One Stone: While your in the Grattan Bldg also visit the studio of painter Patricia Satterlee.
#155 Studios @ 1182 Flushing Ave, 2nd flr
This is a must do, must see stop on the BOS experience. Meet and greet three of most talented artists working in the hood: Bjorn Meyer-Ebrecht, MaryKate Maher, and David McBride. Sat 12pm-7pm; Sun 12pm-7pm
#160: ALLTOGETHERNOW @ 234 Starr Str (Far Left Door)
The incomparable Julie Torres unites her facebook friends in an exhibition not to be missed! The show brings together painters from Australia, Europe, and across the US featuring Julie Alexander, Brian Cypher, Inga Dalrymple, Brian Edmonds, Justine Frischmann, Yifat Gat, Vincent Hawkins, David T Miller, Peter Shear, Ian White Williams, Stephen Wright. Fri 6pm-10pm; Sat 12pm-7pm; Sun 12pm-7pm
HUB J Studios @ 1717 Troutman
1717 Troutman is loaded. The second and third floors of this industrial bldg will keep you busy all day so you might wanna plan to either begin or end your day there. Here’s our short list of what not to miss:
Unit#214: Studio of Lawrence Mesich (Unit#214) for his new video and installation work
Unit#218: For the dirty sugar experience
Unit#220: Parallel Art Space
Unit#315: Studio of Eric Mavko for his new figuratively based paintings
Unit#329: Regina Rex Gallery
HUB L Norte Maar @ 83 Wyckoff Ave, #1B
We’ve got the complete collages of PassKontrol, the neighborhood rock band plus a brand new site specific sculpture Ben Godward and a selection of favorite artists from Bushwick including Rico Gatson, Andrew Hurst, Norman Jabaut, Ellen Letcher, Brooke Moyse to name a few. For our complete listing go here. Fri 6-8PM then record release party @ Tandem; Sat + Sun 11am-7pm
#212 Bushwick Basel @ Starr Space, 108 Starr Str, ground flr
Jules de Balincourt hosts Bushwick’s first ‘art fair’ featuring 11 Bushwick galleries, each curating their own show. It’s been previewed all over the place with some controversy. Includes Regina Rex, NURTUREart, Momenta Art, Interstate Projects, Airplane, Studio 10, English Kills, Storefront Bushwick, Norte Maar, Valentine, Parallel Art Space, and Starr Space Artist-in Residence Greg Kloehn. Sat 12pm-7pm (cocktail party 7pm-9pm); Sun 12pm-7pm
#141 Boy Scouts @ 175 Stockholm Str
We don’t know much about these guys, but BOS should be about discovery. So don’t miss this rooftop event marking the inception of newly formed Brooklyn artist collective “Boy Scouts” and their friendly neighbors. Fri 6pm-12am (performance piece at sunset); Sat 12pm-7pm; Sun 12pm-3pm
#194 Studio of Hiroshi Tachibana @ 680 Woodward Ave
Hiroshi Tachibana is a Japanese artist who makes abstract paintings. He was included in 30 artists to watch in 2012 by NY Arts Magazine. Sat 12pm-7pm; Sun 12pm-7pm
#200 Studio of Michelle Jaffe @ 852 Cypress Ave, ground flr
Michelle Jaffe, one of the newest and most exciting arrivals to the Bushwick/Ridegwood scene, she presents an amazing sound and sculpture installation. Sat, 12-7pm; Sun, 12-7pm
HUB M: Outpost Artists Resources @ 1685 Norman St, ground flr
Outpost Artists Resources, one of our favorite innovative and experimental art space presents, Actual ‘Wood: a survey of work created by artists both emerging and renowned who have found their way to Ridgewood, Queens.
The latest edition of BEAT NITE drew hearty crowds to several familiar spaces and the inaugural group show of AIRPLANE, a newly launched artist run basement space. One of the first crisp evenings of the season didn’t discourage the neighborhood from coming out to take in the concrete triangles of Audra Wolowiec’s installation here at Norte Maar, the insect filled plastic tank included in Rob Andrews solo show at English Kills, and nautical themed musings in Centotto’s group show.
The after party at Bodega was star studded with all the neighborhood favorites in attendance. Lots to drink and some fabulous voguing too. Thanks to all the spaces, all the artists, and our great peeps that made this BEAT NITE one of the best! Anticipation for the seventh installment of this bi-annual neighborhood event is already building.
more images here
We are excited to bring back the late night!
BEAT NITE: Bushwick Art Spaces Stay Open Late is the sixth in our series. It’s a bi-annual event organized and promoted by Jason Andrew and Norte Maar every February and October. Catch some of the neighborhood’s most exciting emerging artists when Bushwick’s elusive art spaces open simultaneously this Friday, Oct 28!
Latest News: Beat Nite in Brooklyn Paper.
We are especially excited for the debut of AIRPLANE, opened by artists Lars Kremer, Kevin Curran and Liz Atz. AIRPLANE is a new Bushwick artspace devoted to an experimental approach for engaging the viewing public through curated shows, food events, seminars and collaborations.The new artspace, with 25+ feet of unbroken wall space is still a work in progress.The intent of blind spot is to integrate into the 1000 sq ft. basement space work that is coy, that plays with large amounts of “negative”, or recessive space, or that presents a playful challenge to standard gallery presentation. The works reveal themselves upon further investigation, emerging from the blind spot, the peripheral reality just past the edges of vision.
AIRPLANE launches with “blind spot: a presentation of artworks that tend toward a sense of formal spaciousness and conceptual understatement, emphasizing the potential possibilities of the gallery itself.” Artists include Erica Ando, John Avelluto, Kate Gilmore, Adam Parker Smith, Tom Scicluna, and Austin Thomas.
70 Jefferson Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
I hope everyone enjoys BEAT NITE! and I’ll see you at the afterparty!
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