With all the buildings going up on the Lower East Side, it’s not uncommon to come across scraps of metal or other weird objects left behind at construction sites. But picking them up and using them for artistic inspiration? Denise Triezman, a Chilean artist, has been collecting found objects all over the city for the past five years, hoarding many of her treasures in an ever-growing storage facility. Now she brings some of the results to Cuchifritos, Essex Market’s resident gallery run by Artists Alliance Inc.
Williamsburg fave The Sketchbook Project is riding high–they recently hit 35,000 sketchbooks (that’s a lot of doodles) and they’ve also finally re-opened their storefront, the Brooklyn Art Library, in a new, bigger location at 28 Frost Street.
As we reported back in February, the move from North 3rd Street was partly pushed by a rent hike, but it also represents a shift in culture for the Brooklyn Art Library. Of course, they’re still sticking to the core model of inviting anyone and everyone (for a $25 fee) to fill out a Moleskine sketchbook, adding their doodles and dreams to the collection forevermore.
Years ago, Adam Yokell was sitting in the art library of London’s Victoria and Albert museum, applying for an LSAT course.
Maybe it wasn’t the most likely place for a future lawyer to begin his career, but then again he didn’t become just any lawyer–until recently, he was the in-house counsel for Artsy, an online platform that connects artists and galleries with collectors. And now he’s striking out on his own to follow a long-time goal, opening a small gallery called Hometown in Bushwick.
Last week, when Jeff Koons spoke about an unrealized pet project of his– a giant, actual crane holding up a replica of a “choo choo train”– and casually estimated that it would cost somewhere around $25 million to $50 million to produce, I couldn’t help LOL’ing.
“I never think about failure,” Koons told the crowd at FLAG, where several of his sculptural pieces are on view through May 14 as part of Cecily Brown, Jeff Koons, Charles Ray. “I let things resonate and when I’m ready to make a gesture, I just do it.”
Tonight, you can catch original works by no fewer than 17 street artists all in one place. In an effort to bring attention (and raise some cash money) for her work-in-progress documentary, Street Heroines, filmmaker Alexandra Henry is hosting a one-night-only pop-up exhibition and fundraiser with the help of some of local female street artists including Danielle Mastrion (you may recall her Beastie Boy murals in the East Village), Alice Mizrachi, and Lexi Bella. With the help of Howl Happening, Rabbithole Projects in Dumbo will play host to the free event, which starts at 7:30 pm.
Rafael Fuchs has lived in Bushwick for the last 11 years. For the first five, Fuchs worked as an independent artist and since 2012 he’s run Fuchs Projects, a gallery for showing work by himself and other artists (international and local) inside the BogArt, a building that on weekends is packed with streams of visitors headed to galleries with names like Soho20. An Israeli photographer who’s lived in New York since 1985, Fuchs arrived in Bushwick just prior to what he calls the “art explosion,” as just another newcomer looking for cheap rent. His neighborhood stomping grounds over the years have been mostly confined to the area around the Morgan stop. Beyond that zone of familiarity is what Fuchs described to me as “deep Bushwick.”
“The Olsen Twins Hiding from the Paparazzi” has gone from being a wild idea crowded-funded by Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen (the comedic duo behind the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum) to becoming a real brick-and-mortar affair on Grand Street, right in the heart of Williamsburg (where else?).
Next week during passover some Lower East Siders may feel something missing from their annual celebration– for the first time in ninety years, Streit’s Matzo at 150 Rivington Street is closed. Adding insult to injury, its old building with the famous red “Streit’s” sign above it is slated for demolition that same week, to make way for a seven-story luxury condo building.
Since we last caught up with Betty Tompkins– the downtown artist best known for her “Fuck Paintings,” she’s been doing what an established artist should be doing, showing her work at art shows and galleries galore. But for most of her career, as we learned, Tompkins was subject to censorship, sexism, and flat-out rejection not just from gallerists and the art world, but from first- and second-wave feminists too. Nevertheless, Tompkins kept painting nether regions and money shots, all of it sourced from porn. “The problem is, I’m a slut for painting,” she said.
We heard all this and more at “A Woman’s Greatest Weapon is Her Tongue,” a Q&A held in conjunction with Tompkins’s new solo exhibition of “Word Paintings,” which depict some of the “awfully familiar” words used to describe women. (“WOMEN Words Phrases Stories” is on view at the FLAG Art Foundation through May 14).
“People are going to come and say: ‘How does this place stay in business?'” Brian Shevlin, the founder of Con Artist Collective said, talking a mile a minute and gesturing around Lazy Susan, the new itsy-bitsy gallery at 191 Henry Street still in the midst of a “mini facelift.” But that doesn’t bother Shevlin– maybe it won’t manage to stay “in business” in the traditional sense, but he hopes it’ll succeed as a rag-tag, largely artist-run project space that’ll surprise and delight in a way more bottom-line driven galleries don’t.
“We thought: wouldn’t it be awesome if Con Artist Collective could have a space that we could just sort of have the keys to and give it to an artist and say: do whatever the hell you want, you’ve got this many days?” Shevlin said. “It doesn’t matter what they do. They make money or they don’t make money. They sit in the room or they don’t open at all. It doesn’t really matter, it’s your space.”
We’ve all seen the “massage girl” advertisements lurking at the back of alternative weeklies and the grainier budget versions of escort ads spamming the nether regions of the internet– signs that a legitimate underworld of body-business is still solidly stuck to the underside of the white market. It’s ever-present, and in some ways unchanging. These familiar “backpage ads” are the source images for art-critic-turned-artist Walter Robinson‘s blurry acrylic renderings on view at There’s a Bluebird in My Heart, a new show opening Friday, April 8 at Owen James Gallery in Greenpoint.
The paintings depicting doe-eyed girls wearing slinky loungewear, long tresses, and pouty demeanors, account for about half the show, while the rest consists of still-lifes of liquor bottles, cigarettes, and pill bottles. “It’s basically a two-artist show,” explained Owen Houhoulis, owner of Owen James. “One is a longtime New York artist and the other is the well-known poet Charles Bukowski.” Really, though, the show is a three-way effort between curator, painter, and the late, great drunken poet, as well as a way for Houhoulis to realize a longtime dream of putting together a curatorial homage to Bukowski.
Get ready to wax nostalgic.
David Selig, owner of the late, great Rockaway Taco, is working with surf instructor Fernando Pires to open a museum dedicated to the history and culture of surfing in Rockaway Beach. They’re giving a shack-like makeover to the second floor of a Victorian backhouse and stocking it with classic boards and over 500 surfing movies, magazines and memorabilia, mostly sourced from Pires’ personal collection. And that’s not all Selig is cooking up: the ground floor of the building, located on Beach 96th Street, will house a new bakery, and the adjacent tropical hideaway, The Palms, is getting a chef-driven dinner series.