Christopher Stout, founder of Bushwick Art Crit Group, has just opened his gallery in the disputed territory of East Williamsburg, the realization of plans we first heard about in early September. I had a chance to check the place out on Friday, and found that Stout is already keeping good on his pledge to show “subversive art.” The centerpiece of the gallery’s inaugural show, Shepard by Phoenix Lindsey-Hall, is a massive, meticulously crafted porcelain replica of the iconic fence Matthew Shepard (the victim of a notorious hate crime) was bound to before he was tortured and left for dead back in 1998. Not easy-to-swallow material, to say the least.
Greenpoint artist Allison Sommers is once again gathering the most unconventional art from 30 local artists for a popup art show called The Happening, held this year at Cloud City. Tomorrow the Williamsburg art space, founded in 2013 from the ashes of Dead Herring, will be overrun with artists hanging their work and preparing music and dance performances. It promises to be unlike anything you would find at a traditional gallery.
Betty Tompkins spent decades working as, in her own words, “your typical rejected artist.” On and off again since 1969, she’s painted up-close-and-personal images of sex– literally, contact between nether regions, penetration, and other intimate moments. But it wasn’t until more than 30 years later that her work, more specifically her “fuck paintings,” began getting more attention than shame. Recently, the artist has revived the subject that inspired her the most and continues to evolve her process, as seen in her latest work now on view at BHQFU‘s project space and gallery FUG (Foundation University Gallery) in the East Village, as part of Tompkins’ solo show, Real Ersatz.
Royal Young is currently living in his grandparents’ attic in Long Island. While that may not sound like the most inspiring place for a 30-year-old writer and now painter (especially one who’s spent almost his entire life living in the city) the journalist and author of Fame Shark seems to be loving it. “New York City sucks, let’s be real,” he laughed. Royal only recently admitted defeat, something he still seems to have a hard time believing. Nevertheless, his early retirement has been a productive one as evidenced by a series large, colorful paintings, currently on view at Figureworks gallery in Williamsburg as part of Lush Doom.
Thirty years after the Guerrilla Girls put on their masks and started conducting “weenie counts,” women are still at a disadvantage in the art world. But — as we were reminded by “Girls at Night on the Internet,” a recent show highlighting female net and digi-artists — women are establishing their own, parallel structures of artistic legitimacy and supporting each other now more than ever. Three upcoming all-female art shows demonstrate that women (and female-identifying) artists are connecting across disciplines and taking charge of their own depiction possibly now more than ever.
“This gallery is my baby,” explained Christopher Stout, founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group. This fall, Stout will host his inaugural exhibition as a gallery owner at his new space, the first of several anticipated art institutions inside an East Williamsburg warehouse space. BACG is “a not-for-profit community resource for everybody,” Stout explained. “But it felt like it was increasingly challenging– in a negative way– to make programming that was about everyone.” In order to host exhibitions that relate to specific subjects that Stout is more personally invested in, without having to worry about “alienating everyone else,” he said, “it really needed to be separate and become its own thing.”
Tonight a gallery in Brooklyn opens with the grand purpose of helping you deal with the weight of life’s mysteries. That’s not to say Stephen Romano, curator and gallery namesake, is offering any answers. Instead “Lexicon Infernali,” the gallery’s debut exhibit, is a window into a world of questions, inviting visitors to take a trip down the rabbit hole of visionary art.
Looking at Abdul Abdullah‘s work alone might not give you every hint necessary to guess immediately where the 29-year-old artist is from. And seeing him in the flesh, t-shirt and jeans, ordering a beer at bar in Greenpoint, gives you even fewer clues to go on. That’s because in the post-9/11 world, Muslims in countries across the world have had to deal with widespread prejudice, demonization, and deeply confused depictions of their religion and culture, experiences that Abdullah confronts head-on in his paintings and photographs. Turns out Abdullah’s from Australia, but his new solo show, Coming to Terms, is a reminder that the problem of Islamophobia is unfortunately still as potent as ever almost everywhere.
We’re guessing the world would look a whole lot different if bad ass women like Penelope Gazin had been well-represented in animation and comics from the start. But Gazin has her hand in so many projects, it’s almost as if she’s single-handedly trying to make up for lost time. Her paintings, drawings, and animations have a unique staying power, and will almost certainly end up plastered all over the walls of your skull if you spend some time with them. Gazin’s sassy, hilarious, and sometimes twisted images of alien babes and monster princesses don’t depart amicably.
A young man with rich brown hair, soft lips and a blindfold reposes on a mattress. It will only take one quick movement of your wrist to sign the waiver, and then he is yours to watch. To kiss. Or both.
If Girls at Night on the Internet is a pool full of multicolored Jell-O, then the digi-only gallery known as Art Baby, founded by 26-year-old artist and curator Grace Miceli, is the diving board. “Being a girl at night on the internet is where I personally found the confidence to share my work and to create this really supportive community of artists,” explained Miceli, who also curated this show. “For me, it’s an identity and a space I wanted to celebrate. Being a girl at night on the internet is where I met all these artists and, in a very basic way, it’s just a description of where this all comes from. And this show has just been partially about bringing this world that already exists to a broader audience.”
“All the drones were dead and gone by the end,” my friend laughed, filling me in on the last hour of opening night at First Person View, the Knockdown Center’s drone-centric art exhibition. The show lifted off last weekend after months of planning; unfortunately/fortunately, my friend’s account of all the mayhem I’d missed by leaving early wasn’t 100 percent accurate. “The show will go on!” Vanessa Thill, who co-curated the show, assured us. “Crashing is all part of the fun.”