Since it was announced that Bushwick Open Studios will be taking place in October and not on their usual summer date, a couple fledgling fests have tried to fill the void. There’s been the Bushwick Arts Festival, which was a bit of a letdown, and the Bushwick Galleries Association’s Hot Summer Nights of extended hours, which are great but for galleries only. So when we heard tell of a new Bushwick art festival called the Bushwick Open Art Fair, we were skeptical. What would make their “Bears on Bicycles”-themed fair different from the other upstarts? But then the organizers told us they’re “currently looking into the permits required to have live animals at the show.”
Stephanie Theodore of Theodore:Art was massively disappointed when Arts in Bushwick announced that Bushwick Open Studios was moving from summer to fall in an attempt to close the door on an eight-year tradition. But AiB had their reasons– BOS had ballooned into something of circus, an event that they believe had been co-opted and used by corporate interests and party promoters looking to cash-in on the thousands of people who swarmed the neighborhood each June. But galleries and individual artists also benefitted from the huge influx of people and the visibility that BOS brought to the area, so Theodore was hardly alone. “A lot of other galleries wanted something to replace BOS,” she told B+B over the phone today.
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.”
If you enter the cordoned-off projection room at LA-based artist Alison O’Daniel‘s newly-opened exhibition, Room Tone at just the right moment (anytime between now and May 8, when the show is on view at Knockdown Center), you’ll bump right into the summer of 1980, when a packed house at one of San Francisco’s weirdest “social experiments” known as the Deaf Club, had gathered for the venue’s very last punk show. The legendary punk club, which had originally functioned as a social club for the deaf since it was founded in the 1930s, came about when the building’s owners decided to rent out some extra space. The deaf social remained while the place became a raucous DIY show space by night, drawing artists, musicians, and underground types like John Waters.
In O’Daniel’s film, we see some of the deaf people playing card games, unperturbed as the floors rattle and shake around them, and others wandering through the punk show as if in a dream, continuing to engage in their intimate sign conversations, while the wild noise around them proves to have little power in disrupting their connection. On the flip side, the punk show goes on, too– the presence of the Deaf Club members has no effect on the punk catharsis. I imagined a giant venn diagram– the small sliver in the center being the smidgen of experience that the deaf and hearing people shared in this scene, and the almost whole worlds that remained intact outside where the circles met. As a hearing impaired person, O’Daniel can jump back-and-forth between these two separate circles of experience, just one perspective that makes Room Tone so profoundly brain shifting.
In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition (through Saturday February 13) Language of the Birds: Occult & Art the show’s curator Pam Grossman (who’s manned the esoterica blog Phantasmaphile for the last 10 years) will host a panel discussion featuring Professor Susan L. Aberth (author of Surrealism, Alchemy, and Art), Jesse Bransford (Chair of the Art Dep’t at NYU, Grossman described him as “an unbelievable occult artist” and his work is featured in the show), and William Breeze of the band Coil.
Read more here.
It’s not usually the case that filling out a revealing questionnaire, waiting in line, and encountering someone with a lot of tools at their disposal ends up being fun. Like, ever. But people who participated in Custom Melodies, an exhibition held last summer by Grey Gersten (aka the musician known as Eternal Lips) left not with a sinking sense of shame, but an original song composed according to their unique personality traits and experiences. You can explore the melodies on this special, interactive website, which launched Tuesday, February 2nd. To celebrate the project’s penultimate realization, Gersten’s throwing a party at Chinatown Soup Gallery. Rumor has it there will be some fire water on hand.
Read more about the project here.
Agathe Snow, whose work often blends performance with immersive multimedia installations, is opening a new show, Continuum, tonight. This is the Corsican-born artist’s first solo exhibition at Journal Gallery in Williamsburg. Snow is the ex-wife of the late Dash Snow (they married when he was just 18 years old) whose pal Ryan McGinley has some new photos up, incidentally, in a show called Winter at Team Gallery.
I’m not gonna lie, when I heard Wild Torus— the aggressively psychedelic Bushwick performance art duo– would be hosting their “most ambitious event yet” this weekend, I imagined a sweaty, gyrating orgy of disembodied tentacles coated in globs of indecipherable goo, or “Torus Juice” as it’s known (it’s actually corn syrup). Not exactly gallery material. When I first encountered Wild Torus’ cult-like “digital spirituality” rituals at their Bushwick home base, Torus Portus, I had never seen anything like it– and I haven’t seen anything to match it since.
As I walked through the Friday night rain, clutching an umbrella with a price that far exceeded its quality, I felt lost. I was looking for the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, which that evening was opening Queer WAH, an exhibition of contemporary work by queer artists. Little did I know the shabby green door I had confusedly paused by was the very place. Despite the official sounding name that calls to mind tours and pamphlets, the WAH Center sat far more unassuming than I had initially guessed.
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.
Read more about the gallery and the exhibition here.
Founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group, Christopher Stout is now the head of his own gallery, which has its very first art opening with sculptor Phoenix Lindsey Hall’s solo exhibition, “Shepard.” The centerpiece of the show, a 14-foot replica of the fence Matthew Shepard was chained to while his assailants tortured him to death, is a stark confrontation with a symbol of hate and anti-gay violence. “It’s a very somber show,” Stout explained. “New York tends to show very serious work in the fall and it seems like a very important way but also a very different way to talk about some of the issues we’re interested in exploring.”
Read more about the gallery here.
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.