Soaring temperatures, brunch plans, hangovers of various kinds, cute outfits, and sundry pictures of food and iced beverages: if you had an awesome weekend but didn’t Instagram it for the world to see, then did it really happen? The way we see it– pics or it didn’t happen.
With your smartphone at your fingertips, these days its easy to mistake Instagram and Facebook for the ultimate arbiters of visual taste. But the International Center of Photography begs to differ. On Thursday they open their brand new museum on the Bowery, with an inaugural exhibition making the case for considered curation and historical perspective to broaden the conversation around images and their impact.
A riddle: how do you get all the artists in Bushwick in the same place at the same time? Tell them that everyone is going to be there.
In anticipation of the Bushwick Open Studios, the neighborhood arts festival happening this year in October, photographer Meryl Meisler is trying to get a group photo of every artist who calls the artistically vibrant Brooklyn neighborhood home. To do so, Meisler and writer James Panero, who is curating the project, have put out a call for any artist who is planning on being involved in BOS this October to meet tomorrow at 11 a.m. outside Stout Projects on Meadow Street.
Opening night for In the Raw: The Female Gaze on the Nude (on view now through May 21 at The Untitled Space) was predictably packed, and not just because it’s Frieze week and the gallery was giving out free booze. I’d like to think that people were there for the actual art exhibition, which was billed as an all-female, all-nude art show where 20 women artists, aged 21 to 60-something, from Russia, Chile, and beyond, “explore a perspective less chartered, that of a woman’s eye on another,” and in the process “challenge the status quo with a liberating and authentic beauty.” Or maybe they were there because Victoria de Lesseps (daughter of Real Housewives “star” Countess LuAnn de Lesseps) is also on the roster of participating artists. Who could tell?
Indira Cesarine, who curated the multimedia art show along with Coco Dolle of Milk and Night, told me that she felt the exhibition was a “timely” one. Dolle told Whitehot magazine that the work is “saleable.” They’re in no way wrong.
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.”
Winter Mendelson couldn’t wait to get the hell out of Georgia. “I graduated college and moved here, like, the very next day,” laughed the founder and editor-in-chief of Posture, a fresh-faced queer-centric magazine dedicated to gender, identity, and the arts. “I didn’t have a community there at all– it was like three lesbians and they were all dating each other, so it was kind of torturous.”
Arriving in New York City, she immediately realized things were going to be different. “I was so relieved and excited that there were people like me, like, everywhere. I was like, ‘This is a dream!” And yet, she realized there was something missing from the scene. “I just felt like there really needed to be a platform that showed all kinds of voices and aesthetics,” she said.
We love Meryl Meisler, the New York-born photographer who documented Bushwick, Manhattan and Long Island in the disco era. And HBO’s new show, Vinyl, has further whetted our appetite for ’70s NYC. So we’re excited to hear that a selection of Meisler’s earliest work will be on display at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea, starting next Thursday. The exhibition will include a large selection of black-and-white prints taken in some of Manhattan’s mythical disco and punk clubs (CBGBs, Studio 54, Les Mouches, Hurrah) and in her hometown of Massapequa, affectionately coined “Matzo-Pizza” by the locals for its large Jewish and Italian population. It’s an urban-suburban milieux worthy of Richie Finestra himself.
Boobie Trap still holds the record for most synthetic breasts in a bar, but last night Birdy’s and Happyfun Hideaway hosted the real deal. Boobs of Bushwick, the group known for going topless around the neighborhood and uploading shots to Tumblr, bounced into Birdy’s for some foosball at around 11 p.m., followed by Jenga at Happyfun Hideaway.
In the late 1990s, Catherine Opie drove across the country, taking photos of lesbian families in and around their homes. The resulting series, Domestic, (which Opie, who herself is gay, said was an attempt to document “the lesbian dream’’) contains a still life of a washer and dryer, which the photographer joked was “a lesbian washer and dryer.” Because, as she put it, “it’s the same thing.” An ongoing pair of solo exhibitions, Portraits and Landscapes and 700 Nimes Road, at the Lehmann Maupin gallery locations in Chelsea and on the Lower East Side, respectively, also readjust our expectations about the artist and her long-held role as a “provocateur.”
Patrons and staff gathered at Sway to bid bye bye as the downtown bar passed on to the next world, joining its brethren in depraved bar heaven. Group portrait artist Nick McManus was on hand to capture the mournful revelry of Sway’s last night on earth with instant snapshots from The Impossible Project, á la a young Ryan McGinley at Lit Lounge (RIP).
Thomas Roma, the author of In the Vale of Cashmere, is featured in the first iteration of a new video series spotlighting photographers and their work produced by the Steven Kasher Gallery, where Roma’s accompanying exhibition runs through December 23. The photographer, a Brooklyn native and founder of Columbia University’s photography program, has spent the last few decades of his career documenting Brooklyn with an inexhaustible passion for the people who make the borough such a diverse and fascinating place.
To honor the 20th anniversary of New York Girls and the re-release of Richard Kern‘s first book, the East Village photographer and Cinema of Transgression filmmaker is running two concurrent gallery shows– one is in Chelsea and the second opens tonight at Marlborough Broome on the Lower East Side. I stopped by the gallery yesterday to check out the photos and speak with Kern.
“It was so long ago, almost seems like somebody else did it,” he laughed. “It was definitely a different time period.” When I arrived, I found Kern sitting quietly at the front desk. I was late but, as he explained later, I’d given him a chance to catch up on Instagram.