A few months back a certain abandoned lot just off the L train was overgrown with weeds and full of garbage, but as of last week it’s become a buzzing center for small retail shops, food vendors, and affordable art studios. A beer garden is set to open in the coming weeks. L train? Art? All signs point to this being Bushwick, but this is the New Lots Avenue stop, or East New York. ReNew Lots Market and Artist Incubator is a project of Arts East New York, a local non-profit working closely with the city to promote public art works, creative production, and arts education in one of the city’s worst reputed neighborhoods.
Art + Culture
Jenni Hensler is convinced most people have no idea who she is, but if you’ve been paying attention to popular music in the last few years, you’ve definitely seen her work. The stylist and art director’s hand is immediately recognizable in the witchy, borderline-spiritual looks of Zola Jesus and Chelsea Wolfe that seem to draw inspiration from the occult, fetish wear, and fantasy. But a new project could bring her out into the light as an artist in her own right.
On Wednesday night the Living Gallery in Bushwick was abuzz with punk kids and curious passersby who had stepped inside to soak up the atmosphere of Collective Delusion / Mass Hysteria, a new all-female art exhibition. “Pretty much everyone is involved in the punk or noise scene in some way,” Jennifer Calandra, who curated the event, explained of the participating artists. “They’re mostly ladies I know from the scene here and from going to shows in different states.” The exhibition arrived just in time for the annual punk fest, New York’s Alright, which kicked off last night with shows at the Acheron and Tender Trap and continues throughout the weekend.
Everybody dies. But there’s a high probability you won’t get to experience your own funeral, unless of course you’re imagining it during a Bushwick ayahuasca ceremony. But if you want to find out what it’s like to be dead sans pyschedelics, it may be worth forking over $40 for the “fantasy burial workshop” that Carrie Ahern is offering at the Immersive Gallery, a performance art venue in Williamsburg. We spoke with the local dancer and choreographer to find out more about death LARPing.
When we last visited the Muse, the Williamsburg circus school that (along with Death By Audio) became another victim of VICE’s southward expansion, they’d just found a new home in an enormous industrial space in the farthest reaches of Bushwick. Angela Buccinni (aka Mama Muse) spoke of the school’s lofty plans to build out the huge space that is more than four times the size of their first location. Things have been quiet over there ever since but Buccinni says that, as of April 1, The Muse has been open for business. “Classes are in full swing,” she said. “I don’t think people understand we’re actually open yet.”
In anticipation of the opening for the Witches of Bushwick residency at Stream Gallery, we stopped by the Bushwick mini-art front yesterday. We can’t say we didn’t look sort of ridiculous getting there right as the gate opened, but thankfully we were greeted not only by a singular, unopened bottle of red wine sitting by its lonesome on a pedestal but also by Christine Tran (co-founder of Witches of Bushwick along with Anne Alexander).
Walk into Bushwick’s SIGNAL Gallery and you might feel as if you’ve just stepped off a spaceship onto the surface of some distant moon. A thick cloud of fog dominates the room, and strangely its opacity seems to vacillate as you move across the room from painting to installation to sculpture. It can be disorienting but also sort of zen inducing, though the gallery cat doesn’t seem to be bothered one way or the other.
An exhibition curated by Bennet Schlesinger, Fissure: Fog, installed the cloud here at SIGNAL when it opened nearly two weeks ago at what’s become one of Brooklyn’s premiere galleries for emerging artists. Fissure features work by local artists including Nikholis Planck, Aidan Koch, Graham Hamilton, and Kayla Guthrie, among others. The works draw from a variety of mediums and artistic practices.
The Lower East Side of the 1970s was a gritty, perilous place. Gang violence, drugs and poverty peppered the streets and rubble-strewn lots, threatening the livelihood and lives of the many Latino families who called the area home. Not about to see their population ravaged by the disorder, a group of Puerto Rican activists, along with residents of the neighborhood, started a movement to combat the conditions and bolster the community. Loisaida, Inc. was formally established in 1978, the name coming from a Spanglish nickname for the Lower East Side coined by poet Bimbo Rivas.
Woody Allen wannabes mingled with finance types in cowboy boots and a few fellas who looked like they could be Keith Richards’s little brothers last night at at the opening of “All | Together | Different,” an exhibition celebrating nearly 100 artists working on the Lower East Side.
“I recognize a lot of faces here from the East Village in the ’80s,” said John Lloyd, a painter who was not featured in the show. “It’s good to see so many old farts still looking quirky and funky. It’s a wonderful reminder of what was going on. We took it for granted and it disappeared, but it’s good to see that everyone is still around.” The camaraderie was palpable, like a high school reunion with just as much booze and half the awkwardness.