Let’s be honest; if you’ve been going to Bushwick Open Studios for the last couple of years, you’ve probably got some reservations about the event. By day, it’s a zoo of eateries and portable vintage clothing shops smattered with bits of performance art and artists listless in their studios; by night, it’s an enormous frat party. Slowly, but surely, the BOS listing website is starting to resemble the DUMBO Arts Festival open studios; lots of artists, most of them pursuing art as a hobby.
We know, because we’ve spent the last several days combing the website for studios we think worthy of visiting this Saturday and Sunday, so you don’t have to. Below is a list of studios we recommend. And if you want our unsolicited advice: get the job done as quick as you can, lest you get swallowed by a roaming frat party swarm.
More Susan Hamburger please. Hamburger creates multi-panel ornamentation, often using political and media figures in her designs. Craft and concept are strong.
I’ve had a soft spot for Peter Bardazzi’s work ever since I saw it at the Bobby Redd Project Space/Bushwick church during open studios a few years ago. They’re nothing like anybody else’s imagery. Look hard in his Futurist swooshes; you’ll find references to macho culture in everything from jungle patterns, cartoon weapons, Kurosawa films, gangsters, and Tatlin’s Tower. He once compared his interest in looking to the end of the Great Train Robbery,in which an actor famously fires a gun directly at the audience. The paintings are like that; charged, fast, and point-blank.
Enrico Gomez makes hard-edged abstraction mixed with abstract line paintings reminiscent of Brice Marden. His partner in crime at Parallel gallery makes heavily layered patterned line abstractions. These guys are a BOS must see; they’re mainstays in the Troutman building (until recently) with programming that has an unwavering focus on abstraction.
Does anybody remember those enormous hairbrush sculptures at the Hole? Sarah Zapata’s homage to Franz West seems like it’s in that vein. In keeping with West’s tastefully-playful participatory furniture, Zapata’s studio will invite visitors to participate with their feet on an enormous shagg rug. Following BOS, footage of your feet will be used to make “foot porn”.
When I visited Toi Aotearoa at the Auckland Museum of Art last December, I noticed a large number of contemporary New Zealand artists on view seemed concerned with monumentalizing the every day. Add Emily Hartley Skudder to that list.
She writes that she’s “interested in visual reproductions of the ordinary”. Basically, we’re looking at color studies involving mass-produced objects. Fairly simple work, but a few unexpected shifts in scale help; check out the tiny lamp on a table, and a photograph of a small red and white painting hanging over a red and white bed. In both cases, Skudder’s decision to make her art props small result in an understated humor that light up otherwise banal still lives.
If you’re into monumentality, Mesich may be your artist. His photos on the BOS site promise videos that focus on the absurdity of boring rituals, but we’re most interested in a giant architectural maquette: a skyscraper, which is large enough to loom large over the viewer. Here’s hoping that piece will be on display.
One of the few conceptual artists participating in Bushwick Open Studios, Ryan D. Bush and Mira Putnam have a knack for adjusting packaging text. Expect visual puns: Brita lids on necklaces, T-shirts with pictures of dresses on them.
William Patterson, BOS link
What do you get when you mix the paintings of Tatiana Berg and the collages of Brian Bellot? The work of William Patterson. We’re uncertain about this work, but it’s loud and ugly enough to have piqued our curiosity.
We’ve got our doubts about Vicki Khuzami’s academic figuration, but she gets a listing regardless here for her weird semi-homoerotic painting of a Jon Hamm lookalike. Will seeing it up close prove fruitful? Only one way to find out.
Colorful figurative abstraction that looks considered yet lightly touched. The work recalls that of Ginny Casey, a previous studio featuree on this blog.
GOOD LOOKING SHOWS IN THE AREA
Meryl Meisler’s medium format camera went a lot of places in New York back in the 70’s. She managed to capture both the city’s decay and its creative energy as seen through the streets and night life. A must-see.
A show curated by Björn Meyer-Ebrecht that includes the work of sculptors who have influenced his work. These artists include. Andy Cross Marc Andre Robinson, Ellie Murphy, Marykate Maher, Lars Kremer, Ian Umlauf, Rico Gatson, Danielle Webb, Ben Pederson, Lynn sullivan, Joy Curtis, Letha Wilson.
Enormous scale might not be a reasonable justification for adolescent orgy paintings, but it seems to work for Lisa Yuskavage, and for some reason it worked for Jim Herbert’s previous show at English Kills. Then, as now, this may be because Herbert seems to put in a lot more time than the majority of what’s around. Sorry, Bushwick.
After a full day of open studios, unravel your brain with soothing organic 3D bloblike shapes of Giselle Zatonyl. For her first show at Transfer, Zatonyl will be making “discrete systems” which mirror the empty rhythms of meaningless and ceaseless consumption on social media. “Organic and soothing qualities appear, which in turn shape their environment– a system in which to assimilate.” ~Ahhh.~ (5/27 Whitney Kimball)
You might know Ann Hirsch for her video and performance work, but she makes drawing, sculptures, and prints as well. We’ll get to know about Hirsch’s other feats this Friday at American Medium’s first exhibition at its new Bed-Stuy location. The theme: early adolescent sexuality. (5/12 Corinna Kirsch)