In the celebratory spirit of the 10th anniversary of Bushwick Open Studios, on October 1-2, 2016, Arts in Bushwick is producing its annual exhibition, Seeking Space, an open-call exhibition with the theme Making the Future.
Arts in Bushwick seeks to open a conversation about Bushwick’s future as a creative community, asking artists to consider, ‘What does our future look like? What can it look like? How can we manifest the future we want to experience?’
The show will open September 30, 6-10pm, and run through October 16, 2016 at DAVID&SCHWEITZER CONTEMPORARY, a new gallery launched by Michael David and Keith Schweitzer at the former Life on Mars space in the 56 Bogart building. The show is organized in collaboration with Arts in Bushwick and co-curated by David and Julie Torres. The space will host discussions and performances during, and the two weekends following, Bushwick Open Studios.
Arts in Bushwick will also launch its first publishing effort at the September 30 opening night. Making History Bushwick is a collaborative effort that showcases over four hundred artists living and working in Bushwick, alongside the organization’s history, and a discussion of gentrification and the arts. It will be available for sale at a discounted rate at the gallery during BOS.
David, who has arrived in Bushwick three years ago both as an artist and Life on Mars gallery director says that, “Bushwick is one of the last communities in New York where artists, and the galleries that support them, can still take risks, make mistakes, experiment, and let creativity flourish,” an unabashedly optimistic take on the show theme, Making the Future. Many changes have taken place in the Bushwick art scene throughout the past ten years, and there is a sense among many local artists, writers, and gallerists that this energetic art hub is at a crossing road.
While that might be true, the Bushwick of today is much different than it once was. Loren Munk is a writer and artist whose work Bushwick unfinished 2003-2014 (oil on linen, 84×72″, 2013-16) is the centerpiece of Seeking Space: Making the Future. He has always been interested in the future of art, artists, and how change happens and one day back in 2003 he pedaled out to the Morgan / Flushing nexus to take a look around.
“No one even knew what to call the area…various tags were tried, but Bushwick stuck,” he recalls. Monk says that Bushwick is facing the same pressures and potential over-development that have occurred in SOHO, the East Village, Chelsea and Williamsburg. He foresees larger, more commercial galleries moving in, and smaller, less commercial spaces moving elsewhere.
Shanna Maurizi, who has also been involved in the Bushwick art scene for the past thirteen years, expresses a similar view. Maurizi, an artist, experimental filmmaker and the founder of the artist-run collective space Songs for Presidents, observes that “most young artists can’t afford to live and work here.” She thinks that an art scene will remain, perhaps as a hub for mid-level galleries, but the artists will live and work somewhere else.
Rob de Oude, an artist and gallerist who has been involved with a few different spaces in the neighborhood since around 2008, including Parallel Art Space, and Transmitter, also sees escalating real estate prices as a crucial game changer.
“In the earlier days everyone would see each other at pretty much the same openings. Now several arts communities seem to be operating simultaneously, while at the same time being pressured to scatter due to increased real estate values,” he says.
With a more optimistic view, Paul D’Agostino, an artist, writer, translator, curator and educator who has been active in the Bushwick community even before opening Centotto, a gallery in his loft, in 2008, interprets the change that has occurred in the Bushwick art scene as a process of growth and maturity. “The consistent increase in the number of artists and art spaces in the area has proven to be advantageous for everyone involved, and it has resulted in an ever greater spotlight being cast on Bushwick as a reliably lively, energetic, and in many ways important art locus,” he says.
Lacey Fekishazy who has been involved in the Bushwick art community for the past ten years as artist and gallerist, also feels that “there is still a creative energy that can be tapped here.” After living in five different NYC neighborhoods, she finds that Bushwick by far gives her the biggest sense of belonging to a community. Fekishazy, an artist and founder of the gallery SARDINE, observes that when she started her space in 2011, there were about twenty art spaces, and now there are about sixty two. “My hope is that Bushwick will continue to be an inclusive community supportive of creative individuals who take risks,” she sums up with an open-ended glance at the future.
Whatever the future holds, join Arts in Bushwick at the opening night of Seeking Space: Making the Future on September 30, and Bushwick Open Studios, October 1-2, 2016 to join in this important conversation.
Seeking Space opening night & Making History Bushwick Book Launch September 30, 6-10pm, September 30 – October 16, 2016, in collaboration with David&Schweitzer Contemporary
56 BOGART, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
OPEN THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, 1:00—6:00 PM
Featured image courtesy of Loren Monk, Bushwick unfinished 2003-2014, oil on linen, 84×72″, 2013-16