‘Bushwick Tales’ Exhibits Urbanism through Art and Artifact

The group show Bushwick Tales exemplifies a Bushwick urbanism while conjuring up whimsical tales.

Bushwick Tales was a gallery show curated by artist and writer Etty Yaniv, a contributor to this blog, featuring sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, collages and a performance the night of the opening, which was opened at 117 Grattan Street over the weekend of Bushwick Open Studios and closed October 16, 2016.

Yaniv explained that since the show took place during BOS weekend, she decided to go with a large group and diverse work. After several conversations with various artists she selected artworks from Fanny Allié, Nancy Baker, Dasha Bazanova, Noa Charuvi, Jaynie Gillman Crimmins, Ashley Garrett, Michal Gavish, Peter Gynd, Liz Jaff, Amy Mahnick, Anki King, Eliot Markell, James Prez, Evan Reehl Ryer, Bob Seng, Patricia Satterlee, Natalie Simon, Fedele SpadaforaTrish Tillman, Jeanne Tremmel, Brian Wood, Mary Ivy Martin and included one of her own. All these artists are staples in the Bushwick arts community in some way. She said she wanted to avoid a salon style exhibition and made an attempt to provide each artist a distinct presence, “opting for a mélange of sculptural work and wall work to engage the whole space.” 

Attending the invitational exhibition reminded me of morning walks through the neighborhood. One of my favorite paths takes me past the small manufacturing district along Waterbury Street then over to Newtown Creek. When the metal garage doors are open I get a glimpse into the mysterious going-ons of each business. When the doors are rolled down, it’s the remnants along the curbs, the stains on the concrete and the things stuck in the gutters that provide hints about what happens inside. For me, this show captured the industrial-urban essence that surrounds Bushwick, through forms, choice of palettes and overall aesthetics.

For instance, in The Carrier Series, the silhouettes created with black plastic bags, hand-sewn on fabric by Fanny Allié, looked like the familiar and unfamiliar figures carrying their burdens along Morgan Avenue. As you stared at these figures the feelings oscillated between lonely and heroic and then each became dark compositions that engaged one’s sense of structure. Even though pieces were static, a lenticular approach also projected the quality of breathing.

James Prez showcased several sculptures from a larger body of work called Booktures. The artifacts from these artfully composed objects could have easily been taken out of a waste bin from one of the nearby toy distribution centers. Some are fastened atop old books. All of them strike your imagination and random narratives begin to build – or memories of familiar toys, like horses and ducks, quickly flash by. Unlike the narratives implied by Prez’s work, Amy Mahnick manipulates industrial found objects, like tissue boxes and egg cartons, for their design affect. How they are situated in space is also important.     

Fanny Allié, Woman Wheel (TheCarriers), plastic bag hand-stitched onto fabric, 2014-15, 14" x 19"
Fanny Allié, Woman Wheel (TheCarriers), plastic bag hand-stitched onto fabric, 2014-15, 14″ x 19″

 

James Prez, Composites from Booktures, 2016
James Prez, partial installation view
Amy Mahnick, Quatrefoil, carryout coffee tray, 2016, 7.5”x7.5”x2”
Amy Mahnick, Quatrefoil, carryout coffee tray, 2016, 7.5”x7.5”x2”

The little ceramic creature, Misunderstood, by Dasha Bazanova lives underneath the bridge at English Kills, between Morgan and Varick Avenues. It is kind and humble and it’s main job is to bless the tiny school of silver fish that swirl in the creek so that they eventually make their way to healthier waters. Go ahead, go out there one early morning and it might grace you with its presence. Not far from Misunderstood is Pompeii on Parade #1 skiing its way down Flushing Avenue in the winter. Elliot Markell creates imaginary characters from found objects. In this piece, the anthropomorphic shape is wonderfully executed with the use of concrete, rebar, paint, old gloves and found wood.

Michal Gavish goes weird science with Nano Portraiture, creating large petri dishes that capture the biological structures of the polluted creek or the composition  that can be found in the nearby oil refinery. That’s not really the case, but it is, when your imagination is walking through Bushwick.

The day of the opening, guests passed an old Christmas tree with two brown boots popping out of the end. At first glance it looked like a prank but then you realized there was a person embedded in the tree. Mary Ivy Martin stared straight up into the sky that night while people mistook her for trash. Her performance and subsequent documentation reflects on the blurred lines between people and nature in urban environments.

Yaniv explains, “She was lying motionless on the sidewalk outside the space in pouring rain, tucked in garbage bags and a Christmas tree. It was quite amazing to see how passersby were mostly ignoring her presence, at times even throwing garbage at her (accidentally I hope).”

16.Michal Gavish, Nano portrait 2 (Protein); acrylic on fabric and paper; 2015,12" diameter (20X20 framed)
Michal Gavish, Nano portrait 2 (Protein); acrylic on fabric and paper; 2015,12″ diameter (20X20 framed)
Noa Charuvi, Rocks and Drums, oil on canvas, 2016, 14”x18”
Noa Charuvi, Rocks and Drums, oil on canvas, 2016, 14”x18”

The paintings by Noa Charuvri capture construction details, material vignettes that are ever present as a result of the rapid reshaping of the urban landscape that is happening in Bushwick. Jeanne Tremel’s sculpture-installation, “Mindful / Landfill”, deals with displacement directly. According to Yaniv, “Jeanne’s ephemeral sculpture embodies, in a poetic way, the very essence of this Bushwick tale. It’s both sad and life affirming.” It was conceived in the artist’s old studio a few blocks away, dismantled and stored when she had to leave, then re-appeared at Venus Knitting Art Space. The sculpture-installation appears to be loosely constructed with a dense amount of debris, dirt, plant material and found objects woven in an empty mattress wire structure. This metal cloud of debris is propped up approximately 24″ from the floor. Scattered below is a light layer of dirt that seems to have fallen from the cloud. 

All these works captured a kind of Bushwick urbanism. Curator Etty Yaniv further explains, “I definitely wanted to establish an underlying sense of place in this show, particularly of urban spaces such as Bushwick. In my own work I am very drawn to the idea of place and time specificity, so that is inherently part of my thought process when I am curating as well.”  

A Preview of Seeking Space: Making the Future

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.

making-history-bushwick-by-arts-in-bushwickArts 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

View the online gallery for Seeking Space: Making The Future

From Aesthetic to Emotional: Cinema Sunday and BOS Closing Party Provide an Oasis

Still from Division Avenue, Courtesy of Division Avenue Film
Still from Division Avenue

After a weekend packed to the brim with trekking the Bushwick streets, exploring studios, exhibitions, parties, and all that comprises Bushwick Open Studios, nothing is better than kicking back on Sunday evening and watching an impeccable selection of short films spanning from experimental to classic narrative. Thoughtfully curated by filmmaker and creative technologist Mandy Mandelstein, CinemaSunday and the BOS 2015 Closing Party have provided this closing oasis for the past three years. This year’s program consisted of 19 films, no more than ten minutes in length, spanning the genres of documentary, experimental, and narrative film.

Still from I Wrote a Story About You Without You
Still from I Wrote a Story About You Without You

The first block of films consisted primarily of documentaries and experimental films. I Wrote a Story About You Without You, directed by Adam Gundersheimer and Vanessa Haddad, spliced together organic footage from around Bushwick and Google maps street view images and layered them over more intimate shots of the domestic–from plants to people lounging in bed with a cat. Paired with the haunting music of Jonah Parzen-Johnson, the film evokes the experience of living in New York–particularly in Brooklyn–and the feeling of being physically absorbed by the city, yet somehow remaining mentally separate from it.

Still from Stray Dogs
Still from Stray Dogs

Division Avenuedirected by Janna Kyllästinen, is an unconventionally beautiful examination of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The film feels somehow removed from the locality and basic functionality of the BQE, favoring extended shots of passersby, close-ups of nuts and bolts, and overhead views of hierarchical modes of transportation. The emphasis on line, shadow, and perspective in each shot called to mind the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and Edward Hopper and placed them in a distinctly contemporary, utilitarian context. When portrayed in this manner, the architecture and design of the BQE takes on a paradoxically sublime, yet mundane, beauty that is so all-encompassing that the open, natural quality of the beach at the end of the film feels almost oppressive in its lack of structure. Division Avenue asks the viewer to question conventional beliefs about aesthetics and consider the role of designed space in the human experience of the urban sphere.

Still from Horoscope
Still from Horoscope

Narrative films and animation made up the bulk of the second block of programming. The narrative films presented all had a delightful touch of the absurd. Stray Dogs, directed by Minka Farthing Kohl, took the painfully mundane task of waiting for the bus in the thick of summer and hit it with a bizarre curve ball of drama, comedy, and mysticism. In just seven minutes, Farthing Kohl creates a world where magicians are mobsters and you might just find your soul mate by inexplicably getting turned into a dog. Horoscope takes the daily ritual of a teenage girl checking her horoscope and frames it into a hyper-relatable tale of developing a crush on cute boy that shares her commute and learning about indie rock for the first time–an experience most of us have hidden away somewhere in our teens and early twenties.

 

A reflective end to BOS2015, CinemaSunday ran the gamut of the aesthetic and emotional film. Several of the films had a distinctly Brooklyn point of view, but it was not a requirement for the programming and certainly not for the viewing experience. Those of us on the other side of the screen were presented with breathtaking experimental pieces, intriguing documentaries, and clever, original narratives.

 

Elegant to Edgy: Purtell and Rosenfeld in Black and White

 

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©Sergio Purtell

Born in Santiago, Chile, Sergio Purtell came to the United States in 1973. In recent years, he has trained his lens on the changing postindustrial neighborhoods of the Northeast, going beyond disruption to capture the lingering poetry of decay. His silver prints, recently featured in a solo show at Art 3 Gallery, have tremendous tonal range; even without color, you feel the temperature of the light and the photographer responding to it like a flower to the sun.

Real, Greenpoint Ave. and Provost St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY ©Sergio Purtell
Real, Greenpoint Ave. and Provost St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY ©Sergio Purtell

It is the pure light of classic landscape painting: revealing and ennobling, yet not quite of this world. In it, factories assume the air of ancient ruins; an ordinary Brooklyn road becomes as grand as the Appian Way. By raising these sites to the monumental, Purtell underscores their link to our own heritage and the remains of other civilizations. Similar to Shelley’s Ozymandias, structures thought to be permanent, are in fact in decay and disappearing fast. Attention should be paid.

 

In Purtell’s work are many ideas and echoes of art history. A canoe floating on the Gowanus Canal recalls Thomas Eakins’ painting of Max Schmitt on the Schuylkill River. Both are set against industrial-era bridges, and both have a quality of stillness that makes us pause a moment to consider progress, retreating nature, and man’s place in the scheme of things. In his quiet way, Purtell is provocative and makes us think.

Real, 3rd St., Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY, 2008 ©Sergio Purtell
Real, 3rd St., Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY, 2008 ©Sergio Purtell

Purtell has a BFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, and an MFA from Yale, where he studied with Tod Papageorge. In the 1990s, he began to print for prominent photographers, first in SoHo, now at his high-end lab, Black and White on White, on Ingraham Street. Though he produces digital prints and celebrates the many choices available to photographers, Purtell has a special reverence for tradition. “Silver sits behind gelatin,” he said “which gives it a subtle three-dimensional quality.” For him, B&W is the way he sees and thinks, conceptualizing and “abstracting the world.” It is also a connection to history, the way photography began and continues to evolve.

 

But sometimes B&W produces the equivalent of a psychotic break. I saw the first image to produce such a reaction on Knickerbocker Avenue and was so stunned I had to cross over for a closer look. It seemed like a photograph—the face full of realistic detail—yet it popped off the wall with a three-dimensional, larger-than-life quality, melting at the edges into swirls of graffiti. I noticed others around Bushwick, all black and white, all with the same harsh light and looming shadow. Close-up and claustrophobic, they were like stills from a B-grade film, the faces startled, as if responding to something ominous just outside the frame.

Girl on the Phone ©Luis Rosenfeld
Girl on the Phone ©Luis Rosenfeld

These images were photographs by Luis Rosenfeld, mounted in public spaces through the process of polypasting, which he invented. First he captures an image with a wide-angle Leica, then photocopies it onto cheap paper and fixes it to a wall using white paint and polyurethane. His process is open sourced, with instructions posted online and Rosenfeld fully confident that the final works are entirely his own.

 

Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Rosenfeld spent seven years in Paris and studied at Paris-Sorbonne. He came to the United States to work with his brother in Washington, D.C., eventually settling in Baltimore, Maryland, where he purchased a 14,000-foot distressed property on the edge of Graffiti Alley. Fascinated, he began venturing out to watch the artists, who taught him the science of wheat pasting and the etiquette of respectful posting.

Cat ©Luis Rosenfeld
Cat ©Luis Rosenfeld

Baltimore had a burgeoning art scene, and similar to Bushwick where he spends part of his time, creativity was in the air. Rosenfeld always liked photography and found that “people liked my photos.” He favored large-scale images, but not the process of wheat pasting. Through trial and error, he discovered polypasting, which brought his images to life and gave them a sense of open-air film noir.

 

Rosenfeld gives back by providing space at Graffiti Warehouse, where street artists can work legally, and by mentoring troubled youths. For them, Graffiti Warehouse is “a place to go and have fun,” to be calm and learn life lessons through art. For us, the work of these artists demonstrates how, once the only option, B&W endures from gallery walls to the streets of Bushwick. It coaxes out the dark figures that lurk in our dreams and reveals in luminous light a world we too often barely see.

 

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Sergio Purtell is represented by Art 3 Gallery. Luis Rosenfeld participated in Bushwick Open Studios 2015 with street photography, street art, and polypasting

 

This article is Part 2 of “Elegant to Edgy,” an ongoing series featuring artists and photographers who work in B&W; for Part 1, see Elegant to Edgy: Visions in Black and White

Here Art, There Art, Everywhere Art, “Art Talk” with Ethan Minsker

text by Veronica Dakota and Willow Goldstein

Art Talk: Bushwick Open Studios by Ethan Minsker

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to witness an event through someone else’s eyes? With his video Art Talk: Bushwick Open Studios, jack-of-many-trades artist Ethan Minsker allows us to experience Bushwick Open Studios 2015 from the vantage point of a first-time visitor—his own. Accompanied by his daughter, Minsker not only shows us the works of the various artists he visited, but also allows us to feel the wonder that entering someone’s usually private space can afford, enabling what Minsker describes as a “personal connection with strangers.” He adds, “It takes a lot of guts to not just show your work, but let me into your home. Not that I am messy or anything, but you know what I mean.” Sure we do, but see for yourself: Art Talk is a portal to the “good vibe” of BOS15.

 

 

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Ethan Minsker’s descriptors include writer, filmmaker, artist, fanzine publisher, and creator and editor-in-chief of Psycho Moto Zine, which has been in publication since 1988. Minsker is a founding member of the Antagonist Movement, an East Village/LES-based group of artists, writers, and musicians that promotes lesser-known works by up-and-coming talent. This group was recently featured in his newest film, Self Medicated: a film about art, a documentary on the struggles artists face to stay happy. Self Medicated won the DIY award at the 2014 RxSM Film Festival.Self Medicated: A Film about Art by Ethan Minskerfree screening of Self Medicated: a film about art is taking place on June 26, 7PM, at Howl Happening Space (6 East 1st Street) in Manhattan. Minsker will be on site, handing out free fanzines

BOS2015 in 38 Polaroids: Day 2

Over the course of three days, photographer Nick McManus took 38 Polaroids of events happening throughout Bushwick Open Studios 2015. Below is a view of Saturday as seen through McManus’s lens. For a window into Friday, you have BOS2015 in 38 Polaroids: Day 1.

 

Day 2: Saturday

 

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Roberta’s Pizza Art Party at 6:15PM
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Kelly MacDonald performing at Bohemian Grove, 59 Jefferson St at 6:45PM
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BK WIldlife Nude Weekend Day 1 at 7:15PM
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Artist Miguel Ibarria with his mural at Holyrad at 7:30PM
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Artist Priscila De Caravalo with her mural at Holyrad at 7:35PM
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Artist Chris Mendoza with his painting at Holyrad at 7:45PM
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Artist Joseph Meloy with his painting at Livestream Public at 8:15PM
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Deathrow Tull performing at Pinebox Rock Shop at 10:45PM
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Dark Clouds Day 2 at Wise Man’s Garage at 11:30PM
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Lily Wolf performing at BK Wildlife’s Short Shorts Party at Secret Loft at 12:30AM

 

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The magic continues. Just as BOS spans Friday–Sunday, we have three days of McManus polaroids; keep reading with “BOS2015 in 38 Polaroids: Day 3”

 

Nick McManus is a group photographer based in New York. If you have any get-togethers you’d like memorialized in Polaroid, please contact McManus at peacenick@hotmail.com

 

Setting the Stage: Seeking Space and the Official BOS Launch Party

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Around the bar at Seeking Space/Official Launch Party; image by Willow Goldstein

After a winter that lasted way too long, people were ready to shed some layers and celebrate. The Arts in Bushwick–curated group show of Bushwick Open Studios, Seeking Space, provided a worthwhile reason to do just that. This year was the sixth installment of the group show held over BOS weekend. Continuing a tradition started in 2014, Seeking Space opened in conjunction with the Official Launch Party for BOS.

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Installing the Seeking Space exhibition; image by Catherine Kirkpatrick

Inclusiveness was the overarching theme. Submissions for the exhibition were received from an open call broadcast through the AiB website. The Seeking Space committee selected artworks with the aim of showcasing the diversity of media and meaning at play within the Bushwick arts community. The only unqualified criterion for participation was that each artist must have a clear connection to Bushwick: She must reside in or her studio must be located within the neighborhood. Though not a requirement, most of the selected artists were also opening their studios for BOS15.

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Seeking Space opening night at Be Electric; image by Willow Goldstein

Hosting the exhibit was Be Electric Studios, which provided a professional yet welcoming environment. The chosen artworks hugged the perimeter of Be Electric, with some larger-scale sculptures occupying the center of the venue. The final arrangement seemed to form a gradient of color, visible when you looked at the full space. The rainbow of styles on display prompted close inspection of individual artworks, encouraging visitors to examine each piece.

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Waiting for a turn at the Bosco; image by Willow Goldstein

As the night wore on, a steady stream of people composing an abundant crowd filtered in for the Launch Party. As though realizing the party was wherever people found themselves, the mood remained festive, even as the line to enter Be Electric increased. Once inside, people gravitated to all four corners of the venue. On the upper floor, people were visibly animated, as they made .gifs in the Tumblr/The Bosco Photo Booth, many of them using BOS/Tumblr bandanas as props.

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Seeking Space from above; image by Willow Goldstein

With the music increasing, the energy that would propel visitors and artists through the weekend was clearly palpable. As you walked through the party, you could hear artists talking about their work and groups of people planning their strategy for what to see over the weekend. Another popular topic of conversation was the 40-ounce fountain sculpture in the middle of the room near the DJ booth. Topping the night, artist Nick McManus showed up to take one of his classic Polaroid group portraits. Overall, Seeking Space well complemented the Official BOS Launch Party, setting the stage for both art and community that would hold court for the next couple days during BOS15.

 

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Special thanks to our official BOS 2015 sponsors Tumblr and Be Electric, which also provided the space for Seeking Space and the Official Launch Party. Thanks also to David KissNSRMax AugustHousing Corp,  and dgro for the great music throughout the night. Bar provided by Pine Box Rock Shop. Beer from The Brooklyn Brewery, with drinks and mixers from Bruce Cost Ginger Ale. Digital photo booth from the The Bosco

 

Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Spices It Up [BOS Sponsor]

Enjoying art and refreshments at the BOS15 Seeking Space/Launch Party
Enjoying art and refreshments at the BOS15 Seeking Space/Launch Party

Bruce Cost Ginger Ale‘s understated, but iconic bottles show up all around Brooklyn, in bodegas and natural food stores—and at the BOS Launch Party/Seeking Space Exhibition, for which this Arts in Bushwick partner provided refreshing non-alcoholic beverages to cool down our SUPER HOT party. If you’ve tried any of BCGA’s ginger ales, you know they are spicier and fresher than the average ginger ale. You may be less aware, however, that BCGA is a local Bushwick business, one with California roots.

The ginger ales; ©Bruce Cost Ginger Ale

Bruce Cost started making fresh ginger ale at his restaurant Monsoon in San Francisco in 1989. Extending across the California Bay Area, it became a staple at Cost’s Ginger Island in Berkeley and at Ginger Club in Palo Alto. In 1995, Cost moved to Chicago and continued making fresh ginger ale with his Big Bowl and Wow Bao restaurant groups. When he eventually reached the East Coast, Cost began bottling his product in New York City, first in East Williamsburg, then in Bushwick, home to BCGA for the past year.

 

BCGA was attracted to Bushwick both by great factory space and by the neighborhood’s community, which offers creativity and pride. The desire to support Bushwick pride led BCGA to collaborate with AiB for this year’s Bushwick Open Studios, which brings out the “music, art, and people” that led BCGA to Bushwick in the first place. More than just a soft drink producer, BCGA is excited to continue developing its nationally and internationally known artisanal product in Bushwick and to help out where it can.

BOS2015 in 38 Polaroids: Day 1

also by Willow Goldstein; all images by Nick McManus unless otherwise noted
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In the moment of a Nick McManus photoshoot; image by Willow Goldstein

Though it’s impossible to miss Nick McManus and Bill Tucci if you encounter them, they might miss you. They are often in and out the door in 15 minutes, as they document 10+ parties in one night. But if you were at any of the 38 events they hit over this past Bushwick Open Studios weekend, you would be sure to remember the exchange.

Living Gallery at 6:30PM
Living Gallery at 6:30PM
Finding yourself in a photo by McManus and Tucci is mostly about being in the right place at the right time, and the experience is wholly unique. Imagine being herded into an area with 100 or more strangers, squeezing in as tight as you can. Then Tucci yells, “get closer, get lower, closeeeeer!” to which the crowd responds with a mixture of laughter and good-natured annoyance, followed by the shuffling of feet. But the on-location coordination between McManus and Tucci, the drummer of the Unstoppable Death Machines, is only half the battle. To keep to their tight schedule of one group portrait every half-hour, McManus finds his prearranged contact at each location as Tucci gathers the crowd, an act they’ve been doing for more than a decade since their teenage years. “Between my camera set up and figuring out the logistics of each shot, his [Tucci’s] efforts take a great load off me and allow us to document any situation with the excitement of old ensemble Hollywood musical,” says McManus.
Studio visit at Idea Tek Design (59 Jefferson St) at 7PM
Studio visit at Idea Tek Design (59 Jefferson St) at 7PM

Whereas art exhibitions at BOS are the main attraction and big promotional banners proclaim all the vending that follows, artists and those who care about art are what make this a true festival. Most of these portraits have art featured somewhere in the background and finding that framing is essential. Once gathered, the final check is to ensure that all the smiling folks can actually be seen through the lens instead of being hidden behind or shadowed by those next to whom they were squeezed.

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Mural on Central Avenue and George Street at 7:15PM

“At the last moment I would look all around to try to invite those that that thought watching the spectacle was as good as being a part of it, especially the other photographers who gave me the most ‘who me?’ expressions of the weekend,” says McManus describing his process. “I added my personal response to these looks to the big ‘thank you’ I made sure to give before I pushed the shutter each time.” In case your paths did not cross, this is what you would have heard from McManus, “Ok everyone, look up to the light, and make sure I can see your wonderful faces! Thank you [name of venue and/or featured artist], thank you Arts In Bushwick, and thank you guys most of all AND remember everyone—just because you have a camera doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get in front of one!”

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BK WIldlife Nude Weekend Day 1 at 7:30PM
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Brandon Sines Opening at Pine Box at 8PM
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NEWD Art Show opening featuring organizer Kibum Kim and Signal Gallery partner Kyle Jacques at 8:30PM
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Signature Piece Group Show at Cafe Edna in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (featuring group portraits by Nick McManus) at 9PM
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BOS Official Launch Party at Be Electric at 9:30PM
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Love Supreme performing for the grand opening at The Shop at 11PM
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Secret Project Audio Visual Salon at 11:30PM
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Dark Clouds opening at Wise Man’s Garage at 12AM
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Don Pablo Pedro opening at English Kills at 12:15AM
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Darcy of Tarot Society Birthday Rooftop Party on Stockholm Street at 1AM
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Meryl Meisler’s (not pictured) Sassy 70s book premiere and exhibit at Bizarre at 1:45AM

 

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The magic continues. Just as BOS spans Friday–Sunday, we have three days of McManus polaroids; keep reading with “BOS2015 in 38 Polaroids: Day 2

 

Nick McManus is a group photographer based in New York. If you have any get-togethers you’d like memorialized in Polaroid, please contact him at peacenick@hotmail.com

 

Tumblr Launches into Bushwick with #BOS15 [BOS Sponsor]

We (and the neighborhood) are still winding down from this past weekend’s Bushwick Open Studios. While absorbing all that has transpired, we found time this week to chat with Valentine Uhovski, Fashion & Art Evangelist for our sponsor Tumblr, about his team’s BOS experience. As you may recall, Tumblr partnered with Arts in Bushwick for our Launch Party/Seeking Space Exhibition.

Entering Seeking Space; image courtesy of Preseley Ann for Patrick McMullan

A Brooklyn resident, Uhovski has been coming to BOS for the past five years. A large number of Tumblr staffers also live in Bushwick, so the company has close personal ties to the community and really enjoys the opportunity BOS provides to connect with and learn more about its neighbors. Uhovski notes, “It felt like a wonderful opportunity to finally help to centralize that energy and meet some of the artists we’ve been following and loving for years.”

 

In recent years, Tumblr has been actively reaching out to work with art events across the world—from Art Basel in Miami to the recent Venice Biennale. The site’s openness and flexibility enable it both to highlight the work of established artists and to celebrate young and emerging talent. Its visually driven nature makes it a perfect showcase for art—and art events. You can find a wealth of amazing images from the weekend under BOS hashtags.

Launch party in full swing
BOS 2015 Launch Party in full swing

This year, Tumblr dedicated its Radar feature (which showcases individual posts in users’ dashboards) to showcasing local Bushwick artists and Seeking Space exhibitors for most of the BOS weekend: This “love letter to an art event” was the first of its kind and was inspired by the company’s connections to and excitement about the energy and art coming out of our neighborhood. That energy was palpable and contagious at the opening of the Seeking Space exhibition, which drew hundreds of amazing artists, Tumblr creators, and art lovers into one happy space at Be Electric. Uhovski and other Tumblr staffers stayed around to explore all weekend and to enjoy the “great performance art showcases on Morgan Avenue” and “the excitement [that you could feel] as far away as East Williamsburg.”

Valentine photo booths it up! (credit - The Bosco)
Valentine Uhovski photo booths it up! (credit – The Bosco)

Given its connections and commitment to the neighborhood, Tumblr sees its role in Bushwick and BOS as evangelical: The site has evolved and grown to more than 240 million blogs worldwide. With such range, Tumblr also sees its platform as a perfect way to spread awareness of Bushwick artists’ work and the access BOS provides them to Web users and art lovers beyond Brooklyn. The team at Tumblr is excited to work in the community to bring “even more art world love and visibility” to its artists.

 

As one of Tumblr’s main contributions to the Launch Party, they were also kind enough to help run an awesome GIF booth along with photo booth company The Bosco in a loft overlooking the main festivities. If you made it out to the party and passed through the booth, check out The Bosco’s event page and find yourself. Then, share your antics on Tumblr!