Jun 6, 2009

Video Art Salon - Check Out Anti-Oxidant!

©Lauren Silberman

For this weekend only Anti-Oxidant BK will do a two day screening in the Den at Northeast Kingdom. There will be video art screenings all day long this Saturday and Sunday. Stop in for a refreshing break and view some fantastic work from your local Bushwick video artists!

The Northeast Kingdom
18 Wycoff
Corner of Troutman and Wycoff
Bushwick, BK


Lindsay Benedict
Through film, performance, and various media Lindsay Benedict presents us with fragments and gestures that examine and question social relations. In her work, affect and raw emotion are often deployed to disrupt and destabilize any simple reading of human connections. A wide ranging temporality, from more deliberate and slowly conceived films and sewn texts to the more immediately gestural drawings allow a dense layering of material and narrative to unravel and intertwine simultaneously.

Christina Medina

Armed with a ten-year-old's imagination, I am dreamer by nature and prefer to wonder what the world would be like upside down. My motivation is derived from an examination of my own childhood memories, longings, aspirations, and beliefs. I would like to wake the dormant dreams we left behind with our dolls and toy cars. Teetering between a need for financial security and living a life of adventurous exploration of my heart’s desires, I remain a believer in truth, beauty, but most importantly LOVE.

Jake Selvidio

I have been making short, documentary-style videos for five years. They have become a collective autobiography that encompasses my friends, family and past relationships. I studied photography and video at Pratt Institute, where I received my MFA.

Hypa Skopitz
Hyla Skopitz grew up with a giant papier maché hot dog on the mantle and a rubber bat hanging from the chandelier. She naturally developed an eye for detail and ironic juxtapositions. As a teenager, she began documenting the endless shelves and cubbyholes filled with miscellaneous screws and bolts, coils of wires covered in cobwebs, and arcane gadgets in various states of disrepair that her grandfather, a child of the depression, had collected in secret basement rooms. Her photographs and videos continue to investigate familial relics, nostalgia, and sentimentality. They oscillate between diaristic and documentary, emotional and objective, the present and memory. She received her masters of fine arts at ICP-Bard. She currently works in the MET Museum Photo Studio and lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her most recent photographs are featured in the next "Abe’s Penny" (Volume 1.4, June).

Lauren Silberman
Lauren Silberman received her BA from Barnard College and her MFA from Bard College and currently resides in Brooklyn. She is a visiting scholar at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and is the recipient of awards from PDN. She has performed at Location One and Deitch Projects, as well as in the several underground events and venues that have provided inspiration for her work. She is a founder of the performance group Fakework and she utilizes photography, video, performance, and objects in her work.

Julie Hanus

Joy Whalen
Receiving her BFA from Columbia College Chicago in 2005 and MFA from Pratt Institute in 2007, Joy’s practice involves a combination of drawing, performance and video. Much of this work involves environmental depictions of a nether land, which fluctuates in a space caught within the tensions of a preceding and ensuing state of change, where industrial overthrow and urbanization are challenged by resilience of the natural world.

Jun 5, 2009

Interview with Jill Sigman from Jill Sigman/Think Dance

Okay so all you folks up late, trying to figure out what you’re going to see at Bushwick Open Studios tomorrow and Sunday…or if you’re reading this on Saturday and maybe even Sunday Jill Sigman is a must see. It’s very refreshing to have someone like her in our hood. Ever feel like if you’ve seen one dance performance you’ve seen ‘em all? Well not with this girl! I don’t know about y’all but I’m keeping my eye on her because she’s riding this crazy wave that’s bringing dance, performance art and mixed media into a “post apocalyptic landscape” called now and the future.

Jill Sigman is a choreographer and mixed media artist who is trained in classical ballet with a background in Analytic Philosophy. Over the years she drifted into modern dance and eventually created her own sort of idiosyncratic way of moving. She founded her company, Jill Sigman/Think Dance about 10 years ago. Her recent work involves lots of layering of video, live music, text, objects and any other things that enhance the meaning of her work. She aims to create work that helps people to think about things that are going on in the world; that are immediate and of pressing concern. Sigman started working in her space (right across from Archive Cafe) about a year and a half ago. Although her studio is a visual arts studio and not a movement studio she finds lots of value in it because she feel likes the visual artists who share her space definitely help inform her work.

Jill; Brooklyn born and raised finds it ironic that while she moved away from Brooklyn to get away from the nest, all of her friends over the past few years have moved here. Sigman wholeheartedly believes in the borough and is attached to the culture and messiness of it (Bushwick specifically); however she understands that a big reason why several artists are here is because of economics.

Sigman found out about Open Studios through Arts in Bushwick’s fabulous marketing and promoting. For her first BOS performance Jill had an open rehearsal and she put up some videos and photos. This performance actually made her realize how much of a gift BOS is to the artists in this community. It happened that the week after the BOS show she was having a performance and because of her involvement in Open Studios several people who’d seen her work the week prior returned to see more.

For this year’s Open Studios Sigman will be showing movement scores created through inspiration of recent found objects, that she later manipulated in various ways. One of her colleagues described some of these objects as, “post apocalyptical emotional packages.” These movement scores will also be part of the exchange that she is doing as part of Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City. Sigman says that the project with MRX Austria is very fitting at this time; when she found out the central theme that she would be working with for this weekend would be about the balance of hope and despair, she felt like it was the direction she was already going in with her work that she is currently focusing on. With this piece (which is completely experimental) Sigman is playing with the idea of the body: body politic, geographic body, body of Brooklyn, human body etc. So she is covering her own body with moss, purified water packets amongst other objects and like a “refugee she is searching for the place where it’s all ok, where she can put down all her stuff and find roots again.” Expect to see this performance Saturday and Sunday around 4pm—there will be an installation of objects up both Saturday and Sunday from 2-6pm.

Jill would like to say great job to Arts in Bushwick! The work that AIB is doing has allowed her to experiment in ways that she normally wouldn’t have. She has been able to depart from her normal way of production and truly experiment.

“It is very liberating as a movement artist, in this context [Open Studios]...People are looking from a different perspective. And it’s refreshing that when I put up my visuals people find value in that and I don’t always have to be dancing when people come to the studio. In the dance world/community generally people tend to look at mixed media art and they have a hard time having things occupy two boxes at once. The people who come through are part of the contemporary media culture. Arts in Bushwick has convinced me that you can do things here and there will be an audience for it.”Jill Sigman

Some BOS Press from L Magazine!

©Aurora Robson

L Magazine Article:

Escaping from the Art Market
by Benjamin Sutton

The world’s oldest art fair, the Venice Biennale, opens its gilded doors on Sunday for the 53rd time since 1894, but here in Brooklyn another centuries-old art tradition continues with the weekend-long Bushwick Open Studios and Arts Festival (BOS). Where the former is a vaguely nationalist canonizing ceremony for participating countries’ top artists, the not-for-profit arts festival in Bushwick conforms nearly perfectly to our romantic fantasies about what an arts community ought to be. In other words, these two huge events are pretty nearly opposite extremes on the spectrum between art-for-profit and art-for-art’s sake. We all know what happened to Soho, though, so how realistic is it to idolize New York’s newest pioneering art community as the antithesis of commercial art?

“I hope that Bushwick will remain sustainable and resist transforming into a commercial market for art speculators, developers, and moguls,” Steve Weintraub, co-founder of Arts in Bushwick (AIB), the non-hierarchical, all-volunteer group that has organized the BOS since 2006, explained via-email. Weintraub – who holds degrees from Oberlin and NYU and manages a gallery in Chelsea – doesn’t exactly fit with the starving bohemian paradigm. Unlike many members of AIB, Weintraub doesn’t produce art either. “I am not an artist in the traditional sense,” he notes, “although I am a major arts supporter!” Still, part of what has set Bushwick apart from art districts in Manhattan and even its northern neighbor Williamsburg is that its appeal comes from the community it fosters rather than the commercial interest it attracts.

That’s not to say that artists in Bushwick don’t sell their work, but that they don’t absolutely need to do so in order to keep working. As Chloë Bass, who works on AIB’s performance art and community-oriented projects, put it: “our goal is for Bushwick to develop as a sustainable community.” That doesn’t mean becoming urban farmers – although, presumably, that would jive nicely with the neighborhood’s image – simply that its artists want to be able to complete their projects without depending on external cash. “We’re entirely financed by support from local businesses and donations,” Bass pointed out, “and we’ve never applied for a grant.”

Of course, the turnover time between when an arts community claims to be a creative not-for-profit group and the day it turns into a commercial gallery district is getting shorter every decade, so stubbornly claiming that that won’t happen seems, well, a little naïve. “I think we’re slowly moving away from a DIY model,” Bass conceded, “towards a more formal organization that doesn’t depend on an all-volunteer workforce.” Still, she and Weintraub see this as the Bushwick art scene’s greatest strength. “It’s something of a self-selecting group,” Bass continues, “you only get as much from it as you’re willing to put in, and ultimately only the most passionate people stick around.” Weintraub echoes the sentiment: “If we all work together, we can achieve something larger than the small projects we would have realized separately.”

Bushwick’s self-feeding goal might have become slightly more viable with the recession, too. Other arts districts where galleries have to pay steep rents are seeing new “For Rent” signs popping up every week, but, as a trip to craigslist will show you, space in Bushwick is still relatively cheap. “Bushwick has become a place where artists can afford to both live and work,” Weintraub writes, “In this respect, the recession is a positive thing, as it will help to slow the rampant growth of the neighborhood and keep rental prices affordable.” It’s not just artists dealing with rising rents, of course.

Bushwick’s dramatic turnaround from a desolate urban war zone in 1990 to a rising working-class neighborhood and long shot yuppie outpost at the beginning of the aughts has engendered a not always smooth gentrification process. “We are working with local community leaders,” Weintraub writes, “to make sure that longtime residents and the more recent artist community can aid each other as we both grow together.” If that sounds like code for “Bushwick hipsters are trying to be a little more sensitive to the locals whose rents they’re raising than their Williamsburg counterparts,” well, that’s pretty accurate. Still, Bushwick has managed to remain fairly affordable and wild – Gawker listed it as “Marginal” on their degentrification map.

So what does this all mean for the art you’ll see at the BOS this weekend? Well, lots of collaborative projects by artists living and working in shared spaces. “When the artists choose to open up their studios,” Weintraub points out, “they are opening up their lives for the public to walk into to, literally, as their studio is often their living room or bedroom.” Expect a fair share of big, ambitious, rough around the edges installations, sculptures, drawings, videos, performances and paintings with politicized and radical agendas, like Aurora Robson’s trippy, bug-like, mobile sculptures made from plastic bottles (pictured).

As Bass notes: “We try to always go as big as possible, branching out in all directions. We’re very much into spectacles.” And those don’t only take the form of visual art. There will be a mini-golf course, dance, theater, screenings, sample sales, readings and receptions. For her part, Bass will be participating in a cabaret performance she’s organized at Starr Space (108-110 Starr St) on Saturday night (7:40pm, $5 suggested donation). It may have been programmed more loosely than its corporate Venetian antithesis, but the BOS has all the breadth and variety of a major art fair.

For a full schedule and map of the BOS events and exhibitions taking place throughout Bushwick today through Sunday, click here.

Palmetto A.I.R.

So no, Visual Arts is not my forte' but, I had to post something about this really cool space right down the street from my apartment called Palmetto A.I.R. Palmetto A.I.R is an artist studio located at 130 Palmetto in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Just yesterday I met with Diane Smith one of the artists of the Palmetto A.I.R collective. Palmetto A.I.R is located in a commercial building (which also houses a wicker furniture manufacturer) with the entire 3rd floor dedicated to the artist gallery. According to Diane most of the group has been there for eleven years and everyone else has been there no less than five years.

Diane Smith (and yes that is her real name) is a very interesting gal. Smith is a performance/visual artists working primarily in video and performance. For BOS weekend Diane will be, “putting herself in an outlandish look in an ordinary setting.” She showed me this very cool looking alien mask that she made herself which she will be wearing with a fur coat for her performance piece. Most of her video installations involve this alien character. Her recent work involves lots of editing, abstracting and modifying of video.

Diane is from Pittsburgh, PA and came upon Bushwick, BK in a very interesting way. Back in ’97 she was just finishing grad school at Southern Illinois at Carbondale when she and her boyfriend at the time decided to pack up and move to New York. Diane knew very little about New York City and just before her and her boo hit the road they found out about a sublet in Bushwick (site unseen) and decided to throw caution to the wind and rent out the space regardless of conditions. Hey they needed somewhere to go; they had little money and no other temporary options for housing. Nonetheless, they came to the space, set up shop and the rest is history!

So a little bit about the other artists who will be presenting at Palmetto A.I.R…

Deirdre Synek will be showing some very meticulous watercolors of skinned rabbits.

Karin Minkin will be showing some two dimensional digitally generated works.

Shawn Kelloway will be showing some of his super toxic plastic medium with casting and color.

Jamie a jewelry designer will be showing some of her recent designs.

Edgar Lituma who is huge into surf boards will be showing some video of paddle boarding (fyi-Diane says this should be pretty cool-for all of you who’ve never seen paddleboarding it can look a bit grim reaper-ish like paddling into the darkside but cool nonetheless)

Sean-Michael Fleming (who is also a big community activist – yay Sean!) will primarily be manning the Art Circus happening on Sunday from noon-6pm. The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus will be involved and it sounds like it should be a really good time!

Chris Hicks (who was a SVA faculty member for quite some time) will be showing some of his small water colors.

Plus 5 other artists will be showing some video installations specially for Bushwick Open Studios. This Video Forum will be happening on Saturday, June 6 from 9-10pm. Artists participating in the Video Forum are Jeb Banegas, Matt Hayes, Joe Nanashe, Diane Smith, James Thatcher, Marina Zamalin and IVVVI.

FYI Palmetto A.I.R. is still looking for volunteers for their video forum. Help ‘em out there maybe a cool popcorn machine with free popcorn involved.

If you wanna check Palmetto A.I.R for yourself visit their website here

Jun 4, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Cibele Vieira

**Cibele Vieira be showing her work at 119 Ingraham St., #207**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Brazil and have been living in the US for 11 years (7 years in NYC + 4 years in Ann Arbor, Michigan). I left Brazil to discover new things, to study, to grow and then found my home in New York.

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

I’m showing a project called “Senseless”, in which I get knick-knacks from the dollar store, spray paint them white and then photograph them. It’s what in photography we called ‘high key’ because it accentuates the white in an image. Using the whiteness, camera angles and depth of focus I explore the properties that the image has in suggesting new meanings for things.

What inspired this project?

This project started as an organic response to my personal life, which has been quite shaken this past year. I lost my dad to cancer after the long and brutal battle of someone who would not accept the end of his existence. The economic downturn hit me hard when I was not prepared. As a result, I confined myself to my studio searching for a new project as a way to reconcile my new reality. Things looked the same but did not mean the same. I found that by painting those cheap objects white I could in some way translate the ruptures in my life into my work - work that has always been full of color.

Any plans in the works?

I think this project has more to give me. I’m imagining playing with combinations of objects that might suggest narrative. But it’s too early - let’s not spoil it.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

In 2006 I lived in a house in Bushwick with a backyard and I loved it. I’m living in Greenpoint now but have my studio in Bushwick. What is great about it is that there are colleagues all around to motivate, inspire and nurture the work - which makes easier to keep producing art in these tough times.

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

Yes, I think everybody should check the show Fortress to Solitude this festival weekend - some very interesting work is going to be shown there.

Thank you Cibele!

To learn more about Cibele's art practice, check out her website.

Jun 3, 2009

Lumenhouse Exhibition: Our House

©Sara Hubbs

©Matthew Brownell

©Megan Hays

©Stephen Workman

Don't miss the exhibition at Lumenhouse during the BOS Festival this weekend, featuring work by resident Lumenhouse artists Matthew Brownell, Megan Hays, Sara Hubbs, and Stephen Workman. Each artist will be present to discuss their work, and will have their studios open on-site as well where you can learn more about their art practice and view more work.

The opening celebration will run concurrent with Bushwick Open Studios on Saturday, June 6th from 12-7pm. Complimentary beverages from 5-7. This event is free and open to the public. Our House has been coordinated with BOS, and the gallery hours have been extended for Sunday, June 7th from 12-7.

For more information visit: www.lumenhouse.com or call 718.942.5395.

Our House
June 6 – July 5, 2009
Opening Saturday, June 6th, 12 - 7 pm

Location & Parking:

Lumenhouse exhibition space is located at 47 Beaver St., Brooklyn, NY 11206 at the corner of Park St. in East Williamsburg/Bushwick. LUMENHOUSE is 3 blocks from the J/M train Flushing Ave. Station. Visitors may park in front of the loading dock on Park St. nearest the corner of Beaver St.


Lumenhouse exhibition space is open from 12-5, Saturdays & Sundays. Weekdays by appointment.

About Lumenhouse:

"Lumenhouse is an emerging arts organization located in an old factory in an economically depressed neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is a collaboration between visual artist Aurora Robson and cinematographer Marshall Coles.

Since Lumenhouse’s inception, we have been focusing on providing an affordable, professional space for the creation and development of fine arts via art studios, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, photography, art documentation services, performance space, community forums and other cultural events. We have also been hosting a variety of community arts events including FluxConcert, The Brooklyn International Film Festival, The Bushwick Film Festival, Bushwick Open Studios Annual Benefits, SITE Performance Festival, LouderArts Poetry Slam, Community Forums, Artist Talks, and various art exhibitions.

We are currently working on transforming Lumenhouse into the first solar-powered multi-media, multi-use art space. Using solar power will help us achieve financial sustainability while raising environmental consciousness and exploring the potential of energy from the sun."

BOS Listings Available Online!

The partial BOS artist and event listings can now be viewed here! Check it out to see which artists are participating, learn more about their studio practice and get a first glimpse of their work. There are many exciting events and exhibitions listed as well. Artists and venues are still signing up, so be sure to check back regularly!