May 28, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Matt Jones

**Matt Jones will be showing his work at 505 Johnson Ave, #19**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Oh great! I grew up in a suburb of Rochester, New York, in a loving and supportive environment, played loads of baseball and video games, and drew pictures since I could hold a crayon. At some point I realized being an artist was a real possibility and started seriously studying and practicing. I was accepted to the Cooper Union, left for New York that fall (1998), and have lived here ever since. I've had a couple of solo exhibitions with the now defunct Buia Gallery here in New York and have had work in group shows in the city and around the country.
I'm really interested in presence, the infinite moments in any duration of time, the shifting understanding of things relative to those infinite moments, and our collective agreed upon understanding of reality, and the implications of all of that. The paintings and drawings I have been making for the last year are the contemplative exploration of these attitudes and ideas.

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

Space-paintings and spirit-paintings mostly.

What inspired this project?

Originally the space-paintings were started in response to an unfruitful critique taking place at the Yale/Norfolk Summer School of Painting (2001) I was in where things were said like "I'm really thinking about space, the space around objects ..." -- I felt alienated from such a discussion. It seemed academic and silly to me. Of course the paintings were about space. So, I went back to my little studio and made four or five space-paintings and the following day had a critique of these works and said something to the effect of "I'm really thinking about space, you know, like OUTER space ..." which was half true and caused a bit of a stir in the critique (some people knew what I was up to). I think a lot about outer space, but really my concerns were the same as the other guy, I was pushing around paint and trying to make something meaningful and, sure, I was serious about it too. I didn't think the discussion had to be so BORING though, devoid of content and all, the formal discussion, what was the painting about really? What was the content? Eight years later the content for my space-paintings has become clearer to me through various spiritual and meditative practices and studies I incorporate into my life. There needed to be a place, a specific point in the flow of infinite points in any space, for the spirits to inhabit. They needed to BE somewhere. So they're in space and it's scary and soothing simultaneously. I didn't want to put them there though, not overtly, I want them to want to go there -- or for us to think they'd want to go there, or to look at the possibility of this space being home for them, an extra-dimensional home that is all space, everywhere, all of the time.

The spirit-paintings came after studying about "the hungry ghost" at the Interdependence Project (on Bowery just north of Houston in the city). I thought, yes, this metaphor works, this insatiable desire machine. That's a facet of our existence, the wanting for whatever, love, hope, food, luxury goods, happiness -- mostly happiness. Then it developed further with some ideas I had played around with when I was taking some interdisciplinary classes at Cooper where we read a bunch of Deleuze (1000 Plateaus) that made me think a lot about agreed upon understandings of things and slight variations of reality which are then blown up into multiple dimensions and versions of people (presences) and how they've been labeled and talked about through time (mythology, stories, etc.). So, they continue to develop and now have a place to hang out (space-paintings). They're the big questions, you know? Who are we? How did we get here? What do we do?

Any plans in the works?

Oh yes! I was talking on the phone to my friend Mark Gibson and the idea occurred to me that I need to remake my favorite paintings I've made over the last ten years on 10 x 8" canvases and have an exhibition entitled "10 Years of Matt Jones: the Greatest Hits" or something like that. I'd re-scale all of these paintings I've made since deciding to become a painter in 1999 to the present moment. We joked about having a panel of close artist-friends discuss what the hell I've been doing these last ten years and take it really seriously, with an audience and what-not. It'd be very helpful I think.

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

From 2004 to 2006 I lived on Troutman Street between Knickerbocker and Wilson Avenues. To be honest the cheap rent drew me. My current studio is located on the fringe of Bushwick's northern most point, almost to East Williamsburg. After searching for a studio for a while with my friend Kadar Brock I hooked up with the Brooklyn Fireproof guys and took over a pretty raw space. It's the same studio I had dreamed of since coming to New York. I love it.

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

Wunder Kraft Haus at Master Kontrol, I don't think they're participating in anything for BOS this year, are pretty awesome. They live on Myrtle Ave under the M Train and have this whole future/80s/spiritual/sci-fi/high-energy/imaginative/amazing thing going on at their space and I've enjoyed them as colleagues and friends for the last two years immensely. Any time they have an event it's worth checking out. WKH's Patrick Groneman is one of the "spirits" I photographed to work on in my paintings and drawings and he initially introduced me to the Interdependence Project. They're an inspirational group of fellows.

Thank you Matt!

To learn more about Matt's art practice, check out his website.

May 27, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Jenny Vogel

**Jenny Vogel will be showing her work at 7 St. Nicholas Ave, 4th FL**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My work explores subjective themes as they are experienced in the age of information. I examine the anxiety of alienation, the desires of communication and a sense of be-longing in a virtual world. These traits, attributed to Romanticism, are dealt with in my work through the lenses of contemporary communication technology, the media and historical preconceptions. I am particularly interested in the depiction of the individual and individuality through media technology, with its resulting misrepresentations and miscommunications. Through this juxtaposition of technology and Romanticism I attempt to challenge the image of the Internet as the “global village,” objectivism in the news and the ideology of science.

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

I will be showing "Your Lips Are No Man's Land But Mine", a series of b & w portraits depicting people in front of their web cameras. There will also be examples of recently finished works on paper and whatever else I am working on at the moment.

What inspired this project?

"Your Lips Are No Man's Land But Mine" is a continuation of my interest in web cameras, and the sculpture-like presence of their users. With staring eyes and expressionless features, the portraits question modern technology's hyped communication tools, and renders its users as examples of a contemporary loneliness.

Any plans in the works?

I am currently collaborating on a performance with Fever Theater from Portland, OR. We are experimenting with a combination of live-webcamera streams, pre-recorded material and on-stage presence.

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

I actually don't live in Bushwick, but I like having my studio here. There is very little distraction once I get to my studio, at the same time many of my friends have studios in the neighborhood, so there is a sense of a community.

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

You should go see David McBride's paintings and collages (1182 Flushing Ave, 2nd Floor).

Thank you Jenny!

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

May 26, 2009

Tonight at the Brooklyn Museum of Art: Collecting in Brooklyn

Arts in Bushwick organizer Steve Weintraub will be speaking on a panel tonight at the Brooklyn Musueum, as part of the new Art Salon Series. Tonight's panel will be devoted to collecting artwork by Brooklyn artists! Details below:

"Collecting Currently is a new evening series on art collecting in the
fluctuating market for both the savvy and the curious. Enjoy a glass
of wine while conversing with and learning from curators, scholars,
dealers, consultants, and collectors.

Collecting in Brooklyn
Wednesday, May 27, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Familiarize yourself with the work of emerging Brooklyn artists and
develop insider strategies for art collecting. Moderated by András
Szántó, senior lecturer at Sotheby's Institute of Art and co-founder
of, the panel includes Danny Simmons, noted artist and collector; Joe Amrhein from Williamsburg's Pierogi Gallery; Steve Weintraub of Arts in Bushwick; and Jen Bekman of Jen Bekman Gallery and Jen Bekman Projects, Inc."

So you think you can dance in Bushwick?

Hey all my Bushwickans, Bushwickers--or whatever all you folks who reside in Bushwick, Brooklyn like to consider yourself—doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you hear about all the great things happening in Bushwick? Right on the heels of seeing this awesome clip on BRIC’s Community Media Page about Bushwick (with great interviews with some of our peeps from Arts in Bushwick). I sat down with Jane Gabriels from Chez Bushwick very, very early last Tuesday morning (8am to be exact) to discuss how Chez Bushwick will be involved in Bushwick Open Studios on the weekend of June 5-7.

So before I get down to the nitty gritty let me give you a bit of background info about Chez Bushwick. According to Gabriels, Jonah Bokaer, Founding Director of Chez Bushwick started out in Bushwick in 1999 then left for a brief period to come back in 2002 with a composer, Loren Dempster and Jeremy Wade. According to Chez Bushwick’s website the founding artists also include: Alex Escalante, Brennan Gerard, Meredith Glisson, Miguel Gutierrez, Ryan Kelly, Technopia and Ryan Tracy. As a collective they formed the space and did all of the construction within like building the walls that partition the space and make it both office space and dance space. Once opened they immediately began hosting performances. Gabriels actually recalls coming to a few of these shows back when Chez Bushwick first popped onto the scene. She remembers it taking a long time to get to Bushwick from Manhattan; however, once she arrived she was always surprised at the large turnout of people at the shows. The space was always packed with over 100 observers most times. She also remembers the high quality and uniqueness of the work.

Chez Bushwick is dedicated to presenting choreography that is edgy, new, and interdisciplinary. It has also become well known for garnering some pretty awesome relationships with international artists. Chez Bushwick boasts an 1176 sq. ft. studio that acts as a space for rehearsals, dance classes and performances. The space also has an abundance of natural light, hardwood floors and 12 ft. ceilings. The organization’s rental program is heavily subsidized by individual, government and foundation support in order to offer a rental rate of $5 an hour (pretty frickin' sweet!). Since February of this year performers and choreographers have been able to rent the studio at anytime; they have a key system set up with the Brooklyn Natural that allows the space to be available to renters 24 hours.

Jonah Bokaer

Bokaer recently completed a massive project with choreographer John Jasperse called, Center for Performance Research. Center for Performance Research is a newly constructed space located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn which is the first green/L.E.E.D. certified building of its kind in the borough. The bottom floor houses a small studio gallery space, a theater, office and community center; the top floors have been sold for use as condominiums. Bokaer and Jasperse worked with a developer to make it completely artist friendly (more importantly dance friendly there are no columns in the space to obstruct movement rehearsals…yay!). Bokaer adds to his amazing resume with yet another development called, CAPITAL B: Coalition of Art and Performance Initiatives Towards a Livable Bushwick. Basically, Capital B is just what its name describes it as. Chez Bushwick is partnering with several organizations in the community: non-profit, small business, arts-based as well as with local residents to create economic development solutions for urban revitalization. And yes this is where Arts in Bushwick comes in—Arts in Bushwick is one of the coalition organizers for Capital B. The Capital B project is funded by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

So now for the juice…

During the weekend of Bushwick Open Studios the Austrian Cultural Forum (NYC) in partnership with Movement Research and Tanzquartier Wien will be presenting, “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue.” The production consists of eight artist groups and two theorists from both NYC and Austria, who have come together to exchange and share movement ideas about the future of the arts in relation to the global economic crisis. These groups of artists will be performing in several locations throughout Bushwick with Chez Bushwick being the starting location. Folks interested in viewing this amazing-sounding performance should arrive at Chez Bushwick on Saturday, June 6 at 12:00pm. Showings of the work will continue until 8pm at various locations throughout Bushwick including: The Border, BRAZIL and outdoor sites. “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue” began in 2008 as part of the Transversality Lab (TVL).

Re-Imagining Utopia Schedule Details
12:00pm Melinda Ring and Ann Liv Young @ Chez Bushwick. 1:30 Doris Uhlich & Andrea Salzmann and Cabula6 (Jeremy Xido and Claudia Heu) @ outdoor sites. Audience meets in front of Chez Bushwick and will be guided to the outdoor sites in Bushwick. 4:00pm Jill Sigman, Jenn Joy and Anette Baldauf @ The Border. 6:00pm Philipp Gehmacher & Vladimir Miller installation and Eagle Ager & united sorry (Frans Poelstra & Robert Steijn) @ BRAZIL. For more information about the project follow this link

My next interview will be with Jill Sigman from Think Dance who will also be a participating artist of “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue.” I’m excited!
Stay tuned…

May 23, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Katie Cercone

**Katie Cercone will be showing her work at 88 Starr Street, #3L**

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

I just returned from a one-month residency in La Plata, Buenos Aires and I will be showing a series of collages I made there. The series is named Botánica Azúcar (Botánica Sugar) to connote the small store common in Latin America (and Bushwick!) known for its magical or alternative medicine, and explores the creative deterritorialization of women and birds. I am working from two texts by Australian Feminist Elizabeth Grosz (Chaos, Territory, Art 2008 and Volatile Bodies 1994). The collages are representative of my visual conception of “ the refrain,” what Grosz, expanding upon work by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri, characterizes as the bird’s demarcation of territory though melody and rhythms, routine gestures, bows and dips, her nest, her clearing, her audience of rivals and desired ones. The refrain is the bird’s chief means of creating a home and circle of control, and paradoxically, her line of flight to the outside. Creativity, envisioned as a flight line, is a vital means of escape from a territory that has ceased to be of healthful benefit. I used all material I found in La Plata, and most of the imagery came from these incredibly scary textbooks I picked up for a few pesos each at el Ejercito de Salvacion titled “Ser Mujer” (Being a Woman). The pictures are so disturbing and marvelous. I also started translating some of the text and want to make a zine in English and Spanish.

What inspired this project?

This project is really personal, it’s a sort of talisman for my own physical, emotional and mental health and a product of my increasingly disenchanted view of our medical model in the U.S. Botánica Azúcar is a narrative critique of the contemporary female condition suggesting that women, like birds, always hover at the edge of breaking free. Female bodies fall prey to particular types of constructed habitats and desires. Domesticated and falsely stratified, particularly by capitalism working in collusion with medical authority, acculturation cripples female energetic capacity that is by nature, a flow. Whereas bodies should be, “sufficiently rich for the passage of intensities,” I find most of us these days are blocked; we are caught in a cycle of withdrawal. Ultimately I wanted to urge others to take a look at their own personal circle of control, rooting out what is foreign and has somehow become naturalized.

Any plans in the works?

I am getting my masters at SVA this fall – I am hoping that’ll be just the kick in the pants I need to make some massive work. Right now I see myself expanding on these same themes, and reading the rest of Grosz’s writing. I also made an installation for Botánica Azúcar that I wasn’t totally happy with. I’d like to maybe make something bigger, turning this into a more long term project.

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

I have lived in Bushwick for three years now. I originally came because I knew it was cheap and full of artists. One of my first experiences with Bushwick was an open studio I did a couple of years ago with BOS. That was back when I was even more naïve about the art word and looking back, feel like I had much more of a sense of freedom to just work regardless of the outcome. BOS was much smaller than and only a handful of my friends came and saw this installation I had spent months building literally in my bed for lack of space. What ultimately happened was I sent some photos to a non-profit gallery in D.C. and ended up curating a show for them. The second time I did something for Beta Spaces I was amazed to see over a hundred people go through my house, people of all ages and sizes. It made me so happy to live in Bushwick and be a part of a community that to a certain extent exists above and beyond the elitism of the commercial art world. I think because of its relative affordability and location Bushwick has created sort of a hotbed for young artists to collaborate and make work on their own terms. That is, until Paper Magazine destroyed us with that stupid fashion shoot! Notoriety is a double-edged sword.

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

Probably not any that you aren’t aware of – I live right next to Starr Space and they do good things. To be honest I wish I got out in the neighborhood more. One thing I didn’t miss during my residency was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to make art, work, see friends and attend the endless stream of cultural events in New York.

Thank you Katie!

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

May 21, 2009

Interview with BOS Artist: Gina Beavers

**Gina Beavers will be showing her work at 1 Grattan Street, #215**

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

I'm going to be showing paintings and prints from the last 6 months or so. I'll also have some photocopy prints for sale, super cheap!

What inspired this work?

My work is ultimately autobiographical, with a sprinkling of 'painting about painting' thrown in. The images are ones that I come across in my day to day life. The pieces I'm showing are based on images I have glanced in the background of a SciFi movie, on google and in old nature magazines.

Any plans in the works?

I'm going to be starting some larger scale works based on things I saw recently on a trip to the mountains in Appalachia, as well as wrapping up some ideas based on fabrics. I'm also hoping to experiment with some screenprinting this summer.

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

I've had a studio in Bushwick since the summer of 2006. When I first came out to look at the space, I was kind of shocked at how much was going on. There definitely seemed to be something exciting brewing that was unique to Bushwick. It seemed like out of this kind of Industrial wasteland, a vital creative scene was rising and I wanted to be a part of it..

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

So many great artists live or work in Bushwick, that its difficult, I can't begin to cover them all! I haven't seen the full list of who's participating yet, but Pocket Utopia does really interesting, cool things as does English Kills down the street. I would also check out the open studios at Lumenhouse, Megan Hays and Sara Hubbs do really inventive, exciting stuff with found materials. Also, Starr Space is awesome!. They do great shows and have excellent DJS and dancing!!

Thank you Gina!

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

May 20, 2009

Preview & Art Sale Tonight at Lumenhouse

©Rafael Fuchs
©Reid Bingham
©Sara Hubbs

DONT MISS tonight's preview and art sale benefiting Arts in Bushwick! All work is priced to sell: $50 - $200. Check out the full list of participating artists HERE.

This is a great chance to hang out with the artists, preview the open studios & snag some great art for yourself. Featuring donated works by BOS artists. This is a CASH OR CHECK ONLY event, no credit cards accepted. Sponsored by SOHO Art Materials.

BOS Preview & Art Sale
Thursday, May 21, 7:30-10pm
47 Beaver Street at Park
(L to Morgan, M to Flushing)

May 2, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Gregg Evans

**Gregg Evans will be showing his work at 175 Troutman St, #3R, alongside artist Christina Aceto**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I graduated from Purchase College in 2005 with a degree in photography, and have been making zines, printing for group shows and spending too much money on records and photo books ever since. I grew up in Orange County, New York, and have lived in Greenpoint, Long Island City and Bushwick since officially moving to New York in 2005. I've called Bushwick my home for the past 2 years, and am still mourning the loss of Mackenzie Color. I'll be showing work with my friend Christina Aceto, who also went to Purchase for Photography.

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's Open Studios and Art Festival?

I'll be showing work from a series I've been shooting for the past year called Lucy Said: 'I don't get it.' And I said: 'Word'. For the project I've been photographing the basketball court and public park outside of my apartment from my bedroom/studio windows, focusing mainly on groups of people isolated from the larger crowds that gather in the park or on the streets. I'm interested in the sense of isolation one feels from the subjects in the images, and what that isolation means in terms of the gaze of the photographer and viewer. What does it mean to observe? Are we aiding in the neighborhood, as if an older person watching out for the neighbors, or are we imposing on the people in the space below?

What inspired this project?

Around the same time I began the project I started working for a well known nightlife and event photographer. Looking at the images he produces, one gets the feeling that you're looking through the eyes of someone who is part of the party, as if you're someone hanging out in the crowd. There's alot of photography out there that is intended to give a sense of intimacy through that kind of fly on the wall approach, which I think is sort of contrary to the nature of photography. I've always felt like the camera isolates you from the world around you instead of bringing you closer to it. I was watching Rear Window one night and was struck by how isolated Jimmy Stewart's character was from the people he shared his backyard with, and realized that must be a pretty common situation in many neighborhoods throughout New York. I think think the project escalated pretty quickly from that starting point, and I began to focus on the changing daily life that unfolded in front of me. It's become a bit of an obsession.

Any plans in the works?

My parents are moving away from the area I grew up in come June, so at the moment I'm photographing all of the things I've collected throughout the years that have remained at their house in the time they've been there. It's something that is still in it's very initial stages, but I'm really interested in work like Larry Sultan's Pictures From Home, Mitch Epstein's Family Business, and my friend Ryan Pfluger's project Not Without My Father right now. I think their work is great, though I work in a very different manner than all of them, so we'll see where things take me.

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

I've lived in Bushwick for 2 years. I was initially attracted to the super cheap rent and the proximity to my old darkroom, Mackenzie Color (rip), but I've really enjoyed the massive sense of community throughout the neighborhood. Everything seems possible here in a way that it doesn't in other neighborhoods.

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

I LOVE Pocket Utopia on Flushing Ave & Morgan, and will be sad to see it go when they're programming ends. I hate to say it, but I don't go out enough in Bushwick, I'm a workaholic. As far as artists, my friend Stephen Truax makes some really beautiful paintings, as does Andrew McNay, who had a booth at the GEISAI art fair in Miami with me this past December. I like Carrie Villine's project Member's Only alot (and own one!), she was also at GEISAI and lives pretty close by. Also, though he doesn't really live in Bushwick technically, my friend Ryan Pfluger makes some really great photographs that everyone should check out.

Thank you Gregg!

To learn more about Gregg's art practice, check out his website and blog.