For their 9th year, artists and galleries opened their doors to showcase some of the finest artists in Bushwick, New York. This concentrated area in Brooklyn, embodying several different neighborhoods, presented studio artists, street and public artists last weekend. Throughout the weekend, Bushwick’s famous street artists were seen taking over a multitude of public wall spaces and bringing their own designs to the forefront. The results were dynamic and further embraced the Bushwick art scene.
My visit began at Sugarlift’s Rooftop Party at 200 Morgan. This gathering included a small exhibition on the main floor, views of several street artists in process and free booze. Not a bad way to start a day of studio hopping. (Did I mention that there was a barbecue with pig heads?) The rooftop had a freshly painted installation by artists Rubin415. It was large and abstract with pastel colors and detailed line work woven throughout. The jazz band playing music made for the perfect soundtrack to a summer’s day watching artists at work. However, though comfortable and a bit quiet, this party was not in either of the major studio areas.
Visitors who entered the open studios from the Jefferson L stop were bombarded with mass crowds, bumping tunes and swarms of color highlighting the streets. It was complete chaos. The few warehouse and artist studios that were open to view were hidden amidst the swarm of bodies and many were disappointing in the work they showed.
Further from the Jefferson mayhem, the area surrounding the Morgan L stop presented smaller crowds and different bodies of work. While walking down graffiti covered streets, viewers were entranced by eccentric street performers next to the Bogart artist studios and a block party thrown by Roberta’s as well as street artists working meticulously on their designs.
Smack in between the middle of these two major areas, Brooklyn Fireproof definitely brought the cake to the party. Their studios were flooded with a vast array of colors and mediums. Julian Lorber’s collaged works on wood evoked Rothko-like emotions and illustrated depth-defying layers of color on wood. They were small but full of expression and a large breadth of color. Lenora Jayne, of “Outer Space,” showed a collection of love and heartbreak in her installation of year long screen shots documenting the manifestation and break of her long distance relationship with a man in Berlin. Though the text was especially small, the conversations building up to the formation and parting of her former relationship are striking and bold.
Among some other artists who exhibited exceptional works were Hazel Lee Santino, who showed a combination of small graphite portraits as well as large collaged paintings which popped from the canvas (literally), and Federico Solmi, whose multimedia installations contained animated features within painted frames.
One of my favorite artists to visit was Ad DeVille, whose studio at 1053 Flushing was hidden away from the chaos and definitely worth the sight. Large panels, bright colors and large text made for some retro sort of works with contemporary messages. Hanging in his bathroom was a panel of a bottle of soda with the words “No Sponsor” painted on top of it.