Bushwick Open Studios 2011

Bushwick Open Studios emerges from the art that always exists in Bushwick, the graffiti and public art, the installations both intentional and indeterminate, out of the garages of artist-run spaces and artist studios, the independent galleries, the pop-up shows and rooftop parties, and so on and so forth, and because of this, BOS in 2011 is still a de-hierarchized and completely free festival of everything from advertising students showing the logos they’ve designed and drinking PBR through  very well known art world personalities and artists sitting casually around their studios and spaces.  (emergence below)

We wandered all over, interested primarily in collaborations and performance, from NORTE MAAR to see the collaborative drawings and hear about the remaining Rooftop Dances that need to be attended!, through the studio of Meghan Keane, where we met the founders of Pillow Culture, artists coming together to make pillows based on U.S. pillow patents, until it was time to go to Grace Space, home to all performance as gory, glorious, and grim (needed another “g” world, mean that as a good thing) as performance can be. Marni Kotak had us write advice to her as an expecting mother, while cradling, nursing, and punishing dolls/stuffed animals, all bearing screenprinted photos of her own face at various ages, Quinn Dukes wore a large basket collar filled with flour as she dealt with boots and shoes full of coal, extracting lumps of coal from the tips of the shoes and sometimes pounding on them with a shoe heel, transferring water from a bowl, from boot to boot, kneeling in more flour behind a little can full of coals and fire, which she extinguished with a glob of water-flour dough, all tasks performed with concentration:

Anya Liftig entered in a black suit with black gloves on her feet, undressed, and performed the deceptively simple action of becoming a raw chicken, or comparing herself to a raw chicken, or playing with chickens (see, it’s just actually very complicated and somehow terribly “right” and descriptions only mess live performance up, I shouldn’t even be writing this post attempting to describe performances at all) but it definitely shook the audience up in a wide range of ways, from full laughter to gasps, and etc. One of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of Anya’s work is that it’s really theatrical, but I’m not sure what that means either…

Rebecca Jampol performed with a notepad, pen, chair, and a bucket of water, chewing and spitting out notes, writing them, at two points speaking out loud, and finally dunking her head in the bucket of water, followed by Meghan Van Alstyne, who rubbed salt on the lips of audience members, whispering into their ears, poured the sack of salt over her head, and then stuck syringes into her chest around her breastbone. She then fell allowed herself to fall backwards into the salt.

You really had to be there! I wish you had been there. While at Grace Space, we also had the opportunity to meet Vandana Jain and hear about her collaboration with Nina Morrison…here’s a recent Brooklyn Rail article about Grace Space and its history, founders, “aesthetic,” etc.

I’d go on and on but walking around Bushwick without consuming anything but beer all day has kind of worn me out…

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