Good Questions (From) All Over: Open Studios at ISCP

ISCP artist Sara Eliassen discussing her video work with David Helbich, an artist in residence at Residency Unlimited. Photo by Paul D'Agostino.

Situated quite advantageously between Williamsburg and Bushwick, more or less, The International Studio & Curatorial Program, more commonly known as the ISCP, is a wonderful resource for artists from anywhere—from abroad as well as from the United States, that is, or even already based in NYC—who’d like to spend some focused time honing their craft in Brooklyn. From its studio spaces of variable sizes and sorts to its exhibition rooms and common areas, the ISCP is a very well appointed locale, and it is currently the presumably primary locus of operation for a broadly talented group of about three dozen artists and curators, most of them hailing from Europe and the US.

The ISCP held its fall Open Studios event last weekend, and it was a packed house on many levels: packed with scores of practicing artists and curators, packed with hundreds of curious visitors, and packed with a great deal of truly engaging artwork. While somewhat large, let’s say fairly difficultly storable or transportable sculptures, paintings and installations aren’t necessarily the most common kinds of work to be produced by artists who will only be in a given studio space for a matter of months, there were still plenty such pieces to be found—which was a slightly surprising yet most welcome discovery.

A somewhat less surprising—in a good way—and no less welcome discovery was that a significant share of the current residents at ISCP are making artwork related in various ways to environmental issues local and global. Of particular note among the works by artists and curators working in such contexts—e.g. Naomi Campbell, Aviva Rahmani, Donald Hai Phú Daedalus, Carl Boutard, Dylan Gauthier, and a number of others—is that the pieces they make or gravitate towards tend to encompass a wide range of media and approaches, at times so as to better mount complex or interactive installations. On the one hand, this makes perfect sense; environmental issues are hardly easy to address or resolve. On the other hand, though, it makes one wonder: Is it simply the complexity of the issues at hand that begs multi-mediated foci? Does this evidence to some extent what a viewing public would ‘expect’ to see in environmentally-concerned work? Would ‘merely’ making sculptures, say, that somehow address climate change come across as insufficient? All interesting matters to ruminate on, for sure.

Great open studio events present a lot of great artwork, clearly, but even greater ones are those that serve also as platforms for engaging dialogue—and that leave curiosity-piqued visitors to continue pondering intriguing questions.

Anyway, here are some images of last weekend’s event. For more information about the ISCP and its resident artists, visit their website. They offer a pretty rich variety of programming, by the way, including regular lectures and exhibitions, so you should probably go ahead and sign up for their newsletters while you’re at it.

A work by American artist Naomi Campbell. ISCP2 ISCP3 ISCP4 ISCP5 ISCP6 ISCP7 ISCP8 A painting by Finnish artist Henni Alftan. ISCP10 ISCP11 ISCP12 ISCP13 Works by Trollkrem in the studio of Natalie Hope O'Donnell, a Norwegian curator. Works by American artist and curator Dylan Gauthier. A painting by New Zealand artist Roger Mortimer.

Paul D’Agostino is @postuccio on Instagram and Twitter.