If you’re new in town and you’ve never heard of Bushwick Open Studios, let me give you the short of it: BOS is the biggest art party in Brooklyn, hands down (especially now, since the DUMBO Arts Festival is no more). From Friday to Sunday this weekend, hundreds of artists will open their studios, scores of food trucks will line the streets around the Morgan/Montrose/Jefferson L train stops, and the public will come in the thousands to look, touch, eat, drink, play, listen, buy, sing, dance, and just be there while the street performers, gallery shows, pop up exhibitions, assorted special events, film screenings, and Matthew Silver do their thing.
The fun will be hard to miss if you just get off at the aforementioned L stops. But, if you’re truly going for the art and actually want to meet the artists in the studios where they work, then check out this guide to ten Bushwick-based artists you shouldn’t miss (this guide does not include how to not get lost walking the corridors in the sprawling Bushwick lofts/warehouses).
Caitlin Karolczak: There’s something haunting and otherworldly about Karolczak’s paintings. Maybe because they look like daguerreotypes for the twenty-first century, updated for a society that can essentially record every moment of each day at a low cost with lightweight machines. Or, maybe because Karloczak creates her work by incorporating age-old painting techniques from 17th and 18th century portraiture. Or, maybe even because she’s trying to remind us of our own mortality. Whatever the reason, the people in Karolczak’s paintings will look at you, and you’ll look back at them, and you’ll see a glimpse of the other side.
395 Johnson Avenue
Andrew Erdos: When Erdos reflects on human culture and technology, he makes masterful glass sculptures that look like glaciers lit up by the sun or newly discovered selenite crystals (or alien creatures). Like the originals in nature, Erdos’ sculptures are peaceful to behold in person so, fellow New Yorker, go be awestruck by nature/aliens, ahem… art.
195 Morgan Ave. Suite 314A 202
Alexandra Rubinstein: What would female sexuality look like in a matriarchy? It might look like Alexandra Rubinstein’s on-going series, Looking for Mr. Goodsex and Muff Diver. The former are oil paintings of stills taken from porn films made during the early ’70s, and the latter are playful oil paintings exploring the assorted slang used to say ‘cunnilingus.’ Rated E, of course, for everyone.
910 Grand Avenue, 2nd Floor
Danielle DeJesus: Before it became known as the ‘Schwick with the loft parties and the expensive coffees, the neighborhood had its own identity that native-Bushwickian Danielle DeJesus is trying to preserve with her camera. “Gentrification began about ten years ago in my neighborhood, and when it first began I felt helpless as I watched the people around me disappear,” DeJesus writes. Her on-going Bushwick Project series thus memorializes in film “what is left of the neighborhood as it is, before it changes forever.”
224 Wyckoff Avenue @ #SAVEARTSPACE
Jaynie Crimmins: Brooklyn-native Jaynie Crimmins hates her junk mail like the rest of us, except she puts it to good use—shredding the unwanted ads and letters and then carefully sewing the pieces together. The result is awe-inspiring, delicate, and multidimensional—a new take on something all too often readily thrown out with the trash.
119 Ingraham St #202 @ Brooklyn Fire Proof
Mariel Harari: Step out of the humid summer streets and into Harai’s “fantastical forest” exhibition-within-an exhibition, Bitter Root, where five foot tall flower sculptures—steak-filled and with cowhide petals—grow out of white yarn, and vibrant Venus flytraps hang out next to dancers wearing cowhide masks and costumes. There’s a video animation about the the fantastical forest, so viewers will be immersed in the same environment that appears on screen—but, have no fear, Harari has the Venus flytraps under control.
1002 Bushwick Ave, Apt. 1A
The Hollows Art Space: While the Hollows Art Space isn’t one artist’s studio (like the other artists on this list), it still makes the cut since it’s a new-ish live/work/exhibit space that will open up three rooms of its artist residency to BOS visitors, plus will feature art by 29 artists from 10 different countries. You can go around the world in…one day, with time to spare.
708 Bushwick Avenue
Deborah Brown: Court painters were the original photoshoppers, layering skin-toned shades over dark moles here and lifting up droopy eyelids there. So now, hundreds of years later, the members of royal courts appear remarkably free of ergotism and small pox scars in their portraits. Where am I going with this? Brown’s latest series of paintings colorfully explores those eras—Renaissance, Classical, and Baroque—when high-bred men and women wore elaborate costumes, towered and powdered their hair, and belabored themselves with beauty conventions that no one has time for anymore. Wimples, anyone? Didn’t think so.
24 Ten Eyck Street, ground floor
Sonomi Kobayashi: If you find that the prints by Japanese artist Kobayashi look simultaneously like the neurons in your brain and the images of stellar supernovae, then you might be on to something—Kobayashi is actually exploring the universe, the human body, nature, and the cycle of life through her works with oil paint, ink, watercolor, and printmaking. Remember: great minds…
44 Stewart Avenue 22
Dave Rittinger: A visit to Rittinger’s studio will be as real as it gets—the artist will be actively working on new projects as you come visit and will be “happy to share my process.” Rittinger’s sculptures are clever and lighthearted, and will change how you see men’s ties, shells, power cords, toy soldiers, sheet metal… and even leaves. You’ll think twice about throwing out your great-aunt’s painting next time.
340 Morgan Avenue 2nd floor, #11