10 Reasons Why Bushwick Open Studios Is Keeping the New York Art World Real

Kick it off at Norte Maar with a complimentary mimosa and a map.

A scene from Bushwick Open Studios 2014. Photo: YouTube

After nine years, Bushwick Open Studios has transformed from a loose gathering of local art lovers to a massive weekend blowout. Organized by the volunteer organization Arts in Bushwick, the mission is to provide a platform for artists at all levels to share and exhibit their work. (See Forget Chelsea—The 15 Brooklyn Galleries You Need to Know Now and 14 Young New York Art Dealers to Watch.)

With almost 500 art spaces open to the public this year, plus events at local bars, restaurants, and even a start-up art fair, the weekend can be overwhelming, especially for those who haven’t spent much time east of Williamsburg. The great thing about the weekend is that unlike many other art world events, most of the parties are free and open to the public. (For a write-up on last year’s event, see the Insider’s Guide to Bushwick Open Studios 2014.)

In addition to our picks below, be sure to stop by the massive studio/gallery buildings at 56 Bogart Street, 395 Johnson1717 Troutman Street, Brooklyn Fire ProofThe Active Space, and Brooklyn Brush Studios, where you can easily view a lot of artwork in one place. And don’t forget to stop by the Bushwick Collective Block Party for food trucks, street performers, and concerts. Also, for some reason, “Lean Back” rapper Fat Joe is headlining.

Bushwick Open Studios. Street view, 2014. Photo: BOS.

Bushwick Open Studios. Street view, 2014.
Photo: BOS.

1. Bushwick Open Studios Launch Party and “Seeking Space” Opening
“Seeking Space” is the official curated group show of the weekend, which is now in its sixth year. This year’s exhibition will be held at Be Electric, a studio building coated in killer street art. There’s also a raucous kickoff party on June 5. There will be free beer and a photo booth, which is a dangerous combination.
The BOS 2015 Launch Party takes place at Be Electric, 1298 Willoughby Ave. on June 5 at 8 p.m. “Seeking Space” will be on display from June 6–7, 12–7 p.m.

2. NEWD Art Fair
Bushwick’s very own little art fair is returning for a second year, and we couldn’t be happier (see What Makes NEWD Art Show Special?). Housed in a turn-of-the-century warehouse space aptly named The 1896, NEWD is hardly a traditional fair at all—except, of course, that everything is for sale. With 11 exhibitors comprised of artist collectives, project spaces, non-profits, and galleries, it’s an artist-centric fair with a mission to “serve as a counterpoint to the existing fair model.” Exhibitors include American Medium, Regina Rex, NURTUREart, and Signal. There will also be a series of talks on topics ranging from cyborgs to “making it” in the NYC art world.
NEWD will take place at The 1896, 592 Johnson Avenue, from June 6–7, 12–7 p.m. with a vernissage on June 5. 

Hannah Barrett, Stilton with Accessories (2015). Regina Rex at NEWD art fair. Photo: Regina Rex.

Hannah Barrett, Stilton with Accessories (2015). Regina Rex at NEWD art fair.
Photo: Regina Rex.

3. “Maps and Mimosas” at Norte Maar
Norte Maar’s annual open studios kickoff event, where you can grab a complimentary mimosa and a map of the neighborhood, returns for its ninth year. While you’re sipping your champagne, enjoy a group show of over 30 artists who have been instrumental in the growth of the Bushwick art scene, including Deborah Brown, Ryan Michael Ford, and Rico Gatson.
Maps and Mimosas” will take place at Norte Maar on June 6 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. “Hecho en Bushwick” will be on display from June 6–7, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

4. Meryl Meisler Paradise and Purgatory: Sassy 70’s Book Launch
Meryl Meisler is a local art photographer best known for her book, Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities. To celebrate the launch of her second book, Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City, she’s hosting an all-night party at Bizarre Publishing & Black Box Gallery, which will include drag queens, go-go dancers, and an exhibition of photographs from the book, which is described as “sweet and sassy with a pinch of mystery.”
Purgatory and Paradise Party Night will take place at Bizarre Publishing & Black Box Gallery on June 5 from 7 p.m.–4 a.m.

Meryl Meisler, From A Tale of Two Cities

Meryl Meisler, From Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities.

5. A Couple of Artists Open Studio
A Couple of Artists are artists Merav Ezer, Adi Shniderman, and Catherine Kirkpatrick, who operate independently out of a shared space where they produce video art, photography, installations, and multimedia works. Functioning as both a studio and a forum for experimentation, part of their mission is to “[respond] playfully to their immediate environment, [where] experimentation and improvisation drives their creative process.” The trio assures us that “humor and the absurd are major components in their work.”
A Couple of Artists studio will be open at 274 Morgan Avenue on June 6–7 from 12–7 p.m.

6. “Thrice Legendary, or Forever Thens” at Centotto
Centotto gallery’s eighth turn at Bushwick Open Studios once again features a group exhibition with work from a range of local artists, with notes about where else you can see their work. What better way to discover a new favorite artist?
Thrice Legendary, or Forever Thens” will be on display at Centotto until a date TBD. The gallery will be open on June 6 from 2 p.m.–6 p.m.

7. Deborah Brown Open Studio
Deborah Brown’s name has become synonymous with the Brooklyn art scene, thanks to her work at the helm of the gallery Storefront Ten Eyck (which is housed in the same space as her studio). During BOS, she will present paintings that examine the costumes, coiffures, and conventions of Renaissance, Classical, and Baroque artworks, with a helping of Cubism.
Deborah Brown’s studio at 324 Ten Eyck Street will be open on June 5 from 5–9 p.m., on June 6 from 12–9 p.m., and on June 7 from 12–6 p.m.

Deborah Brown, Secessionist Portrait (2015). Photo: Deborah Brown.

Deborah Brown, Secessionist Portrait (2015).
Photo: Deborah Brown.

8. “Swingers WKND: Works by Artist Couples”
Artist collaborative Tribble & Mancenido have assembled a group exhibition of work created by contemporary artist couples, including like Russell Tyler & Trudy Benson, Ethan Greenbaum & Sun You, Heather Rasmussen & Julian Hoeber, and Gina Magid & Ryan Steadman. The exhibition pays homage to the seminal 1949 show “Artists: Man and Wife”, which featured work by super-star artist couples like Jackson Pollock & Lee Krasner and Françoise Gilot & Pablo Picasso at the Sidney Janis Gallery.
“Swingers WKND: Works by Artist Couples” will be on view at 2 St. Nicholas Avenue from June 6–7, 12–6 p.m. The opening reception will take place on June 5, 7–9 p.m. 

9. Andrew Erdos Open Studio
Andrew Erdos mines the realms of philosophy, technology, science, nature, and religion for inspiration, working in a variety of mediums including video, photography, and sculpture. “Drawing from his mastering of glass techniques, as well as from historical, mythical, and personal sources, Andrew Erdos constructs open narratives which results in a sensory overload for the viewer,” the press release states. (We just hope he hasn’t been getting any tips from Dale Chihuly.)
Andrew Erdos‘ studio at 195 Morgan Avenue will be open from June 6–7, 12–6 p.m. The opening reception will take place on June 5, 5–8 p.m. 

Street art in Bushwick.

Street art in Bushwick.

10. “Home Improvement” on Rock Street
Curated by Deborah Brown and Lesley Heller, this outdoor exhibition of large-scale sculptures is a BOS tradition that always draws a crowd—if you were around last year, you likely remember works like Daisuke Kiyomiya’s enormous, mouth-watering macaroons. This year’s show focuses on artist’s notions of “home.” Featuring work by BroLab, Julie Tremblay, Ward Yoshimoto, and others, the sculptures will be on view for 33 consecutive hours.
Home Improvement” on Rock Street will be open from June 6–7. A reception with performances will take place on June 7 from 4:30–6 p.m.

Bushwick Open Studios takes place from June 5—7, 2015.

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