Yesterday I spent the afternoon rambling around Bushwick Open Studios, visiting artists who have been featured in the blog over the past few years, checking out new work, and catching up with friends and readers. After spending the previous day at Real Art Ways in a darkened theater with Denise Markonish (Curator at MASS MoCA) and Carl E. Hazlewood (Curator, Writer, Artist and co-founder of Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art, in Newark, NJ) selecting work for the 2013 Step Up series, it was a pleasure to see so much work IRL.
Image above: Painting by Corydon Cowansage, @ Harbor, 1717 Troutman Street
As the other jurors and I looked at the projected images and hundreds of videos at RAW, I realized what an advantage video and installation images had over images of paintings insofar as they told a story and through motion actively commanded more immediate attention. Images of paintings, tightly cropped and divorced from context, are static and lack the essential tactility of the objects themselves. In a gallery setting, paintings control the space. But in a darkened theater, narrative video, images of installations, and performance documentation tend to dominate. After some heated discussions, I think we selected a pretty good roster for the series, but painting was a hard sell.
Back in the bricks and mortar of Bushwick yesterday, I don’t think I looked at a single video piece. Here are some snaps from my afternoon stroll.
I started my afternoon with a mimosa at Norte Maar where “Portraits of Fern,” a group show of artwork about Fern, the gallery dog, was on display. Image above: Jocelyn Jabaut’s painting of Fern.
In the Parallel Art Space gallery, Julie Torres organized “What I Like About You,” a big group show in which 19 out-of-town artists selected work by 19 local artists. If you are in Bushwick today, stop by. Lots of good small-scale abstraction.