Rogues’ galleries: Studios open their doors for Bushwick Open Studios

Rogues’ galleries: Studios open their doors for Bushwick Open Studios
Hawking it: Painter Garry Nichols exhibits his art inside a moving van at Bushwick Open Studios.
Photo by Metsha A. Renois

It is the art and soul of Brooklyn’s creative scene.

Thousands of people stormed Bushwick between Friday and Sunday to check out the array of free exhibitions, parties, and performances at this year’s Bushwick Open Studios weekend, which one participant said is now the best place to see and make art in the borough.

“Bushwick has a larger and more vital arts community than anywhere else in Brooklyn, and it is great to be a part of that,” said painter Garry Nichols, who brought his mobile gallery to Bogart Street inside a rented box truck. “I like the rawness of the street life and buildings and that there are so many ways for people to express themselves here.”

Creators across the neighborhood welcomed the public into their workspaces for the ninth annual event, but plenty of art could be found on the streets outside the galleries, where artists danced on the sidewalk, created public murals, and flogged their wares.

One group of scantily-clad performance artists spent Saturday engaging in absurd improv games in the midst of the celebration. The performers staged their off-the-cuff and almost-in-the-buff show near the most hopping studios at the corner of Grattan and Bogart streets, acting out something they called a “birth chain” — where each performer burst forth from another performer’s crotch area — and also pretending to be trees. The group’s goal is to push the boundaries of social acceptability, said one performer.

“It is to provide a contrast to the social, cultural, and political norms that are going on,” said performer Fritz Donnelly.

More than two dozen performance artists showed up to be a part of the sidewalk show, and at least as many random strangers jumped into the fray to play the games with them, said Donnelly.

One Bushwick Open Studios virgin said it was incredible to witness so many different groups join forces to create the neighborhood-wide, weekend-long party.

“I have never had an experience like that in my entire career with this amount of cooperation and this amount of people interested in making it work,” said multimedia artist Claire Jervert, who moved recently moved her studio from Manhattan to Brooklyn and showed off several paintings, a digital animation, and some sculptures inside her space. “There is something special happening here.”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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