Monday, June 25, 2012

Art News, June 25, 2012

By Charles Kessler

The New York Times reports that a new uranium-thorium dating technique determined the paintings in El Castillo, a cave in Spain, to be at least 40,800 years old — 4,000 years older than what was previously thought to be the oldest human art, the paintings in the Chauvet Cave, France. Maybe I have an overactive imagination, but from this photo it looks to me like hands reaching out of a hole in the wall. If so, these cave paintings are a lot more sophisticated and theatrical than banal hand prints — and much more in keeping with what we know about cave paintings.
40,000 year-old hand stencils, El Castillo Cave, Spain.
In the last three years, Chinese archaeologists have unearthed 110 new terracotta warriors, 12 pottery horses, parts of chariots, weapons and tools near the Qin Emperor's mausoleum in China's northern Xi'an city. They may be some 38,000 years younger than the El Castillo cave paintings, but they’re still pretty old (221-206 BC) and are well-preserved and colorful. You can see more photos here.
Chinese archeologists working on terracotta warriors in Xi'an, China, June 9, 2012.
There are at least two websites that I know of devoted to documenting the fast-disappearing neon signs of New York: Thomas Rinaldi’s blog New York Neon takes an historic approach, and Kirsten Hively’s Project Neon! is more slanted to art. Both are beautiful and comprehensive.
Colony Music (animated), Broadway at 49th Street, New York City ( Photo from Project Neon!).
The Gagosian Gallery's exhibition Picasso and Francoise Gilot: Paris-Vallauris 1943 - 1953 has more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, but I was especially excited by the sculpture and ceramics (I'd estimate about 50 of them). They look like the work of four or five great artists instead of work spanning ten years by just one person! The show closes June 30th — DON'T MISS IT!  The Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison Avenue at 77th Street. 

Pablo Picasso, Femme portant un enfant, 1953, wood and part of a palm leaf, 68 x 21 x 14 inches, private collection. (Photo by Patrick Goetelen, © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Barnes Foundation's New Facility

By Charles Kessler

The Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania (photo by Dmadeo)
In 1922 Dr. Albert Barnes, who made a fortune developing and selling Argyrol, an antiseptic silver compound used in the prevention of infant blindness, created a foundation to promote the appreciation of art, philosophy and horticulture. As an art collector he was far ahead of his time, and he managed to put together one of the best art collections in the world. Because he hated Philadelphia society, he built his museum and school in Merion Pennsylvania, a suburb about five miles outside of the city. To see his museum you needed to make a reservation months in advance because it was only open to a limited number of people, and only for two days a week. Going there felt like going on a pilgrimage to someplace rare and special.  (The New York Times has a virtual tour of the interior of the original building that gives you some idea of the place.)
Interior of the Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania. 
Barnes had a lot of eccentric ideas about art and the teaching of art. He arranged his collection into “ensembles” based on the formal characteristics of the work (space, line, color) rather than chronology, geography or style; and, in keeping with his egalitarian beliefs, he mixed hardware and metal ornaments in with the fine art. After he died in 1951, serious problems arose because Barnes’s trust cast these eccentric ideas in stone in perpetuity. Any changes to the arrangement of the collection or to the facility’s grounds — restrictions very like the Gardner's in Boston — were prohibited. And even worse, he put some unwise financial declarations in his will which, over time, shrank the endowment to the point that the foundation couldn’t maintain the building and collection.

In the face of raging opposition that still persists, the Barnes Foundation got court approval to move the collection from Merion to Philadelphia. In support of the move, local charitable foundations (some of which had been established by the very people Dr. Barnes hated with a passion) pledged millions of dollars to build a new space and create a substantial endowment. Last May the Foundation moved the collection to a new building — a building-within-a-building really. Inside a larger building, they constructed a detailed replica of the interior of the original Barnes museum with the collection installed exactly the same way it was in Merion with a very few changes. Surrounding this replica is a lobby, a large court, a bookstore, library, offices, and plentiful parking.
The new Barnes Foundation building as seen from Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 20th Street.
There are many good reasons why breaking the Barnes trust was a bad idea. An article in Philanthropy Roundtable claims, "These actions erode that sense of trust, to the detriment of future philanthropy;" and articles by Tyler Green and Christopher Knight make some persuasive points. But I find arguments in favor of the move more compelling. Why should a collector be able to control an important art collection or any other important cultural resource FOREVER? And for that matter, I don't see why people should have total control even during their lifetimes — they shouldn’t be allowed to destroy a cultural monument, for example. And while a case can be made that this type of installation is a cultural artifact worth preserving, there are other ways, short of wholesale preservation, to document it.

The bottom line is I LOVED the new Barnes. The lighting is soft and diffused, unlike the inconsistent lighting in Merion (and unlike the harsh, too-bright lighting in most contemporary wings of encyclopedic museums); it's open many more hours; and it's in a much more accessible location. And the new museum, even though it’s wildly popular and more accessible now, is no more crowded than Merion because the daily occupancy is still limited. In fact, for some reason, it feels less crowded than my memory of the old place. And the docents could not have been more helpful, especially Gabrielle Aruta who is eminently qualified (she went through the Barnes course and also taught the philosophy of John Dewey at St. Joseph’s University). I am grateful for all the time she spent talking with me.

For the most part, I found Barnes's eccentric “ensembles” engaging, if sometimes simple-minded (e.g. a group of paintings and metalwork all have a bluish tone, or they are all interlaced). But there certainly are some problems with his arrangements. Many of the smaller galleries upstairs, where there are works on paper and small sculptures, feel way too crowded. It felt disrespectful of the art (ironic given Barnes’s egalitarian views).
George Seurat, Poseuses (Models), 1886-1888, oil on canvas, 78 ¾ x 98 ⅜ inches.
I also think Seurat’s Models is hung way too high. Even though it's a large painting and can be seen from that distance, it needs to be seen up close for a viewer to experience Seurat's pointillist technique, and, equally important, it needs to be seen on our level so the figures in the painting can seem to inhabit the same space we do. And finally, I wonder if even the “ensembles” that I found engaging will eventually wear thin once they're no longer novel. Besides, Barnes himself continually rearranged his collection — why should it be set in stone now?

The new building has exquisitely refined detail and is filled with beautiful light and textures, but it does have some problems. For one thing, the building is shockingly hostile to the street — a potentially lively street at that. To rudely turn your back on it by placing a parking lot along it, and even worse a wall, is inexcusable.
View of the Barnes Foundation from the Whole Foods Market across the street.
(What is it with museums and walls? The Modern did the same thing to 54th Street. Do these architects  still believe that cities are a bad thing and that people want to get away from them? I understand there might be security issues, but come on, they don't have to build a fortress. Hopefully the new Whitney will be street-friendly — right now there’s a veritable moat around it!)

I also feel the entrance lobby is too stark and not all that welcoming; and the Annenberg Court is coldly formal, and uncomfortably tall and long relative to its width.
The Walter and Lenore Annenberg Court looking east. The entrance to the Barnes replica is on the right. (Tom Crane/The Barnes Foundation via Bloomberg).
But the biggest problem for me is I feel there's something ersatz about the whole thing. It's like an agglomeration of period rooms, a Disney version of an eccentric collector's art museum, or, as Tyler Green more strongly puts it: "The stage-managing of the art feels ridiculous, even kitschy."
A view of Room 6 in the new Barnes Foundation — a replica of the original. (Tom Crane/The Barnes Foundation via Bloomberg).
But all of these criticisms come to nothing when confronted with the art — it will make you weep with joy! They have 69 Cézannes—more than in all the museums in Paris —including some of the very best, like his Card Players and Portrait of a Woman (see below).
Paul Cezanne, Les Joueurs de Cartes (The Card Players), 1890 - 1892, oil on canvas, 53 ¼ x 71 ⅝  inches.

Paul Cezanne, Portrait de Femme (Portrait of a Woman), c. 1898, oil on canvas,  36 ¾ x 28 ⅞  inches.
They have 60 Matisse paintings including his best mural.
Henri Matisse, The Dance, 1932 - 1933, oil on canvas, as seen from a balcony.
And they have Matisse's Joy of Life which, along with Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignonis one of the landmarks of twentieth-century art. And now Joy of Life is in its own alcove instead of hanging in a stairway as in the old Barnes — and it looks fantastic! Much bigger than I remembered it in Merion. And it absolutely glows. The alcove is kept relatively dark in order to protect the fragile painting, but because of the low light, the colors aren't washed out. And for the first time I really experienced it as an idealized, even hallucinogenic, pastoral paradise, rather than a decorative design.
Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de Vivre (The Joy of Life), 1906, oil on canvas, 69 ½ x 94 ¾ inches. 
Here's a detail of the right side that just blows me away:
Detail: Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de Vivre. Click to enlarge.
And there's a lot of great African art, which Barnes was one of the first to collect for aesthetic rather than ethnographic reasons.
Edo peoples, Nigeria, Standing Male Figure, copper alloy, 22 x 9 x 9 inches.
Altogether, there are 2,500 items in the collection including 44 Picassos, an astonishing 181 Renoirs (say what you will about how sickly sweet his work is, the guy could paint), and major works by Rousseau, Modigliani, Degas, van Gogh and many others. There are also Asian paintings; medieval manuscripts; and Old Master paintings including works by El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens and a lyrical, long (10 ⅞  x 50 ¼ inches) early Titian. And a lot of decorative metalwork.
My own "ensemble" of Gustave Courbet's Woman with White Stockings, 1864, flanked by Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Caryatids, c. 1910.
And finally, this time I noticed that eroticism is a major leitmotif at the Barnes, not only the Renoirs, as you'd expect, but Gustave Courbet's Woman with White Stockings and many other works — even Matisse's Joy of Life seems erotic in this context. It shouldn't be surprising; Barnes was famous for being a handsome lady’s man (to use the old-fashion expression) so that may be a factor; but mainly it was consistent with his philosophy — eroticism being something the common person can relate to.

Visiting the Barnes Foundation
General admission is a steep $18, but it’s $15 for seniors, only $10 for students, and it's free for children under 5. The first Sunday of every month is free, and all Friday night concerts and other events in the Annenberg Court are free and open to the public.

Hours: Daily, 9:30 - 6:00 except Friday when they're open until 10:00. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Since admission is limited and timed (although you can stay as long as you want once you're in), it's wise to get tickets in advance here, or by calling (866) 849-7056.

Getting there:
For just $10 - $15, a little more than the Chinatown bus would cost (and a lot safer and more comfortable), and about ¼ of what the cheapest Amtrak fare would be, you can take a New Jersey Transit train from either Penn Station New York or Penn Station Newark to Trenton, and easily transfer (usually within a few minutes, and on the same track) to SEPTA, the Philadelphia rail system, which will bring you to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. The trip takes about two hours (as compared to one hour via Amtrak).

From the 30th Street Station it's an easy and pleasant walk to the Barnes.
The 29th Street bridge over the Schuylkill River.
Leave the station through the 29th Street exit, cross the somewhat challenging street in front of the station, continue walking straight along a bridge over the beautiful Schuylkill river, and walk one long, tree-lined block until you get to 20th Street (about 5 minutes); turn left on 20th Street and walk past a beautiful historic block, past some ugly modern buildings and finally walk past the very grand Logan Square on your right and the Beaux Arts-style Science Museum on the left. When you cross Benjamin Franklin Parkway, another challenging intersection, the Barnes will be on the left. Altogether about a ten minute enjoyable walk.

And the ride back was enjoyable too. Here's what I saw on the train ride home:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Art News

By Charles Kessler

Jersey City Art News
Installation view, Material Tak; paintings by Jsun Laliberté on the left, and Anne Sherwood Pundyk on the right.
Material Tak, Panepinto Galleries, 371 Warren Street, Jersey City (Until July 15th)
Almost everything that’s now happening with abstract painting is represented in this handsome exhibition located in what used to be the Warehouse District of Jersey City. The exhibition was curated and sensitively installed by Kara Rooney, who has brought some life into the moribund art scene here. The artists in the exhibition, Mark Dagley, Anne Sherwood Pundyk, Kati Vilim, Jsun Laliberté, and Peter Fox, are from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City; and all their work is accomplished and complex (in a good way).
Anne Sherwood Pundyk, Levels, 2012, acrylic and oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches (not including the painted background).
I was particularly interested in Anne Sherwood Pundyk’s installation. By creating a wallpaper-like background for her paintings, Pundyk transformed this large, Chelsea-style space into a congenial environment — a more private, almost residential, space that allows you to slowly savor this rich work.

Two of my favorite Jersey City artists currently have exhibitions on view.
Nancy Cohen, whom I wrote about here, is in two shows: Accola Griefen Gallery, 547 W. 27th St  #634 in Chelsea (until June 23rd), and Precarious Exchange at The Hunterdon Art Museum, 7 Lower Center Street, Clinton, NJ (until September 9th).
Nancy Cohen, Spill, 2011, glass, metal, wire, resin, handmade paper, wool, 77" x 16" x 9" -- and detail on the right (Accola Griefen Gallery).
And Edward Fausty will be showing photographs at the Mayson Gallery, 254 Broome Street on the Lower East Side, from June 13th until July 18th.

Art House Productions, one of the most active and vital cultural organizations in Jersey City, is presenting the original play Something to Remember Me By from June 14 - 23. It should be a real treat; their publicity states: ... Please join us at the Morris estate where your hostess, Ms Abigail Morris, will welcome her closest family and friends for an evening of celebration and forgiveness. ON THE MENU: An assortment of sweet memories, bitter grudges, and dark secrets. The audience will be sitting at the dining room table with the cast. Tickets are only $15 to $25 and you can buy them online here.
After their Saturday, June 23rd show, Art House will have their annual Summer Blowout, with live music, food, raffles and all kinds of silly fun. Tickets are $10.

If you took my advice and went to the Nimbus Dance Works Spring Season Dance Concert, you saw an enthralling performance that included new pieces by Artistic Director and Founder Samuel Pott, and by the Turkish choreographer Korhan Basaran. Hopefully next year Nimbus will install steeper risers so everyone will be able to see better. You can find photos of the concert here, on their Facebook page.

Museum news:
The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC may sell its landmark building. Art blogger Tyler Green has been on this potentially scandalous story. The good Corcoran news is, beginning June 30th they will be presenting a retrospective of Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series of paintings. It is a major show consisting of more than 80 paintings, drawings and mixed-media works that Diebenkorn made from 1967 to 1988. The Corcoran is the only place this travelling exhibition is going to on the East Coast. It will be there until September 23rd.

The Whitney Museum sent out an email updating the progress on its new museum near the High Line. Here's a video about it.
The New Whitney - Image courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Cooper, Robertson and Partners.
They are saying the new 200,000+ square foot facility will have three times the space as the old museum devoted to exhibiting their permanent collection; a 170-seat theater with double-height views of the Hudson River; a 13,000+ square foot space on a stepped roof facing the High Line for outdoor sculptures, installations, new media, and performance presentations; and an 18,000+ square foot special exhibition gallery— the largest column-free art museum gallery in NYC. Sounds good.

The New York Times reports on Dia: Chelsea's plans for a new building in Chelsea.

Other News:
Also from the Times is this: How the Art Market Thrives on Inequality.
Because each piece of fine art is unique and can’t be owned by anybody else, it does a more powerful and subtle job of signaling wealth than virtually any other luxury good. High prices are, quite literally, central to the signal — you don’t spend $120 million to show that you’re a savvy investor who’s hoping to flip a Munch for $130 million. You’re spending $120 million, in part, to show that you can blow $120 million on something that can’t possibly be worth that much in any marketplace.
Pacific Standard Time (PST) is a series of more than 60 exhibitions about the art history of Southern California that the Getty Foundation and the Getty Research Institute instigated. Once again they have shown leadership by putting their entire PST archives online. Not only that, but the Los Angeles Times reports the Getty Research Institute, partnering with several other major art institutions, has created The Getty Research Portal, an art history version of Google Books with about 20,000 titles already online and much more to come. What a resource!

Two Chelsea exhibitions I recommend:
Brice Marden's new paintings at Matthew Marks, 526 West 22nd Street, are small and tactile. Delicious work.
Brice Marden, Years 2, 2011, oil and graphite on marble, 21 ¼ x 11 ¼ inches.
And yet another sign of the positive influence of Richard Tuttle that I wrote about here is the work of  Michelle Segre, Derek Eller gallery, 615 West 27th Street.
Michelle Segre, Let Me Love Your Brain, 1997-2011, mixed media, 83 x 69 x 41 inches.
And finally, From Dance Magazine, is a discussion with six choreographers about making work for film.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bushwick Open Studios - BOS 2012

By Charles Kessler

BOS 2012 — Bogart Street.
BOS 2012 was a BIG studio tour — more than 500 artists, plus dozens of events including dance concerts, performances, plays, rock concerts and parties, all of it spread out over three square miles from east Williamsburg to Ridgewood Queens. And there was a lot of good art, some very good indeed. That plus great weather (it seems the few times there was a brief rain shower I was inside!) and plenty of pleasant places to stop along the way to have a beer or coffee and rest up, made this one of the best studio tours I've ever gone to.

But the main reason I loved this tour, and I’ve written about this before, has to do with the spirit of collegiality in Bushwick. There’s a welcoming camaraderie that pervades the area — and it’s not the affected peace-and-love phoniness of the sixties. Rather it’s unpretentious and sincere — very different from the ironic cynicism that has been so prominent in the big-money art scene of the last decade or so.

With a tour this big, deciding where to go is a major problem — you can’t possibly do it all. The free guide was attractively designed, but at 88 pages and 14 ½  x 10 ½ inches, it was necessarily overwhelming. The website was a little more useful in that you could search for the type of art or event you might be interested in; nevertheless, narrowing things down was impossible. Most useful was a nifty free iPhone app (unfortunately no longer available — too bad, it would be a good resource). Not only could you search for types of events, but it could locate where you were and display what studios and venues were nearby. (Next year I wish they would add the ability to save favorites and note them on the map so you could plan your tour more easily.)

But even the iPhone app wasn't enough for an event this massive. According to people I talked to that were part of the tour, and my own observations, most people only went to the larger studio buildings like 56 Bogart and 1717 Troutman. It's too bad because they missed some good venues like 250 Moore Street where the Centotto gallery and the artist Tim Kent are located. I'm sure I missed plenty of good stuff.
Tim Kent at 250 Moore Street
On Friday night, kick-off night, there were several gallery openings and parties, most of which went on until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning -- I  pooped out by 11:00. That night I did go to the Bushwick Starr's fifth annual performance showcase — The Bushwhack Series.
The Bushwick Starr executive director Sue Kessler (no relation), and Noel Allain, artistic director (Photo - Jared Klein, Time Out). 
The Bushwick Starr, 207 Starr Street, is a professional theater group that produces cutting-edge original theater in a small (about 50-60 seats), well-equipped black box theater. They did a series of short, well-acted plays. Unfortunately there were only about 20 people in the audience when I went, maybe because of all the other competing events, but, according to Jason Andrew who has produced many events, this is par for the course. That's the one disappointment I have with the Bushwick art scene -- there is little or no interaction with, or even much support for, the other arts. I long for the way it used to be in the sixties and seventies in New York. I hope it will change. Maybe something is happening even now.

Saturday was my busiest, most exhausting day. I wanted to cover a lot but didn't know how long it would take so I was really pushing it at first until I realized I could do everything I wanted to do without killing myself (and being disrespectful to the artists). I tried to concentrate more on studios than galleries which I'd be able to see another time. Nevertheless I saw a lot of gallery shows and they were terrific, possibly because they showed their best work; and several new galleries opened up for the event. (I'll be updating the Bushwick Gallery Guide soon. The old guide can still be found in the right sidebar under “Gallery and Museum Guides.”)
Lisa Levy, Rockin' Mommy Love
The tour started off promising. In front of 56 Bogart, Lisa Levy, costumed in a gray wig, house dress and large eyeglasses, sat in a rocking chair and offered to comfort people. After reassuring me that I wouldn’t crush her if I sat in her lap, Levy rocked and hugged me. ... It was wonderful. I loved it!  I could have used it again at the end of the day, but she was gone by then.
Oliver Warden, Untitled Box, 2010 Photos by Jo Jo Phong.
Inside the lobby at the entrance to the always interesting Agape Gallery was a very different kind of performance: Oliver Warden’s Untitled Box 2.0, 2010. Warden, in an amazing feat of endurance, stayed in a two-way mirrored box for two seven-hour days (correction - see comments). When someone flicked the switch, a light would turn on in the box, revealing Warden standing there unsmiling in a suit and tie. He immediately shut the light off again so that just the mirror was visible. The effect was creepy, and every once in a while, as you wandered the floor, you'd hear someone to shriek and laugh.
Charles Schultz and Charles Kessler at Cynthia Sparrenberger's studio, 56 Bogart (photo: Anne Sherwood Pundyk).
Yet a third kind of performance took place at The Bogart Salon, 56 Bogart. It was the filming of ISHA: A Tell All Tale, a wild and colorful Bollywood-style soap opera. Viewers were invited to participate if they wanted to.

Kesting/Ray opened a small space (bigger than their current space in Soho, however) only a couple of blocks west of 56 Bogart, but since everything else is east of 56 Bogart, I fear they might still be off the beaten track. I hope not because it's a beautifully proportioned space with lots of natural light, and they're showing good work.
1717 Troutman is a huge loft building that had 32 studios and two galleries, Regina Rex and Parallel, on the tour.
At 1717 Troutman for some reason -- maybe I was overwhelmed by it all -- only the two gallery exhibitions Regina Rex and Parallel stood out for me.

There were many other strong gallery exhibitions in other venues including Microscope, a serious, almost scholarly gallery when it comes to film and video (they curated a couple of film and video exhibitions for BOS), and Airplane where I saw this imposing and disconcerting sculpture:
Jennie Shanker, Brick Shithouse, 2011, denim, sand and red shale, 36 x 36 x 36 inches (Airplane Gallery).
One of the better and bigger group shows was Holy BOS, a two-day, three-night music, film, video, performance and visual art festival in a former church. The space was large enough to hold large, almost environmental sculptures.
Holy BOS at the Bobby Redd Project Space, 626 Bushwick Ave.
This isn't an art installation, it's a hallway at 56 Bogart at the end of day one.
Sunday I was the designated guide for several friends, and while that slowed things down to the slowest person at any one time, an event like this is a social occasion too - it’s not all business even for a compulsive art blogger. And the pleasure my friends had, their delight and enthusiasm, was more than enough to make up for missing a few spaces.

One would think that by the second day, especially in the more heavily trafficked spaces, the artists wouldn't be all that friendly. They were definitely exhausted, but they were still gracious, and happy that people came by, and pleased to talk about their work. We had some lively and enthusiastic discussions.

A new gallery, Ethan Pettit Contemporary, moved to a very small space in a building with many art studios, 199 Ingraham Street.  They promise to keep regular hours (noon - 7:00, Thursday thru Saturday). I saw a lot of sculpture in that building, and I particularly liked the work by studio-mates Jeanne Tremel and Eliot Markell because of the way they manage to incorporate color without making the sculptures seem to be weightless or hollow.
Jeanne Tremel, Not Listenin' (front view), 2008, crochet thread 11 x 4 x 3 inches.
The Loom (their address is 1087 Flushing, but it's better to enter from Thames Street) had a painting contest between two graffiti-style painters. It took place in their pleasant oasis of a back yard situated in the middle of an industrial area. We went inside to rest up (I had the best cortado I ever had), and we would occasionally hear cheers from the contest. They also presented Seeking Space, a group show of  30 artists “who do not have the opportunity to exhibit in a studio space.”

117 Grattan Street is yet another large loft building, and this had a lot of art I liked. Sharon Butler of the excellent blog Two Coats of Paint just moved there and organized a small group show that included a few nice small paintings by Larry Greenberg of the Studio10 gallery. And Patricia Satterlee's paintings, in another studio in 117 Grattan, were rich, complicated semi-abstractions that kept me off-balance with unexpected and quirky images. I asked her what she thought of Tom Nozkowski's work since I saw a relationship there. Rather than becoming defensive, she said she loved Nozkowski's work and was delighted I thought there was a connection. This mature and sophisticated reaction was typical of the many other Bushwick artists I talked to about their work and is indicative of what I see as a favorable change in the ethos of the art world.
Patricia Satterlee's Studio, 117 Grattan - “Gloria” series of paintings.
One of the last things I saw, the Bushwick Basel art fair, encapsulated a lot of my feelings about Bushwick.
Bushwick Basel at Starr Space (Photo Alissa Guzman via Hyperallergic).
First of all, the art was first-rate, and it was presented in an intimate and sociable environment. In a generous gesture to the community, Jules de Balincourt, one of Bushwick's most successful artists, organized the fair and donated his space. He told Paddy Johnson, “You know, I’ve been lucky and some of my friends haven’t been. I want to do something good.” That speaks to the supportiveness and camaraderie I've noticed in Bushwick, but there was something else. When Balincourt first announced the fair, he indicated that it was a kind of spoof or parody on art fairs, and he got some good-natured push-back for that remark. Clearly people were uneasy with irony, almost embarrassed; in Bushwick now, they are more comfortable with straightforward sincerity.