When you think of love in February, you might think Valentines Day, or Galentine’s day or any amount of candy-covered sentiments…but if you are interested in thinking about the true meaning of love – even in the face of impossible odds, check out the brand new production of BENT, coming to Triskelion Arts (106 Calyer St.) in February featuring a Greenpoint-based production team, and LGBTQ+ cast.
BENT is a tragic love story set in Nazi Germany that follows the relationships and persecution of gay men during the Holocaust. The 1979 play, which originally starred Ian McKellen and Richard Gere, grabbed a Tony nod during its original Broadway run, and put playwright Martin Sherman in line for a Pulitzer.
Now, director, producer and Greenpoint resident Emma Coulter is bringing it back to the stage. Coulter and her team, who have staged the show before, know the power of the story they are telling. “…[Bent reminds us that] it’s worth the risk to care, and to love. Even if it means being killed. Because if we don’t do that, there is no point to living,” Coulter says. Producer Kira Geiger promises the show is “surprisingly funny, incredibly sexy, and absolutely heartbreaking…you will leave the theater a changed person.”
Get ready for Greenpoint Open Studios, an epic showcase of local art. Over the course of one weekend (this year June 8-9), hundreds of local artists open their studio doors to the public for an exciting peek inside their craft. It’s an uncurated, free event that allows visitors to get a glimpse of the process and space where the artwork is created while engaging directly with its creators.
Brooklyn has a long-standing reputation for being a hotbed of creativity and GOS is going to represent its northernmost tip in true Greenpoint fashion—by keepin’ it real—providing an open platform for showcasing the various expressions of our creative community’s imagination and skills. This year, we have more than 350 artists participating, and an exciting lineup of events. Continue reading →
Greenpoint Open Studios is the weekend of June 8th and 9th and is a special time in the area as about 400 artists open their studios to thousands of art lovers who get to see the amazing creativity that is Greenpoint’s beating heart.
However, this creativity is nothing new locally. Throughout its long history our area has been a home to highly creative artists and artisans. So let’s travel back in time and visit some of the great studios and workshops of Greenpoint’s past.
Many clay and porcelain artists work locally today, but these present-day potters are merely following in a long tradition. Walt Whitman in his 1857 visit to the area wrote an article about the American Porcelain Works, which once turned out beautiful pieces of porcelain at Franklin and Freeman Streets, but this workshop was only one of many local potteries. Continue reading →
Whimsical, precise, and meditative, Deniz Ayaz’s illustrations and watercolors may make you hungry. She often creates tempting portraits, though her skills reach far beyond illustrations of food. Deniz has had works featured in leading outlets including The New York Times, Print Magazine, and more, and below we get to know the Greenpoint artist who dishes not just on her drawings but her favorite places to get baos, ice cream, and more.
Greenpointers: You mentioned you’ve lived in the neighborhood for a few years! Any favorite spots? How has Greenpoint treated you? Deniz Ayaz: I remember the first time I went to Greenpoint. It was a small field trip with my illustration class to Pencil Factory in 2011. Meeting some of my favorite illustrators there was very inspiring and I can say that this neighborhood has always treated me well.I’ve met inspiring people (including my husband), discovered new spots, and never felt like I was not in a concrete jungle.
Some of favorite spots in the area are Lot Radio for Saturday afternoons, Baoburg for yummy baos in the backyard, Polka Dot for homemade apple pie, Van Leeuwen for coffee ice cream, Maha Rose for soundbath, and Magick City for dancing, which I’ve recently discovered and been amazed by the space and events.
You dabble in a few different mediums: watercolor, ink… any favorites, and why? I love the fluidity and unpredictable nature of watercolor. In the past, I’ve painted with various mediums including oil, acrylic, and gouache and it was great to experiment with all of them before finding the “one.” I enjoy creating abstract patterns in watercolor and most of the patterns I like tend to be the ones that are less structured.
Nowadays, it’s quite common to see people planning every second of their lives and try to control every little thing. As a result, it becomes hard to enjoy spontaneity. For me, painting with watercolor is a great way to let go, and it’s quite meditating. Continue reading →
Local businesses and galleries will extend their hours to open their spaces and display the work of artists to the public; check out the Greenpoint Gallery Night map to plot your route.
Participating locations include:
Areté Venue and Gallery – 67 West St. suite 103 Brouwerij Lane – 78 Greenpoint Ave Calico Brooklyn – 67 West St. suite 203 Dandelion Wine – 153 Franklin St. Dusty Rose – 67 West St. suite 216 G-Spot popup @ Brooklyn Safehouse – 120 Franklin St. Imagic Studio – 937 Manhattan Ave. Plexus Projects – 198 Greenpoint Ave. Yashar Gallery – 276 Greenpoint Ave. Continue reading →
Anthony Cudahy paints the remnants of an ephemeral past, utilizing found photographs as source material and preserving the echoes of memory in radiant paintings of oil on canvas.. An exhibition of his recent work, The Gathering, is currently on view through February 12th at The Java Project at 252 Java Street. The exhibition is a beautiful allegory for the impermanence of memory and collective history as examined through personal narrative.
In this exhibition, Cudahy presents two large-scale oil paintings as well as several smaller works. Working with a sourced image found through the online One Archives at the University of California that depicts a gathering of a nameless group of young people at a 70’s queer camping retreat taken by Pat Rocco, Cudahy creates a personal narrative that builds upon the fragments of a history that is rarely at the forefront of our conversation. It is both a timely and important statement on how history can be erased, forgotten or changed, told through Cudahy’s personal narrative. The exhibition opens an important dialogue with the viewers, as queer history is rarely addressed by mainstream media. It is part of a larger conversation that is (excuse the pun) still coming out.
Cudahy brings queer history into the larger context of gender identity, as the figures’ are in numerous ways ambiguous. You can see the transformation and evolution across the exhibition, with Cudahy working on the larger paintings and smaller works on paper concurrently – each influencing the other.
Cudahy paints beautifully. The surface of each work on canvas abounds in texture while his colors fluctuate between the rich darkness of velvet and areas of bright luminescence that appear to be lit from within. Working and reworking the source image, Cudahy takes ownership, transforming and continuously re-defining the meaning of the finished piece. Picking apart the composition, figure by figure to create a rippling, breathing surface of lush color, Cudahy’s utilization of chiaroscuro bears a marked comparison to the canvases of Goya. Like a gathering of spirits, the figures modulate in areas of shadow and light across the larger canvases, while in smaller studies Cudahy repeats certain figures and gestures again and again, capturing new meaning in each iteration.
An essay by Marcelo Gabriel Yáñez, an NYU art history student that has recently been making waves with an article in UK’s Dazed magazine is presented adjacent to the exhibition. A decision that curator Dakota Sica left up to Cudahy, as the Java Project gives as much free reign as possible to its exhibiting artists. In his essay on the Cudahy’s exhibition, Yáñez writes of ephemerality, of re-imagining the original photograph as a queer utopia in a mutable form, able to re-shape the image into something new and imbuing it with meaning that stems from Cudahy’s own experiences.
Greenpointers had the opportunity to speak to Cudahy on these aspects of queer history and gender identity in the show. On describing the original subject of the source material and his approach, Cudahy is straightforward:
AC: I would say it’s closer to gender-ambiguous or gender-fluid than neutral. In the sense these figures exist outside of neat binaries (which anti-identitarian signifies to me) — potentiality and an attempt away from “one-correct-meaning” is something I’m interested in. Formally, painting this image so many times, repeating formations or cropping while dramatically changing the colors of moods is an attempt away from there being one scene being represented.
GP: A lot of your paintings focus on facial features, or gestures, would you consider yourself to be a portrait artist? What interests you the most in working from found photographs?
AC: I wouldn’t say portrait in the sense that I don’t really think I’m getting across the feel or “soul” of the people I’m painting. Maybe “figurative” is a better umbrella? I’ve always worked from photographs, and occasionally, lately painting (like the flower still life that entered one of the paintings in this show), but in this case, there’s also a specific intent on painting from queer history: a past that has been willfully diminished and erased. In a way, I’m arguing that the past is as (or more) malleable and filled with potential as the present/future.
When asked about the significance of the pride flag as described by Yáñez:
AC: The pride flag idea was a very loose association I made, not super concrete. I wanted to make sure those colors that had been bureaucratically taken off were represented, especially since they stood in for magic, art and sex!
It’s no news that Greenpoint is rapidly changing. Amongst the new developments (and closures), the local arts community has witnessed major growth. From the ever-expanding, high-caliber Greenpoint Open Studios, to a popular Friday night drink-n-draw to rival Bushwick’s BatHaus, to a NYTimes shout out of 106 Green on a list of not to be missed galleries – Greenpoint is gaining major traction. Both Cudahy, as well as the Java Project, seem poised at the center of all this momentum – a promising combination that speaks to Greenpoint’s continued shift towards an encompassing arts district. So what are you waiting for? Go see the show before it closes!
Wow, has it been cold or what?! I mean, like, we went straight past Netflix-binge-cold to I-hope-the-delivery-man-doesn’t-freeze-to-death-cold. (Also, I know y’all tip heavy so I won’t even get into that.)
This first week of 2018 hasn’t exactly been very welcoming, what with that bomb cyclone. Trendy storm names, though, so that’s cool!
But we’re past that now, y’all. We made it to the other side. It’s gonna be near 60 degress on Friday! Time to get out there and support your local artist community.
We have a ton of openings happening this week and this weekend, starting tonight, so bundle up and get amongst it!
Opening January 8th and on view through February 3rd, this collaboration between Precious Okoyomon and Hannah Black presents a process of digestion, shitting out, decaying and rebirthing, seeking human-like if not reliably human assistance through playful figuration: teddies, dolls, and creatures both cooked and raw.
I Need Help comprises a disintegrating iteration of Black’s recent solo show at the Chisenhale Gallery in London, Some Context, with works by Okoyomon made in response.
Safe Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of sculptures and drawings by John Newman from the last 35 years. The seed of the exhibition is Newman’s completion of 65 drawings, for his 65 years, while in France in the summer of 2017. Newman thinks of, and titled, these drawings as Developing Old Negatives: Bringing extant images to life again. Some are drawings of existing sculptures from Newman’s 40-year career, some are speculative spaces, and others are ideas for future sculptures. Installed in the gallery’s front room, these drawings provide a roadmap to Newman’s ideas about space, structure and form.
By now you’ve surely noticed the 4-story mural on the building on the corner of Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue. Completed in late October, painted by Swedish artist Ola Kalnins, the mural covers the entire building facade at 903 Manhattan Ave, which is owned by Peter Kirchhausen.
In a neighborhood that seems to be more and more inundated with advertising (hand-painted or otherwise), it’s damn refreshing to see some art for arts sake.
Funded by the Consulate General of Sweden, the creation of this beautiful mural is documented in this short film. Enjoy!
About Tenaments: “With drawings and comics in her signature style, Wertz regales us with streetscapes “Then and Now” and little-known tales, such as the lost history of Kim’s Video, the complicated and unresolved business of Ray’s Pizza, the vintage trash and horse bones that litter the shore of Brooklyn’s Bottle Beach, the ludicrous pinball prohibition, Staten Island’s secret abandoned boatyard, and the hair-raising legend of the infamous abortionist of Fifth Avenue, Madame Restell.”
Pins! Everyone loves pins! And Brooklyn’s own Pintrill, with a storefront at Grand and Driggs, offers a crazy selection of pins: emjois, cartoon characters, catchphrases… they got everything for that pin-wearing lover of yours. They even have unique, vintage pins from NASA and the Olympics, ya know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
And so, fret not my young procrastinators. There are plenty of gifts available at local purveyors. Support local artists, support local businesses! And Happy Holidays, y’all!