I made my way out to Gowanus on Sunday for the last day of open studios. It was calm, I had plenty of time to speak with undistracted artists. Something not possible in say, Bushwick, the tourist trap is real.
My first visit was with photographer Maria Baranova who I met years ago through Theo Coulombe artist and owner of Standard Space Gallery in Sharon Connecticut (Sharon is like the Hamptons of ). At that time she was showing at his former space, Brooklyn One Night Only in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn right around the corner from AOT Project’s HQ. AOT was fresh yet was one of those ‘last one’s standing stories’ after Theo left his space at the behest of development. But then in 2016, Carrie Able opened her gallery on Keap St and much like AOT Project provides community art activities and education.
Maria recently acquired the film camera of cameras, the Hasselblad 503cxi and thus began her #facesofdowntownscene portrait project. From the Director of Invisible Dog, Lucien Zayan to Royal Osiris member, Sean McElroy and yours truly, Maria’s portrait project is as much artistic statement as it is arts political. With the arts being punched around, “downtown” has multiple-geographic connotations.
“Downtown” is a perspective, and includes the recent history of New York ala the East Village, the antithesis of Cultural Amnesia, what Penny Arcade rages about in her performances. Maria’s magic number is 200, however, you can see in her eyes and her choice of words that she has been bitten and will probably amass 300 portraits of New York’s downtown culture makers.
How many ways can we imagine fighting for social justice? For Rebecca Scheckman, this means a video and drawing practice based in the discovery of cultural conditions for change. Imagining a better future for social equality is a genuine gesture, however, delving into the nuances of psycho-spiritual intimations requires a trust in a waking-dreaming state and the challenge is to remain grounded. Rebecca explores the narratives and counter-narratives that inform our social constructs through sci-fi storytelling and drawing.
In addition to open studios, Site: Brooklyn Gallery exhibited a group show of prints and launched a new affordable artworks shop towards the back of the space.