BushwickGallery.com is the 1st Internet-based gallery in Bushwick. In our monthly shows we feature and endorse emerging artists from the Bushwick area. Check out the art on our website, or at one of the pop up offline openings every time at a different Bushwick location. All the art is affordable, for sale, and we make prints too!

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By Katarina Hybenova

The remaining 500 openings in Bushwick last weekend had a common topic for discussion: Did you go to Luhring Augustine opening? What did you think about the mega-space? 

We have discussed the potential impacts of having a fancy Chelsea gallery taking a slide on Bushwick DYI hippness back and forth, and then we discussed it once again. It seems like all that remains is to acknowledge that they are here, and to hope that their presence will bring as many positive things as possible. Hopefully, they will acknowledge us back, make a studio visit here and there, and discover local emerging talent. Some of us were asking how does one even make them notice us? How does one network with art world celebrities? Well, we don’t know either. But here is what you definitely should not be doing:

#1 Stare creepily at Marina Abramovič, because the fact she starred at you at MoMA gives you enough of an excuse.

#2 When bumping into Charles Atlas in the bathroom, ask casually whether his barber takes hallucinogens.

#3 Give wrong directions to that middle-aged lady who is scared to death trying to navigate her GPS from Grattan to Knickerbocker crying she doesn’t even know where she is… Send her to Johnson Avenue for a late night Bushwick scenic walk.

#4 Demand a free can of Tecate from Luhring Augustine employee with British accent. Insist you need it to process the trippy installation!

#5 Roberta Smith will surely reserve a spot for you among her Top 2012 if  you only perform that piece you’ve been practicing with your roommates in your loft. Yes, perform right there at the opening. Naturally, her friends are interested too.

#6 Ask that artsy middle aged French lady next to you at the opening to tell you stories about Henri Matisse when he was still alive.

#7 Just stand there. Be naked while at it.

#8 Wonder where all these old people came from and why they keep staring at all those numbers. Wonder aloud.

#9  The best way to get the attention of Jerry Salz is to steadily scream in a high pitched voice (we swear).

#10 Stalk Kathy Halbreich home. For the future reference, you need to know where she lives.

By Deborah Brown 

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Photos by Katarina Hybenova

Last Friday night in Bushwick the normally desolate strip of Knickerbocker Avenue at Johnson was transformed by the inaugural opening of Luhring Augustine Bushwick. The well-regarded Chelsea gallery opened its long-awaited Bushwick annex with a major show by pioneering video artist Charles Atlas.  Throughout the three hour opening–normal for Bushwick but long by Chelsea standards–a small crowd milled around outside the well-lighted, elegantly transformed former warehouse space. Well-heeled guests arrived in Dial cars while local artists gave directions to first-time visitors clearly flummoxed by the unfamiliar geography of the neighborhood.

Inside was a scene of contrasts.  Many local artists were in attendance including William Powhida, Stephen Truax, Will Pappenheimer, Carol Salmanson, Letha Wilson, and Max Warsh of the gallery collective Regina Rex.  But unlike openings at galleries run by local artists, many attendees were not Bushwick regulars. Marina Abramovic, Kathy Halbreich, Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith could be seen in the wall-to-wall crowd, along with other art-world luminaries.  For much of the evening, co-owner Roland Augustine took up a post front-and-center in the foyer to greet arrivals, a gesture disarmingly gracious for a Chelsea gallery owner. Nonetheless, the contrasts and juxtapositions of the familiar and the exotic left many wondering whether this represented the end of the Bushwick art world they knew, an exciting new chapter in the history of the local art community, or something in between.

The artwork on display, Charles Atlas’s video installation, The Illusion of Democracy, is a tour de force. Entering the gallery through a dark corridor, the viewer encounters three darkened rooms open to one another onto which the videos are projected. Black and white images of geometric patterns unfurl, and cascades of numbers unspool in rapid succession.  James Panero, Managing Editor and art critic of The New Criterion, remarked that the experience was akin to being in “The Matrix,” a world in which humankind has been atomized into avatars of code.  The audience became part of the installation as the projections played across bodies and faces, enveloping everyone in the artist’s digital cabinet of wonder.

Luhring Augustine’s building had been under construction for over a year, resulting in a transformation largely invisible from the outside. The building’s red brick is painted a sober grey. The gallery’s name appears modestly on one of the entrances to the building. Inside, however, the full extent of the resources brought to bear is immediately apparent.  The space is huge and beautifully finished, capped by a wooden, cantilevered ceiling. It is as if a Chelsea space had been recreated in Bushwick–not entirely unexpected, but arresting to those used to the neighborhood’s DIY ethos and aesthetic. Given the gallery’s location across from a working cement factory and next to a Won Ton warehouse, Charles Atlas’s flickering videos call to mind an end-of-the world scenario, a Bushwick Gotterdammerung or Twilight of the Gods.One viewer called it “enchanting,” a response that seemed to capture the frisson of excitement and wonder surrounding the arrival of this new presence on the landscape of the Bushwick art world.

Bushwick’s new neighbors offered gracious words of welcome. Luhring Augustine’s director, Lauren Wittels concluded: “The attendance was great, with so many neighborhood artists.  The work is fantastic.  The vibe was all positive. We couldn’t be more pleased or proud.”

By Katarina Hybenova

“56 Bogart? What?” Christina Ray, the co-owner of Soho gallery Kesting/Ray , was pretty surprised when I told her about the rumor that the Bushwick location of her gallery was supposed to be at 56 Bogart, the new gallery arcade across the street from Cafe Swallow. After the reports from Artnet and The L Magazine, we know that the location of Kesting/Ray is 257 Boerum Street in East Williamsburg.

A building in the shape of a little hangar seems to be very familiar to almost everyone in Bushwick. I was curious about new location of Kesting/Ray, and went to chat with Christina Ray directly. Christina - accompanied by her cute orange cat – showed me their new space, which is still partially under reconstruction, and she told me that Bushwick location won’t have regular gallery hours like the Soho gallery. “It will be an event and project space,” she said.  Christina also said that they would like to experiment in Bushwick more than they do in Soho, and they have already made some exciting plans. In March, they will present an architectural installation of a Brooklyn-based sculptor, Ben Wolf.

Kesting/Ray represents several awesome artists, including street artist Swoon. They currently have two of Swoon’s pieces hanging inside, and there is another awesome Swoon pasted on the outside. Christina said that they didn’t know about that when they were buying the building. It’s just a lucky coincidence.

While Kesting/Ray is, with its love for street art and experimental installations, nothing like the art world giant Luhring Augustine who also bought a building in Bushwick, one cannot help but wonder what the move of the galleries from the city will create in the neighborhood. Christina said that she went to the Confronting Bushwick talk at The Bogart Salon held last month, and it was interesting. Both she and her husband David Kesting used to have galleries in Williamsburg, and so they can tell “how the history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes“. Christina says that she does observe the change, however doesn’t like to get involved in the politics of it.

Christina Ray and David Kesting are both also artists and Bushwick residents. Christina said that they have so many friends in the neighborhood, it was only natural to open their second location here.