Bushwick Art Openings: Tattooed Babies and Indestructible Books

03/05/2012 11:20 AM |

Slag
  • Sculptures by Jason Clay Lewis, at Slag.

Editor’s note: Let us now welcome Paul D’Agostino as The L’s new art correspondent (dateline, Bushwick). Paul has written for us before, translating the international news and reporting from Iceland (obviously). Paul is a Sagittarius who enjoys long walks on sand-strewn rooftops and the comedy of Jonathan Winters.

Friday night’s breeze-backed drench and dankness did little relenting before the wee hours of the morning, but they weren’t quite enough to put a damper on a number of art openings in Bushwick. The 56 Bogart building, for instance, was in full swing, with opening receptions going on in several of its mixedly neophyte spaces.

At Studio 10, now several shows deep into the grooves of its digs, was the opening of Tim Spelios’ solo exhibit, Scissors, Paper, Glue and Books I Can’t Cut Up, where a centerpiece installation of titularly-implied unharmable books atop makeshift tables are nonetheless legible, punlessly, as source materials and process for the meticulously polished collage products lining two walls and largely covering another. Well preserved vintage miscellanea are everywhere abundant, but colorful flashes do here and there blaze.

New to 56 Bogart though not quite a new gallery, Slag is Bushwick’s most recent transfer from Chelsea (at the time of this writing, at any rate; that claim might well be false in a few hours or days), and the inaugural exhibit in their new surroundings features sculptures to be both revered and feared, by Jason Clay Lewis, and a series of gingerly weathered, nebulous photographic images by Andrew Sroka that achieve something of a similar effect.

Down the hall from Slag is Interstate Projects, where Jesse Hulcher’s solo exhibit, The Remaster Cycle, commingles video, installation and audio works in a thematic entanglement of Groundhog Day, The Grateful Dead and cinematic representations of the Vietnam War, the artist’s curiously elected indices of mediated codes and repetition. One surmises one should visit once again.

In a different neck of quasi-Bushwick, over in the 1717 Troutman building—itself soon to become another hub, one reckons, for transplanted or nascent art spaces—is Regina Rex, where drizzle-undaunted throngs gathered for the opening of a show cleverly juxtaposing John Almanza’s abstract paintings, reductive in their painstaking process and variably airy, with the heft and material severity of Dave Hardy’s spatially grounding, found-mass-mounted sculptures. What results is a sense of inorganic symbiosis: the former lift lightly the latter while the latter reciprocally keep forms firmly landed. Regina Rex has been assembling great shows for years now, but the holistic whiteness of their space has perhaps never functioned, or been tempered, more handsomely.

Official or not, the afterparty nearby at Pearl’s was no less enjoyable but made far less sense. The rain, at least, had finally let up for one’s stroll home.

Studio 10
  • The crowd at Studio 10.

Studio 10
  • Collages by Tim Spelios.

Studio 10
  • Tim Spelios’ source materials, sort of.

Studio 10
  • Tim Spelios’ broader wall-work.

Slag
  • The crowd at Slag with Our Lady as illumined overseer.

Slag
  • Andrew Sroka at Slag.

Interstate Projects
  • Churning out The Grateful Dead. Jesse Hulcher at Interstate Projects.

Interstate Projects
  • Channeling the Vietnam War. Jesse Hulcher at Interstate Projects.

Regina Rex
  • Front to Back: Sculpture by Hardy, crowd, painting by Almanza. At Regina Rex.

Regina Rex
  • Grounded fore to an airier aft. Hardy and Almanza at Regina Rex.

Rico
  • Ever the poly-charmed charmer of crowds is Rico Gatson, left, at Regina Rex.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio