If you’re in New York on the third weekend of October and you wake up to a sunny and crisp autumn day, head immediately out to Gowanus, Brooklyn for the annual Open Studios weekend. The volume and variety of artists showing is dizzying, and seeing them exhibit their art on the walls of their workrooms is a special treat — not to mention the opportunity to speak directly with artists themselves.
The event started over 20 years ago, filling a role as the fall counterpart to the DUMBO Open Studios held annually in May. As DUMBO exploded in the aughts (becoming New York City’s most expensive rental neighborhood), many artists retreated south to find more affordable, formerly-industrial buildings where they could set up shop. Today, Gowanus Open Studios features over 300 artists in dozens of venues scattered around the neighborhood’s legendarily toxic canal. Can Gowanus remain a financially viable home base for artists in the long term? Let’s hope so. Open Studios reminds us every year what a vibrant neighborhood it is, coursing with creative independence.
Here are some of my favorites from 2018.
Patrick J Campbell
http://www.imxprs.com/free/wunderhome/final-design | https://www.instagram.com/wunderhome | Campbell’s trompe l’oeil dioramas wonderfully blend illusion and idiosyncrasy.
http://www.agdir.org/artist/artist.php?id=519&ret=3 | https://www.instagram.com/michaelamendolara | I’m drawn to the richness of Amendolara’s colors and the deepness of his blacks (which can’t be fully done justice in these pictures).
http://kennethwongart.com | I always stop in to see Kenneth Wong’s studio. He captures faces — particularly women’s expressions — with incredible specificity and emotion.
http://www.ericaharris.org | Sublime collage. Harris calls it “art made with found stuff” but that diminishes the wholly transfiguring quality of what she produces.
http://www.amyweilpaintings.com | There’s a tricky balance that Weil achieves on both large and small canvases, excavating and layering imagery to wonderful effect.