The most recent Bushwick Art Crit Group, which took place at Brooklyn FireProof’s ‘Temporary Storage’ gallery space, was host to the theme #nativeBushwick. Founder Christopher Stout states that “Even before Bushwick was a media darling neighborhood, there were a lot of REALLY AMAZING artists in our community! [Native Bushwick is about] celebrating and learning about the work of artists who are notably born in Bushwick!”
Anthony went first and discussed his collage work and discussed how windows and skin colors are a major theme in his works. He states that “whiteness and eurocentricity wrap around the earth for a fabrication of normalcy.” He also discusses one piece entitled Flesh Tint in reference to the paint color which shows a collage of two European white men with white thumb prints on top of the image and states that that color is “not my flesh tint,” and that the picture represents people “planning for a future of whiteness.”
Next, Noel Hennelly, who was a 3rd generation Bushwick native talked about her tint pieces and how she interprets changes in the city as waves of different cultural institutions move into the area. She considers the bleakness of the urban landscape that she experienced growing up but also how there is “hidden life and possibility in the bleak urban desert.” She also gets a lot of inspiration from the Spanish poet Garcia Lorca, and in the diverse way she gains inspiration, there are just as many facets to her work. She paints over her own photographs incorporating animals as totems that turn into “beautiful morphologies.” She ends her talk reminiscing about the values and concepts of an‘ideal landscape,’ which for her is Switzerland. Happily she states, “The sound of music backdrop is a real place!”
Jendog Lonewolf took the state after Hennnelly, starting out with an insight into her life as a “teaching, touring, hip hop photographer, moment catcher, ghetto ambassador.” She works in photography and has several interesting ongoing series including one focusing simply on trash piles in NYC and another just of people’s feet. She’s also done photo work in Sri Lanka after the war. She then also picks up the theme of gentrification in Bushwick. “I’m not against change, just destruction,” she says as she leads into a performance piece on gentrification called “Brooklyn Beats.” She ends the performance with a plug to her online presence @ilovejendog.
“I hate public speaking,” says Bianca Perez, who had her photography on the screen. All of her pieces were untitled images that focused on themes of alienation and the concept of jamais vu, being a stranger in an unfamiliar landscape. She focuses her lens on physical structures and how buildings function when gentrification becomes a space issue. “A driving force of change is space, and natives feel imposed upon,” she laments upon the construction of new buildings. Her camera angles suggest a witness/voyeur viewpoint and she does not do any form of photo editing on her pieces. When thinking about living space, she often ponders the question ‘what is it like to live near a river or a cottage in the woods?’ When looking at her work, one must consider ‘what is it like to take over someone else’s space at the cause of gentrification?’
Last, Danielle De Jesus talks about her photography and personal fight against gentrification in her family home. She’s been doing photography since 2008 and seeks to document “the Bushwick I know and love so much” while also reflecting on life in Bushwick prior to the influx of gentrification as well as ideas focusing on nostalgia, home, and place. She has had a particularly tough experience with gentrification, in that her mother’s landlord tried to buy them out. She stood her ground and was able to help her mother keep her home. After sharing a private photo of her family gathering at Christmas with someone, she did not receive the comments she was expecting. The photo showed her family smoking and drinking and playing with the kids, and the viewer felt it could be shameful to represent one’s family this way, but De Jesus strongly disagrees. She ends with reiterating how important it is “to share your story how you want to.”
Bushwick Art Crit Group is a monthly gathering that is free and open to the public.
More information here: bushwickartcritgroup.com
Bianca Perez on instagram: @yung_plath
Anthony Rosado on instagram: @anthonywash.rosado