Call for Bushwick presented a challenge to artists this year, being hosted in an abandoned commercial space in Bushwick, 98 Moore street. A dead zone for real estate because of the neighborhoods crime rate and location just a little too far from the subway lines it is also held in one of those “alternative spaces” that can be tricky depending on how complicated your installation is and if you have the right tools. The walls are made of exposed brick, the space is dark and massive. The time of the show is during Bushwick Open Studios but it couldn’t be a further cry from the swamped avenues of the Jefferson L stop or the Morgan L stop where the Williamsburg-y crowds take their venture into the, now safer than ever, Bushwick neighborhoods right off of the L train. This was a real destination art show, so to speak, bringing in artists from New Jersey, Philadelphia, and even Norway, Korea, and China to name a few places into this cavernous unused commercial space known to the community as “Utopia”. Artists Jess Ledbetter, Laura Cuille and Jade Fusco are the proprietors of the space during the rest of the year, using it as an art studio and showspace for theater, art, rock n roll, and all other types of shows. On this weekend it has been converted into the home of Call For Bushwick’s annual show.
This years show features the works of Christian Brogi, Jennifer Celio, Amy Cheng, Mariano Del Rosario, Raquel Du Toit, Zachary Emig, Carolyn Frischling, Sunil Garg, Kikki Ghezzi, Sarika Goulatia, Robert Hardgrave, Benjamin Hersh, Bonny Leibowitz, Melissa Maddoni Haims, Therese Mathiesen, Daina Mattis, Keiko Miyamori. Suzanne Morlock, Gabriella Rouiller, Soyeon Shin, Christine Soccio, Shahar Tuchner, Hyojin Yoo, Seo Kyeong Yoon, Sun Young Kang, Guang Zhu. A soft nylon string acoustic guitar plays out for the last hour of the opening, played by Sam Yield who is sitting in the middle of the show-space amongst the artworks, looking like a piece himself.
Sunil Garg is dressed in a sweatshirt with a neon green blacklight that borders the hood of his sweatshirt, matching his neon lit work that is hanging in the darkest corner of the room. Zachary Emig has adjusted his work to fit the challenging space by building a wooden frame to allow the entirety of his piece to fit under the ceilings that, for a piece like that, should be much taller. The selection panel this year was Peter Frank, Maria Constanza Cerullo, Zola Nyambu, Vida Sabbaghi, Theodore Bajard and Victor Le Fell who separated the winners from the 500 plus applicants to this years call.
The title of the show is “The Rebirth of Wonder”, allowing the selection panel to welcome artworks that inspire the feeling of awe when face to face with authentic living artists works in such a remote and raw space. This show was a diamond in the rough, an obstacle of interrupted train service on the M and J line matched with the discreteness of the building itself with the window guards pulled down, anyone could walk right past it, but for those who rose to the occasion the pay off was really incredible. As the evening lingered on and the crowds thinned out a deep feeling of summer satisfaction descended on my soul. As a keen observer myself I felt the delicacy of wonder and contentment.