Art by Heidi Younger, Chris Wright, Marina Ross, and Ron Richter
We also have made a Facebook event for our art show SHOWTIME: Underground Arts, which so far features art by Chris Wright, David Everitt-Carlson, Ron Richter, Marina Ross, and Heidi Younger and will be opening October 3. We are hoping to get more artists involved before the Sept 19 deadline– if you have any art to submit or would like to perform at the opening, please send me an email at email@example.com.
BuskNY is pleased to announce that we are open for submissions for our upcoming exhibition. Please submit your work or share this information with any artists you know whose work is relevant to our theme!
“SHOWTIME: Underground Arts”
OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
BUSKNY ART SHOW at Armature Art Space
BuskNY and Armature Art Space invite you to submit work for “SHOWTIME,” an exhibition of art made in and about the subway and public transit.
BuskNY is an arts advocacy organization that was created in 2013. Our mission is to generate broad awareness of the legality of artistic performance in the New York City subway, in order to end wrongful ejection, ticketing, and arrest of subway performers. While our primary focus is on musicians and performing artists, we also promote the creation, promotion, and sale of art by independent artists in the subway.
Through SHOWTIME, we will support visual artists whose work deals with or is made or sold in public transit and public space, with a particular focus on art made in the subway system itself. SHOWTIME will refocus the subway art dialogue on work made by independent artists, and publicly reemphasize that all New Yorkers can participate in the creative process.
Our partner, Armature Art Space, is a Bushwick gallery that showcases local artists using traditional media. Armature, which describes itself as “the support (or “armature”) on which artists can express themselves and around which artists may build community,” has graciously offered its gallery space free of charge.
The opening reception for SHOWTIME will feature refreshments and live performances by visual artists and prominent subway musicians.
Show dates: October 3-12
Opening: Friday, October 3 7-11 PM
Submission deadline: September 19
Work dropoff times: Minimum 3 days before opening
Work pickup times: Sunday, October 12 1-5 PM
Address: Armature Art Space, 316 Weirfield St, Brooklyn, NY
Submission information appears on the following page. We appreciate your interest, and will respond to all queries in a timely manner. Please feel free to forward this message to other artists, and to connect with us online at buskny.com or armatureartspace.org.
Please send all submissions and inquiries to Milo Wissig, firstname.lastname@example.org, with SHOWTIME SUBMISSION in the subject line. Please include an image of the piece[s] you would like to submit with the file name formatted as: Name_Title_HeightxWidthxDepth_Medium_Year.jpg.
The images should be 72 DPI JPEGs about 1000 pixels wide. Please include the following information:
If you choose to sell your work, you will receive 100% of the retail price. (Armature Art Space takes no commissions).You may submit up to six pieces for consideration; we will likely choose 1 to 3.
This Thursday we attended the 7th quarterly Busker Ball, an event organized by Theo Eastwind, in which some of the best buskers in New York performed at Williamsburg bar and music venue Spike Hill. Theo has been inviting us to speak about busker’s rights, distribute flyers and sell t-shirts for the past few Busker Balls.
The lineup for this season’s show:
Theo Eastwind Band
Matthew Christian, back from Dakar, gave a presentation about BuskNY. Matthew outlined what we’ve done in the past year and our current projects, and announced our plans for the 2014 BuskNY T-shirt.
It turned out Matthew had left a cache of misprints of last year’s shirt in a drawer. We sold a few but gave most of them away to the performers.
Our design for this summer’s shirt. I’m planning on cleaning it up a bit and printing with four colors on dark colored shirts. I’m using a different technique of printing this time in which each layer will be hand-painted directly onto the screens without the need for photo emulsion or an exposure unit.
Following the success of last year’s Kickstarter campaign, we will be raising the money to make our new shirts free to all performers. We would like to include footage of a variety of buskers in our video, so if you would like to participate you can either send your own brief clips (webcam or phone video is fine) of yourself performing or speaking about busking and police harassment to email@example.com, or contact us so that we can film you ourselves later in the month when we’re putting the video together.
The next Busker Ball is October 30th at 7:30 at Spike Hill!
Almost immediately after we started giving them out, we began spotting our “Music is Legal!” t-shirts all over the city. Now that we’ve managed to distribute most of this summer’s supply, we’re creating a gallery of photos performers wearing the shirts.
Compared to musicians, we don’t encounter many visual artists in the New York subway system. Sure, the MTA has done significant work bringing visual art into public spaces, but we rarely see the process: even people sketching strangers on the train in little Moleskine notebooks are a rare sight. So I’m always excited to hear about somebody painting down there:
Chris Wright, the professor at Pratt who taught me how to paint with oils, has been posting pictures on his Tumblr blog of oil paintings he’s done on the G line platforms (as well as just about everywhere else!)
Flushing Avenue G August 16, 2013 (12:00-3:00 pm)
Classon Avenue G September 7, 2013 (12:00-2:00 pm)
Very exciting to see painting not only on display, but actually being made in the transit network. Clearly, this is something that the public has an interest in protecting.You can see more of Chris Wright’s work at his web site, chriswrightpaintings.com.
On our way back from Harlem, Matthew and I stopped to pick up some cheese at the Westside Market on 14th St. and ran into balloon sculptor Zoom in the tunnel. We had met Zoom a few times before, and in fact still have a gift from him, one of his heart flower balloons, slowly shriveling on top of a dresser.
This time, we got this great balloon clown. Everyone was jealous of it. Or terrified. It was hard to tell.
Matthew and Zoom
Nothing seems to lower Matthew’s inhibitions quite like holding a silly prop does. Enjoying the reactions of strangers to the balloon man, he asked our train neighbor what we should name it.
I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting busking updates — there aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes! But today saw a couple things that I can’t avoid sharing.
1. At Hunter College, one man bent over to put a dollar in my case while carrying a baby. The baby was carrying a bag of cheerios, and, in the spirit of charity, decided to pour ALL OF THEM INTO MY CASE. In other news, I still had a great day out — apparently busking while surrounded by cheerios doesn’t hurt your earnings too badly.
2. On the Union Square L platform, I ran into Larry and Sonia Wright drumming. (You should click that link by the way — the video will move anyone who’s seen him play). Just down the platform from them was a guy drawing portraits of riders. And right around him were Larry Wright’s sons, waiting to get on the train and dance.
Needless to say, I got my portrait done, there on the platform, surrounded by Larry Wright’s kids and by the sound of bucket drumming. It felt like home.
If you are approached by police while performing in accordance with MTA rules, you have the right to continue your work. It is highly recommended to film the encounter, to display the MTA rules (we’ll mail you a copy free), and to state the officer’s badge number out loud.
If you are arrested for doing so, you have not committed a crime, and you have the right to a wrongful arrest lawsuit. See “Who To Call” for more information on doing so.
So, the big news from today is that I was arrested for a third time. Here’s how it happened:
I arrived at 68th St at 12:10 PM, unpacked, stood up with the instrument, and saw a police officer on the other platform as I did so. He shined his flashlight at me and shouted: “Not today!”
Well, it just so happens that I believe that music’s legal. So I hollered back: “Yes! Today!” Then I launched “Gigue” from the third Bach partita, and the officer set off for the stairs to reach my platform.
By the time he reached me, I had my instrument in its case to avoid damage. He told me to leave, I asked why, and this is what we established as the situation:
I then said that I was clear on the rules [“The following nontransit uses are permitted by the Authority, provided they do not impede transit activities and they are conducted in accordance with these rules: public speaking; campaigning; leafletting or distribution of written noncommercial materials; activities intended to encourage and facilitate voter registration; artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations; solicitation for religious or political causes; solicitation for charities.”], and that I would continue to perform until given a summons or being arrested.
Officer Kennedy — who had given me his name and badge number on request — said he would “call a unit” to arrest me, and that in the meantime, I could speak with the station manager. I went up, called Milo to say I’d be arrested soon, and talked to the station manager. This is what I found out:
I went back downstairs to meet my fate, and shortly afterward, two more officers arrived, one in a blue shirt and one white-shirt. They conferred with Officer Kennedy, then left without talking to me. After that, I waited for a possible arrest on my platform, and Officer Kennedy waited across the tracks without saying a word. I felt about like this:
After a long period of waiting, I wanted to work or be arrested, not sit around and be scared of some pseudo-legal threat. So, I got out the violin again. Officer Kennedy waved his arms, disappeared upstairs, and came back down a minute later with a new story, this time about a non-existent permit:
Since he was back in my face, I asked what options there were at that point. He still wanted me to leave “voluntarily”, which is how the NYPD says “through intimidation and without any legal justification.” I wasn’t having it and asked again if he would proceed to arrest:
Now, I’m not sure what was said in his initial meeting with his superiors, but I think he had cold feet at this point. In any case, he called for backup a second time, and I got to talk to Officer Bastien, who asked why it was legal to play:
Strangely, his curiosity about the law seemed to evaporate when he had the chance to have a copy of the rules in his hands. He changed to a new tactic, telling me that the rules could be “overruled” in the case of a safety problem.
Here’s the second part of his explanation of why police officers can decide the law:
I understand what he was saying, but what I didn’t see was the safety problem on that platform, which I repeatedly pointed out was quite empty. He finally said that he couldn’t explain the problem since he wasn’t there when I was asked to leave, and I asked if Officer Kennedy could explain it to me again:
Check out that long pause when he’s asked if Officer Kennedy can identify a safety concern. The reason he comes up with: “He asked you to stop playing and you would not stop.” So essentially, I was performing, there was no safety concern — but when I was then asked to leave the station and refused despite intimidation, THEN there was a safety concern.
And THIS reasoning, ladies and gentlemen, justified my arrest. Just after this video, Officer Bastien walked over to his superior, Sgt. Robson. There was a ten-second conversation, then Sgt. Robson approached me, ordered me to put my hands behind my back, and had me step against the wall.
Today was a great day to catch performances by other artists. (Seems like Saturday really brings out the best underground!) Highlights included a djembé player on the 86th 4/5, steelpan at the 42nd St ACE, and a really outstanding dance show at Union Square. Now, I don’t think I perform badly — but acts like these are doing the heavy lifting in terms of exhibiting and generating new culture. More power to you guys!
I also met a violin teacher en route from Philadelphia to Ithaca for a violin workshop. She performs herself — in the Philly subway — and said that her experiences there motivated her to become a teacher. Funny: many people assume subway performances are the end of the line for musicians. But if you listen to our stories, it turns very often that the subway is a beginning.
I had planned to play at 81st St Natural History — a station that’s known as “dangerous” for performers — for my last hour. But when I got there at 5:00, the “safe” side of the station was taken by an erhu player. I’m supposed to be standing up for my rights — but at that moment I was tired, I wasn’t dressed warmly enough for jail, and I didn’t want to stand up a friend for dinner. So today, I went home without playing.
Shucks: I guess that’s what they call intimidation. But don’t fret, 81st. I’ll be back soon!
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