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Contemporary art in Brooklyn: interview with Alessandro Berni, Founder of Call For Bushwick

Contemporary art in Brooklyn: interview with Alessandro Berni, Founder of Call For Bushwick
Call for Bushwick 2013 Artist Winner Seunghui Koo.

Ashton Chandler interviews Alessandro Berni, Founder of Call For Bushwick, an international competition for artists to exhibit their work in NYC. Alessandro discusses this year's program and the opportunities available for emerging artists. 



AC: Give us a brief overview of the background of Call for Bushwick 2014 and what makes this year’s programme unique and exciting and why artists should submit their work by the April 26th, 2014 deadline.

AB: The contest 'Understanding Media: The Extensions of Human Being' is very challenging and represents a concrete opportunity for artists to be able to measure their own creativity with the cutting edge of today and, why not, tomorrow too. From our side, the great surprise has been that several artists have written saying that they are creating new works for the award but that they worry that they are unable to finish because they are late. This issue has motivated us to extend the deadline from the April 9th to April 26th, 2014.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2013 Artist Winner Antonella Raio.



AC: The concept for this year’s exhibition is “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Human Being' How did this concept come about?

AB: I personally came up with this concept and wrote the text. It’s born from a reading of the book: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, by Marshall McLuhan. I realised how the world has totally changed in just 50 years: The invasion of technology in each individual's life has in turn contaminated  the lives of billions of people; The extensions (and amputations) of our senses and bodies provoked by machinery; the connivance between an IT-world and Ante-IT-world; the geographic vertigos caused by passage from a Gutember Galaxy to a Google Galaxy. 

Have you noticed how many hours per day we spend in front of a screen? Even with this interview. You sent me questions from your desk in London. I’ve answered from my desk in New York, without ever seeing each other for a second. Starting from these connected reflections I created the context for this year's award.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn. Call For Bushwick 2013 Artist Winner David D. Oquendo.



AC: Do you have particular visions in mind for how artists may realise this topic or are you completely open-minded to see how artists interpret this concept into their work?

AB: All media is welcome without any preset limitations for the dimensions of the works. The place of the show will be chosen in consideration of the artists selected. First we select the works, then we choose the right space to show them. This is another unicity of our contest.
The selection panel consists of 5 art world professionals from varying institutions.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2014 Artist Candidate Bing Hu.



AC: Will these panelists be providing/or available to provide additional feedback to artists other than their selections during the process?

AB: We hope that the jurors don’t provide just additional feedback, but that they will be able to find concrete opportunities for the winners of this edition. This, couldn’t be a promise but a concrete wish. Call for Bushwick wants to be a significant step for the career of each winner.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2014 Artist Candidate Qiuyi Chen.



AC: Tell us about the success of Call for Bushwick 2013 and what you predict for this year’s show?

AB: Call for Bushwick 2013 had thousand of visitors. We remained definitely larged impressed by the crowd of people present during each hour of the show.
As for this year, I’ve been sincerely daunted by the strong CVs of some artists that have already applied. Likely I don’t vote. This aspect keeps me out of a situation that could be really embarrassing because of the artists that won’t be selected.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2013, Artist Winner Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos.



AC: Describe the contemporary art scene in Bushwick right now and why artists from both in the area and from all over the world should be exhibiting their work there?

AB: Bushwick is the only neighbourhood in New York where you can find the cutting edge of the town. When I have to talk about the average artist that lives here, I don’t like to use the word emergent or underground. There are a lot of solid artists ready to be launched in the art market. Born from an initiative of a small group of friends, in few years, Bushwick Open Studios has became a real chance to showcase your work to art advisors and gallerists, a concrete opportunity to definitely change your professional life.



Michela Bondardo, Board Member of MoMA and Juror of Call for Bushwick 2014.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2014 Artist Candidate Ian Ferguson.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2014 Artist Candidate Marlene Siff.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2014 Artist Candidate Heryk Tomassini.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2014 Artist Candidate Hermes Lacatena.



Contemporary art in Brooklyn: Call For Bushwick 2014 Artist Candidate Yusam Sung. 



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