Skip to content

December 15th at 5 PM

December 13, 2016

We will be screening my film Jonathan Silver: Infidel in the Studio again on December 15th at 5 PM.

Filming at Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd Ave NY)

Hope to see you there!js-lower-room-gif

Advertisements

Interview with Jason Patrick Voegele From The Lodge Gallery

May 27, 2014

by 

Co-founder and Executive Director of The Lodge Gallery Jason Patrick Voegele

Can you tell us about your background and how you ended up at The Lodge Gallery?

I’m an American citizen but I grew up in South East Asia. Hong Kong and then Taiwan and Singapore respectively. In 1991 I graduated from Taipei American School and came to New York to become the next big thing like everyone else. I went to college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I studied painting and then returned to Pratt shortly thereafter to get my masters degree in studio art and art history. In between those years I lost myself studying comparative religions and mythology. That is still my primary passion.

After grad school I went to work in SoHo and Chelsea for some of the coolest galleries I knew that would employ me. I worked up front in sales and behind the scenes as a registrar and preparator for about ten years. Eventually I left all that and started my first gallery in Brooklyn, and then started Republic Worldwide in 2009. Republic did a lot of things and was staffed by the coolest smartest kids I could find. We had a curatorial division, a service/art handling division and a community/charity division that donated time and creative resources to various charities around NYC. We did some amazing work and some amazing shows and then the original team disbanded in early 2011 right around the time I met Keith Schweitzer. Keith had been up to a similar game out in the city when we met. He had founded two of his own curatorial projects and was out there hustling with the best of them. He was the first person I had worked with in New York that could see the future that I saw in a like-minded way. A mutual friend put us in touch and after our first project working together we pretty much became inseparable. We fused all of our work and our vision together under the banner of Republic and around January of 2013, after a long hard stretch of exhibitions in NYC and Miami we seized the opportunity to take over a space on the Lower East Side. It became our permanent venue shortly thereafter. The space became The Lodge of the Republic or The Lodge Gallery. Today The Lodge is the heart of everything we do.

(L-R) Jason Patrick Voegele and Keith Schweitzer. Photo by The Logde Gallery

You have a passion for working and giving back to the community. Why is working with the community so important to you?

I have always believed that we enrich our own lives by helping to enrich the lives of others. That’s been part of our mission at Republic and The Lodge from the start.

When I was a kid my mother’s father was the Secretary of Labor for the state of Idaho, my father’s father was a decorated Major in the Army Corps of Engineers and my father, who also grew up as an expatriate American in Europe and The Middle East, worked his whole life to better the reputation of Americans abroad. They all believed that if you want a better America you have to step up and become a better American. I suppose in my own small art world way I’ve been trying to do that.

Especially here in New York the art world can become so insular. I like working with artists and finding projects that engage new audiences to help develop relationships between communities that would not otherwise have interacted. There are a lot of ways to do that and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a great many talented and selfless people who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. It’s a hugely rewarding and educational experience every time I have the chance to engage with a new cause or visionary community organization.

NO CITY IS AN ISLAND at The Lodge Gallery

That’s really great Jason. The world needs more people like you. Can you talk about the current show at The Lodge Gallery NO CITY IS AN ISLAND?

Sure, in February we were approached by Christy Rupp who is an original member of the art collective Colab. We had exhibited Christie’s work in the past so she was familiar with the gallery and Keith and I were aware of Colab and their influence on the Lower East Side so everyone was excited to put this project together.  The Colab Collective is probably best known for their revolutionary 1980 exhibition “The Real Estate Show” which was organized in response to the grim economic conditions facing tenants of what was then, although culturally thriving, a nearly bankrupt, violent and desperate New York City. The show was confrontational, installed in a space that was occupied illegally and really galvanized the artist community, the press and city officials who shut the show down.

We reached out to as many of the original artists from that exhibition as we could and offered them the opportunity to submit work in response to the project title “NO CITY IS AN ISLAND”. The response turned out to be phenomenal and perhaps with the exception of only two or three artists, most of the work in the show ended up ranging from the late 80′s to the early 90′s.

“NO CITY IS AN ISLAND” revisits the zeitgeist of a New York City that is all but a memory now. It compares and contrasts the artists and urban realities of a New York that was struggling through a period of intense transformation. One of the most interesting aspects of this project has been getting to know these artists and to watch them reunite with the same love of New York and passion for their work and at a time when the subject of intense urban transformation could not be more relevant.

Another cool thing about the show is that it came together just in time for Lower East Side history month and is part of a multi-venue celebration of Colab and revisitation of “The Real Estate Show” with James Fuentes Gallery, Chuchifritos Gallery and ABC No Rio.

The exhibition is on view through May 11.

Opening night for NO CITY IS AN ISLAND at The Lodge Gallery

I went to James Fuentes Gallery for the opening and it was great; a lot of the artists where there. Speaking of real estate, how do you feel about having so many galleries opening up in the Lower East Side?

Yeah, the Fuentes show was awesome. It’s been great to see such an outpouring of support for Lower East Side history and for so many of the artists that early on helped to make this neighborhood legendary.

There has definitely been a huge boom in the number of galleries popping up down here and it has been great for the community. It’s been a long time coming though. I recall in the early 90’s there was a big push to legitimize the art scene down here and I think it fell apart primarily because the gallery visions and business concepts were based on an antiquated models that inhibited creativity and were inevitably unsustainable. The reason I believe it is working now is that the new galleries of the L.E.S., each in their own way, have embraced alternative business models and have begun to wonder if the traditional idea of a gallery can’t be broadened or reimagined to suit a new cultural reality. I also think that artists are getting smarter, more business savvy and more capable of self-marketing. Many of the brightest are interested in engaging with dealers and curators in more creative ways that require flexibility on the part of gallerists that you are just not going to find up on 57th street or within the Chelsea scene. Call it a generational shift. It feels like there is a generational shift going on down here.

Co-founder and Director of The Lodge Gallery Keith Schweitzer

What alternative business model does The Lodge Gallery use?

Well Keith and I wear a lot of hats. We do everything from corporate/private art consultation and installation to directing public art programs, marketing and art fair development. That’s all in addition to the gallery and the exhibitions we curate there together. The more we are able to strengthen our network while generating alternative sources of revenue, the freer we are to be experimental with our schedule, our artists and our exhibitions. The idea of trying to meet the bottom line exclusively through art sales alone has been the standard model for decades if not the last hundred years. It’s a slippery slope though because once those rent and electric bills start to roll in it becomes very easy to be tempted into only showing the most sellable work, the most palatable and marketable work. That means artists who are testing limits or pushing experimental boundaries have to take a back seat to the bottom line. We feel like part of our job is to cultivate and facilitate opportunities for artists first. In that spirit we don’t require our artists to sign exclusivity contracts. We don’t represent artists at The Lodge; we represent bodies of work that we consign directly from artists for pre-arranged periods of time.

We also have a uniquely unusual schedule to accommodate a broader audience. Tuesdays through Sunday we have fairy normal daytime gallery hours and then at 8pm we bring in our night staff and stay open until midnight. Our official closing time is 10pm but we are almost always here until midnight. Most people think those hours sound crazy until they find out about the secret behind the west wall of the gallery. Evenings are never boring at The Lodge.

Artist Frank Webster

I love your business model, especially the part that you don’t represent artists but bodies of work. What show are you curating next?

Well, by the time this will probably go to print we will be exhibiting the post-industrial urban landscape paintings of Frank Webster in a show titled: Margins. The opening for that is next Friday, May 16th so I hope you come. Very excited for that. It’s funny how sometimes you find out a lot about yourself by looking back at the work you’ve done in the big picture. Sometimes you discover patterns of interest. Frank’s exhibition further explores our interest in urban architecture and if you look back at the last year and a half at the Lodge Gallery it’s pretty obvious that Keith and I are smitten with that subject. But we are interested in a lot of things and the show following that will be a large group exhibition exploring the natural evolution of birds and plants.

Opening night for Frank Webster’s Margins

I have to attend an earlier opening in Chelsea that night but after that I am open. What advice can you give artists on how to they should approach a gallery?

Well the first piece of advice I would give any artist is to narrow down the playing field. By that I mean go out there and visit the galleries first. See them all and discover the ones that matter the most to you.  Seek out the galleries or alternative venues that exhibit other artists who share a similar vision to yours. Those are probably the handful of galleries you should be focusing on.

Building a career in the arts is all about building relationships and seizing opportunities. One side of this requires patience and a genuine commitment to your own goals and the shared long term goals of your friends or peers. The other side requires a commitment to your craft and the flexibility to grow and adapt to the challenges of an unpredictable art market.

Also, first impressions are everything so in this tech savvy world you better have great and up to date website. It’s going to be the primary way you promote yourself and the likely way curators and exhibitors are going to first encounter your work. Nine times out of ten when we are considering an unfamiliar artist for exhibition at the gallery they have come recommended from artists or gallerists we have worked with in the past or through due diligence were discovered in the archives of web based artist registries such as BAC.org, White Columns or Perogi among others. The first thing we do in either case is to look at the website.

Most of the Don’ts when approaching a gallery are just common sense. If anything when you have the chance to pitch your work, don’t try to be something you are not. Be realistic but be confident in yourself and be genuine. Nothing means more to someone when you’re trying to build a relationship than that. After that, it’s just a matter of your talent, your style and how hard you are willing to work before you find someone who believes in what you are doing.

Thanks for the great advice. What do you see on the horizon for Jason and The Lodge Gallery?

Well you know everything is always in a state of transformation. I’m excited to see what will become of The Lodge Gallery as we continue to pursue or original mission. As long as Keith and I are free to continue to develop programing that is relevant and engaging and in our own unique voice, and we can keep the gallery a gathering point for the observant and curious to experiment and  debate ideas, you can be certain that it will never be boring. What’s on my horizon? Well if anything my life has never been short of the unexpected or unusual so I can only predict more of my entertaining adventures to follow. Maybe one day soon I’ll get back to Hong Kong for a visit or write a book or something but for now I’m 100% focused on the Lodge and all of the exciting projects we have lined up for the Summer and Fall.  I encourage everyone to come on down to the L.E.S. for a visit to the gallery, I’ll most likely be here ready for a chat about whatever inspires you.

 

Interview by Jamie Martinez

Photography by Jamie Martinez and The Lodge Gallery

 

Click here to read the interview on artefuse.com

RESx (The Real Estate Show extended)

May 16, 2014
WHEN:

April 13, 2014 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

WHERE:
ABC No Rio
Rivington Street, New York, NY
United States

RESx
Complementing the exhibition at James Fuentes Gallery of original work from the Real Estate Show of 1980, this show features new work on the theme of real estate, land-use, and the right to a safe home.

From the original Real Estate Show Statement of Intent:
“This is a short-term occupation of vacant city-managed property… The occupation and exposition imposes a complex human system where previously there was no system — or only the system of waste and disuse that characterizes the profit system in real estate.”

The original Real Estate Show opened on New Year’s Eve, 1979 at 123 Delancey, now part of the proposed massive Essex Crossing development. The Real Estate Show led the creation of ABC No Rio.

RESx at ABC No Rio
Installation with Reception: April 9 at 7:00pm
Viewing Hours: Sun 2:00 — 5:00pm
Wed & Thrs 4:00 —7:00pm
Exhibition runs through May 8

For further information and additional public events related to this exhibition:

http://www.abcnorio.org/

 

Click here to read this article on www.leshistorymonth.org

Lower East Side: The Real Estate Show Redux

May 9, 2014

Click here to view the article’s original posting at studio international.

The Real Estate Show Revisited
James Fuentes, New York City
4-27 April 2014

RESx (The Real Estate Show Extended)
ABC No Rio, New York City
9 April – 8 May 2014

No City Is an Island
The Lodge Gallery, New York City
10 April – 11 May 2014

The Real Estate Show: What’s Next
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, New York City
19 April – 18 May 2014

by NATASHA KURCHANOVA

Real Estate was the name of the show. It opened on New Year’s Eve 1980 at an abandoned city-owned building, 125 Delancey Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. A few days beforehand, on Christmas Eve, several artists, some of whom were affiliated with the group Colab (Collaborative Projects), broke the lock on the door and replaced it with their own.  Then, on December 30, they returned, cleaned out piles of old junk stored inside, and proceeded with the installation.
The art on display was provocative in form and subject matter: it criticised poor living conditions, landlord extortion, and the city’s mismanagement of public and private property. Apart from its visual component, the show was also an act of protest. The Manifesto of Intent, signed by the committee of the Real Estate Show, emphasised that this act was a “short-term occupation of city-owned property” and that it was made in “solidarity with the oppressed people”, with “a recognition that artists, living and working in depressed communities are compradors in the re-valuation of property and the ‘whitening’ of neighbourhoods”.1 The exhibition was shut down and the work confiscated by city officials the day following the opening.

Despite its short lifespan, the Real Estate Show succeeded to an unprecedented extent: after a series of negotiations, the work was returned and the evicted artists received a building nearby, at 156 Rivington  Street, for their unlimited possession. Known as ABC No Rio, this centre remains an important place for the art of opposition and counterculture. There are four exhibitions on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that pay tribute to this historical event. James Fuentes has artworks from the original show on view until the end of April; ABC No Rio displays contemporary artists’ responses to the original exhibition; the Lodge Gallery shows former participants’ and affiliated artists’ artwork on the subject of real estate; and Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space has an exhibition and a “living project space” dedicated to events and performative action. There is also a staging of Locked, a play by David Vazdauskas inspired by the Real Estate Show, produced as part of the East Side Stories at the East Village Theater Festival at Metropolitan Playhouse in Manhattan, and a series of film screenings at ABC No Rio and the Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn

The exhibition at James Fuentes is the most straightforward historical tribute to the Real Estate Show’s existence, however short-lived. The artist Becky Howland, one of the organisers of the original exhibition, calls its revival exhibito interruptus, meaning that it is only now, more than 30 years after its opening and abrupt closing, that she can actually see this exhibition, at least partly, in the way it was intended to be presented to the public. A clear and visually appealing installation tells stories of struggle, risk-taking, resistance and victory. The light, airy cube of the gallery contains 38 works by 30 artists – about 80% of the original exhibition.2 It includes, among others, Jane Dickson’s striking paintings on garbage bags, Peter Moennig’s elaborate drawings of nightmarish plans for the city without neighbourhoods, Robert Goldman (Bobby G)’s piles of emptied cigarette boxes, Peter Fend’s mapped explorations of irresolvable conflicts between nature and industry, Coleen Fitzgibbon’s humorous anti-landlord flyers, Robin Winters’ provocative declarations, Howland’s posters with an octopus grabbing city real estate and Mike Glier’s bold black-and-white mural. Taken separately, the aesthetic merit of these works can be discussed and disputed. As a collective statement, however, the exhibition succeeded in recreating an atmosphere of cooperation, playfulness, determination and community-oriented spirit that guided these artists to mount an illegal action against the city government in the first place, but also, because of its defence of the underprivileged population, against inequities of the capitalist system as a whole.

While James Fuentes focused on reconstituting the content of the original exhibition, No City Is an Island at the Lodge Gallery agreed to display contemporary and historical works on related themes by the participants of the Real Estate Show and other affiliated artists. The Lodge Gallery exhibition was curated by its co-directors, Keith Schweitzer and Jason Patrick Voegele. From the participating artists’ side, it was organised by Christy Rupp, who came up with the title. As an environmental artist, it was important for her to emphasise the city’s dependence on the countryside for the energy, food, water and other resources that the megapolis receives from the land with no, or minimum, payback. Rupp’s own wall relief from 1983 and Fend’s drawings of cities as islands of bioproductivity perhaps relate most closely to the environmentally conscious thrust of her title. Other works – 26 altogether – cover a wide range of media, subjects and attitudes, from Charlie Ahearn’s posters and photographs inspired by the black resistance movement and a plaster relief of a shelter kid by his brother John to exquisite drawings of a light bulb by Kiki Smith and of a dead crab by Stefan Eins, who topped his work with a newspaper headline about Obama dismissing Russia as a “regional power”. There is also a remarkable washing machine by Ann Messner; a humorous drawing of a marriage of real estate and money on an island by Tom Otterness; works by Judy Rifka, Justen Ladda, Seton Smith, Walter Robinson, Joe Lewis and others.

ABC No Rio, which came into existence as a result of The Real Estate Show, is a “collectively run centre for art and activism” committed to social and political engagement.3 Initially, Howland, Alan W. Moore and Bobby G took care of the lease and the bills. In those early days, the centre’s programing presented exhibitions of visual arts, with evenings of poetry, music, and video. According to Howland, most of the works for the show at James Fuentes came from the ABC No Rio’s Collection and the ABC No Rio Archive.4 When it became evident that many artists wanted to make new work about real estate, Howland, in league with Moore, approached the collective with the idea of an exhibition in the spirit of the first show – open to all. The centre’s website warned that the work could be damaged during the Punk Matinees held every Saturday, which tend to be very rough, and artists were advised to make a copy of their contribution. In conjunction with the Real Estate Show Extended, ABC No Rio also offers a film programme, which includes rarely seen works by Liza Béar, Milly Iatrou and Ronald Morgan, Stephen Torton, and Ted Colless with Tim Burns, as well as films by Robert Cooney, Fitzgibbon, Andrea Callard, Sebastian Gutierrez, Ariana Allensworth, Teresa Basilio, Regina Eaton and Lili White. To complement this strong visual arts component, the centre scheduled a public discussion of community land trusts in New York, a growing grassroots movement of removing land from the market and placing it under control of community-based, nonprofit corporations.

Moore, an organiser and a self-designated chronicler of the Real Estate Show, remarked that the artists were well aware that what made this exhibition enter history was not so much the art on display, but rather its political edge, its “circumstances and the outcome”.5 While the outcome was the establishment of ABC No Rio; the circumstances consisted of a fiscal downturn and governmental mismanagement of the city property. As the group’s Manifesto of Intent makes clear, political framework was important because the show was all about politics, albeit on the local level of occupation and eviction. At the time the Real Estate Show opened, New York was still in the grips of the worst fiscal crisis in the city’s history, trying to keep itself afloat despite the federal government’s initial refusal to bail it out of impending bankruptcy. The Lower East Side was a site of abandonment and destruction, populated by poor immigrant communities and artists who often used space illegally, either by squatting – living in abandoned property without permission of its owners – or by living in their studios. In his book Art Gangs: Protest and Counterculture in New York City, Moore provides a vivid description of those times. “In the early 1970s, almost no one lived in Lower Manhattan,” he quotes artist David Reed. One “… could walk home from [the tavern] Max’s Kansas City on Park Avenue and 17th Street to his loft on Great Jones Street and not see a single person. Coming home late, the streets were abandoned and empty, totally quiet – no pedestrians, no traffic, no open restaurants or stores … higher up on the buildings, illegal residential tenants kept their windows dark.”6

According to Messner, who researched the history of the building, it was not by chance that the Real Estate Show succeeded as an act of defiance, because, unbeknown to the artists, its timing coincided with one of the worst failures in the history of city planning. There have been many attempts to revitalise the site on which the building stood since the mid-60s, including when 14 blocks of low-income housing in that area were demolished and 1,852 low-income families displaced.7 Initially, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (Spura), as the project became known, came into existence after Robert Moses’ and later Paul Rudolph’s controversial plans to build the Lower Manhattan Expresswaycame to naught. In the late 70s, there was a new development plan for Spura, put together by the Koch administration, which fell apart abruptly in 1979.8 It was very shortly after this that the artists occupied the building. They had no knowledge of the turbulent history of the site. All they knew was that they were in need of affordable living, working and exhibition space, and the city was not providing them with these amenities, while it owned plenty of abandoned or unused property. When the story about the artists’ break-in and their immediate eviction hit the papers, city officials were put on the spot. The last thing they wanted was spreading publicity about Spura, which would bring to public attention their managerial and planning failures. Although the artists were skilful negotiators, the presence of Joseph Beuys may have helped. He came to support them at one of the first press conferences held shortly after the city repossessed the building. He even contributed a small drawing of a hat on a statement co-signed by himself, Ron Feldman and John Halpern, which is displayed at James Fuentes.

It is the continuity in time and place – that is, the ability to reconstitute the show as a historical event – that is relevant today, not least because Spura’s aims of developing low-income housing were never achieved. Recently, this ill-fated project reemerged as Essex Crossing, another major redevelopment plan for this blighted urban area.9 The idea of “revisiting” the Real Estate Show came up in great part as a response to the unveiling of Essex Crossing. Dickson recalled that it was Howland who first remarked on the connection between the Real Estate Show and Essex Crossing, since it concerned the same site. Then Dickson discussed this idea with James Fuentes. Fuentes, who grew up in this neighbourhood, liked it, but he left it up to Dickson, Howland, Fitzgibbon, Bobby G and other former Colab members to locate the works and put the show together. A series of turbulent meetings ensued, in the course of which it became clear that the “revisiting” of the show required more than the remake of the original installation. It had to be expanded to include contemporary works about real estate both by the participants of the original show and any artist interested in subject. It also had to include performance, film screenings, and attempts to involve the public in the discussion about Essex Crossing and its possible effects on the neighbourhood.10 This is why multiple venues were needed.

The connection of the Real Estate Show to Essex Crossing is explored most directly in the installation at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space. Located within the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, which will soon be relocated and rebuilt to make room for Essex Crossing, Cuchifritos is directly affected by the proposed changes. As a response to this development, Bobby G, in cooperation with Messner and others, arranged an installation and performative space consisting of a sweet-potato cart, a common site in this neighbourhood in the early 1900s, an informational display with posters, books and leaflets relating to the controversy aroused by Essex Crossing. There is also a soapbox, which serves as a speaker’s platform for anyone willing to voice their opinion on the changes proposed for the neighbourhood (Frank Morales, Parrhesia. Free Speech on a Soapbox). According to Bobby G, who is in the gallery most of the time to engage visitors and introduce them to the space, as well as record their speeches on the soapbox, Essex Crossing is destroying the traditional fabric of the Lower East Side, since the design of the reconstructed market, with clearly visible Prada and Paul Smith shops, aims at a much wealthier clientele than its current customer base. As an artist, Bobby G is trying to educate the public about the forthcoming changes and provide them with a platform – literally – to express their views. Because the formation of his socially conscious outlook on art has been shaped by the Free Speech Movement, he made available for browsing a copy of Michael Rossman’s landmark book The Wedding within the War, which documents its history.

It remains unclear if any of the efforts to ignite a public discussion of the issues surrounding Essex Crossing will have an effect. Contemporary zeitgeist seems to be turning away from effective political action towards more conventional modes of artistic engagement. However, the “revisiting” of the Real Estate Show has definitely revived the spirit of Colab, which will hopefully have an impact on young artists who often heard about it indirectly, through books or word of mouth.

• I would like to thank Coleen Fitzgibbon, Bobby G, Ann Messner, Becky Howland, Jane Dickson, Christy Rupp and Alan Moore for providing first-hand information for this article both through interviews and informal conversations.

References
1. Manifesto of the Real Estate Show, 1979.
2. Interview with Becky Howland, 23 April 2014.
3. abcnorio.org/about/about.html
4. The ABC No Rio Collection was initiated by Alan Moore, and preserved by Jack Waters and Peter Cramer of Allied Productions, who were the second set of directors of ABC No Rio. The Archive was preserved under the care of the long-time director Steven Englander.
5. Excavating Real Estate by Alan W Moore. In: Imaginea special issue of the House Magic Review for the Real Estate Show Revisited(April 2014), page 4.
6. David Reed in High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967-1975edited by Katy Siegel, (2006) quoted in Art Gangs: Protest and Counterculture in New York City by Alan W. Moore, published by Autonomedia, 2011, pages 46-47.
7. (Re)visiting Spura: An exhibition by students of the City Studio at Eugene Lang College, The New School & Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani buscada.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/ReVisitingSPURA_newspaper_final.pdf
8. Interview with Ann Messner, 19 April 2014. See also the Creative Time website, where Messner gave a presentation on the Real Estate Show: creativetime.org/summit/2013/10/26/ann-messner
9. On Essex Crossing, see http://ny.curbed.com/tags/essex-crossing and http://essexcrossingnyc.com/about/.
10. On Spura and Essex Crossing, see After Years of Delay, a Lower East Side Gap Is Ready to Be Filled by Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, 26 February 2013, and They Kept A Lower East Side Lot Vacant for Decades by Russ Buettner, New York Times, 21 March 2014.

Colab, The Real Estate Show, and ABC No Rio: A History

May 9, 2014

Listen to the interview here…

http://clocktower.org/show/colab-the-real-estate-show-and-abc-no-rio-a-history

On the occasion of the exhibition “The Real Estate Show” at James Fuentes Gallery and other related exhibitions, this conversation features a discussion between artistsJane Dickson, Coleen Fitzgibbon, and Becky Howland about their involvement in the landmark art collective, Collaborative Projects, Inc., (familiarly known as Colab), and the 1980 Real Estate Show, which led to the creation of ABC No Rio cultural center. Fitzgibbon was one of the founding members of Colab in the late ’70’s. Howland was one of the principal organizers of the Real Estate Show, and a co-founder of ABC No Rio. Both Dickson and Howland were Colab members and officers in the 80s.

Colab is recognized as a “pioneer DIY arts collaboration,” lauded for its open policies and horizontal structure. The group produced a series of shows at artists’ lofts, live Cable TV broadcasts, annual stores of artists’ multiples, and the watershed “Times Square Show”, as well as initiatives like Betsy Sussler’s BOMB Magazine and Jane Dickson’s Times Square Spectacolor Board project.

The women discuss the drastically different climate of New York during the 1970s and 1980s, wherein artists could thrive and collaborate with “energy” and “serendipity” in a bankrupt city filled with derelict and abandoned buildings. The original “Real Estate Show” was held without permission in an abandoned building, and was quickly shut down by the authorities. The artists negotiated with city officials, obtained a storefront on Rivington Street, and in May 1980 opened the first exhibition at ABC No Rio.

The four 2014 exhibitions deal with past and future real estate issues in New York City: The Real Estate Show at James Fuentes Gallery had works and documentation from the original exhibition; The Real Estate Show: What Next at Cuchifritos Gallerywas a venue for events and activities related to the current real estate situation on the Lower East Side; RESx at ABC No Rio was a show — in the spirit of the original Real Estate Show — open to all on the theme of real estate; No City is an Island at The Lodge Gallery featured works by artists from Colab.

ORIGINALLY AIRED 5/5/14node-image_0 node-image_4 node-image_1 node-image_5 node-image_2 node-image_6 node-image_3 node-image_7 node-image_8

RESx (The Real Estate Show extended) in NYC 2014

May 3, 2014

 

Published on May 3, 2014

RESx
Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 9th, 5-8 PM

Exhibition Dates: April 9 — May 8, 2014

A Door / Una Puerta

May 1, 2014

By Juli Harrison

My last post, “A Real Estate Show,” garnered this response from a friend/colleague, and I thought it opportune to respond here.

Julie. ever since I read this blog post a couple of days ago I’ve been thinking about it, there’s something very disturbing, trying to put my finger on it. I think it is this: the dwellings you picture are dwellings, they are homes to actual people who have joys and sorrows, sicknesses and healths, generosities and greed – they are people like the rest of us, not statistics. I know this, I was in that same area many years ago: they are real people like the rest of us. what did you hope our, the readers, response would be? you offer no entrance here…

R, you’re not the only one who has found this post disturbing. “Depressing” is a word I heard. “Relevant” is another, putting our own [“American”] lives “into perspective.” I wanted to remove the subjective voice (just the facts, ma’am) but that’s a way of being subjective too, isn’t it? There are so many stats that I’m still compiling, issues crop up like a Whac-a-Mole and I’m trying to find a way through it myself, it’s a process to be sure.

Let me ask you, would you have felt the same way had I posted luxurious houses, beautiful homes? Would you still need a way to enter?

Statistics do represent real people. I post them to communicate a different picture, an overall demographic that is useful for the reader (and me) to understand particular aspects of a country. In this case, it gives concrete numbers to the poverty, health, education, families, women, work, and the environment in Guatemala, and enables me (and the reader) to put these issues into a new context. This morning, for example, I started noticing how many kids I saw in town that weren’t in school. I hadn’t been aware of that before.

The photographs of the homes I took are in stark contrast to traditional travel photos and blogs, the impetus for which was an invitation to participate in recent exhibitions around the Lower East Side based on a 1980 event, the Real Estate Show, staged by Collaborative Projects (Colab), an artist coalition I was involved with back in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s (see below for backstory). Thanks to Lisa Kahane with the help of Coleen Fitzgibben, my work was printed and installed in absentia.

Numerous rounds of e-mails between former members of Colab on the subject of “Frustration with the ‘Art world’ as a means for accomplishing anything” ensued, some debating the reviews garnered (see also below for links), others festering with old wounds and bravado, seeming (to me) endemic of the insular world we occupy in NYC (and the United States).

We forget about the bigger picture sometimes, and living here in Guatemala (or traveling almost anywhere outside the United States, for that matter), helps me understand myself better. I’ve mentioned in this blog the conflicts I have with my “privilege,” whether it’s being educated, light-skinned or middle-class. As an aging hippie, I tend to romanticize the “other” in my travels, and sometimes epitomize a Third-Worldist view, much to my confusion.

When I read other “blogs” about Guatemala, they focus on monuments, history, food, entertainment, culture, recreation, beauty, people, and fun! Good restaurants, cheap or luxury hotels, the expat life! This post was meant as a reality that a lot of people who travel don’t talk about.

I’ve been reflecting on the global refugee crisis, which is probably one of the most troublesome issues to me right now, and how it relates to climate change. There are connections, for example, between the current Syrian war and the preceding years-long drought there that forced so many to become refuges before the war. I shudder to think about what will happen in my children’s lifetime as climate change prevails. But there are so many other problems these days to consider as well, and poverty is a huge one!

Now for the backstory (from the press release): Colab broke into “a vacant city-owned building at 123-125 Delancey St. on December 30,1979 and installed the Real Estate Show on New Year’s Eve, questioning city policies on housing and development. The police closed the exhibition Jan. 2, 1980.

“Negotiations with Colab artists and the City led to the NYC Dept. of Buildings exchanging another city-owned building at 156 Rivington St. to the artists as an alternative to 125 Delancey. Colab artists developed 156 Rivington as the ongoing arts space ABC No Rio, which is still running after 34 years.

“Meanwhile, 125 Delancey is now a vacant lot waiting to be developed by the Essex Crossing/ Seward Park Urban Renewal (SPURA), which will include a new Warhol Museum. To commemorate this affirmative history between artists, New York City and our new Mayor, there are five galleries presenting exhibitions.”

Exhibitions

“The Real Estate Show, Was Then… Is Now” exhibition of the original 1980 Real Estate Show artwork; opened Friday April 4th: 6-8 pm James Fuentes Gallery 55 Delancey St (Allen/Eldridge Sts), New York, NY 10002 http://www.jamesfuentes.com

 “RESx: Real Estate Show Extended” opened Weds. April 9th, 7-10pm, ABC No Rio 156 Rivington St (Suffolk/Clinton Sts.), New York, NY 10002. Open call to artists to bring disposable real estate related art through April, including media events. Contact steven@abcnorio.org for dates & times: http://www.abcnorio.org

“No City An Island” opened Thurs. April 10, 6-8 pm, The Lodge Gallery at 131 Chrystie Street between Delancey and Broome Sts. on the Lower East Side. http://www.thelodgegallery.com

“The Real Estate Show, What Next: 2014” opened Weds. April 18, 5-7pm; Cuchifritos Gallery/Essex St. Market 120 Essex St. New York, NY 10002; art show and performances. Contact jodi@artistsallianceinc.org for event times, artistsallianceinc.org/cuchifritos-gallery-2/cuchifritos

“In and Around Collaborative Projects” at Spectacle Theater, 124 South 3rd St. Brooklyn, NY, 11211, real estate show related film screenings in May 2014; contact rachelvalinsky@gmail.com for dates/times, http://www.spectacletheater.com

Reviews

“A Legendary Guerilla Exhibit, ‘The Real Estate Show,’ Is Revived in a Proper Gallery” by Daniel Maurer, http://bedfordandbowery.com/2014/04/a-legendary-exhibition-the-real-estate-show-has-been-revived-on-the-les/

“Putting the ‘No’ in ‘Nostalgia’” by Robert C. Morgan, Hyperallergic, April 23, 2014, http://hyperallergic.com/122204/putting-the-no-in-nostalgia/

“A Legendary Guerilla Exhibit, ‘The Real Estate Show,’ Is Revived in a Proper Gallery” by Daniel Maurer, Bedford + Bowery, April 7, 2014, http://bedfordandbowery.com/2014/04/a-legendary-exhibition-the-real-estate-show-has-been-revived-on-the-les/

“’The Real Estate Show’ Slideshow and Commentary” by Whitney Kimball, Art Fag City, April 8, 2014, http://artfcity.com/2014/04/08/the-real-estate-show-slideshow-and-commentary/

“The Real Estate Show: Was Then” by Ken Johnson, The New York Times, April 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/arts/design/the-real-estate-show-was-then-1980.html

Click here to read on http://julieinthejungle.blogspot.com