Friday, May 14, 2010

Escape from New York

Few of the recent efforts to find a new way of doing things that have popped up in response to the recession are as ambitious as Olympia Lambert's massive undertaking that opens in Paterson, NJ, tomorrow. "Escape from New York" features work by 43 artists (including our own Jennifer Dalton and Thomas Lendvai) and is housed in a massive warehouse that would be noteworthy on its own, but the real story here is the innovative, multi-channel and multi-funding model used to pull this show together.

Many guerrilla type exhibitions are the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of the artists and curators involved (London's Frieze being the legendary example), but few have incorporated as wide a swath of 'best practices' as this one. From the fund-raising efforts (including a Kickstarter campaign and a benefit party), to the series of interviews with the curator and participating artists (on their site), to the all-out effort to make sure it's easy for people to get the show, Ms. Lambert has truly pulled out all the stops.

Here's a bit on the inspiration for the show:

Sometimes in life things just fall into your lap— take, for instance, a former silk factory.

2010 brings with it many changes and challenges, and with it a newfound enthusiasm and excitement for New York artists. In many ways, the New York art world we once knew and loved has come to pass. Artists are being pushed out left and right, industry publications folding, galleries closing, all while more and more MFAs continue to be churned out than can possibly be hired on by Manhattan’s service industry. Space is at a premium. Do we continue to go even further east into the treeless, concrete, PCB infested jungle of Bushwick, evenutally reaching East New York’s hour-long commute for valuable studio and exhibition space? (Space that most likely will guarantee eviction in six months from Shaya Boymelgreen and his cohorts.) Or do we perhaps begin to explore other avenues west of the Hudson? In (*gasp*) NEW JERSEY!? In my case, I’m going with good ol’ Jersey. Cue “Badlands.”

Like the tried and true friend you keep meaning to call, but just haven’t “found the time for,” Paterson, (a gem of the American Industrial Revolution a mere 15 minute drive over the G.W. Bridge), has immense potential as a world-class arts destination, giving artists important creative freedom with unheralded live/work/display space, and are welcoming shows such as Escape From New York with open arms.

Bambino and I will be at the opening tomorrow...hope to see you there too!
Escape From New York will show the work of 43 top contemporary artists currently working today. The exhibition includes artists working in a broad breath of genres—from painting, to video, photography, installation, sculpture, performance, and social media-based art. Come and join us for our opening reception, Saturday, May 15, from 3-9PM as we leave behind the cramped spaces of Manhattan for the broad horizons of New Jersey. The exhibition will be on view in the historic Fabricolor Building at 24 1/2 Van Houten Street, across from Federici Park in downtown Paterson. We will be located on the 2nd, 4th and 5th floors of the building. For more information, please contact curator Olympia Lambert at

Labels: art exhibitions, d


Blogger Lady Xoc said...

How exciting! We made our escape from New York over 25 years ago and "Badlands" is not an inappropriate theme. I went through a severe case of the bends when it happened and it's true few will venture out here to visit the Left Bank, but we got off the hideous rent treadmill that kept us from our work. Paterson has a fabulous industrial history and Wm. Carlos Williams wrote an epic poem about the place. They have a very high waterfall (hence the industry) in a rocky gorge which sometimes features in murder stories. Paterson is a bit of a hike from Manhattan without a car, but one thing Jersey's got is public transportation. I live in Jersey City and my commute to Manhattan is much shorter than most my friends' who live in Brooklyn.

5/14/2010 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Bushwick is awful (run down, dirty, loud etc..), and the gentrification is happening fast, which will displace those who moved in to displace others. But it takes me 10 minutes to get to Manhattan. It takes my dealers 20 minutes from Chelsea. If I were in New Jersey would anyone ever visit my studio? I know I know, wrong focus, but, really? Sorry if this is off topic. Looking forward to the exhibition in Jersey.

5/14/2010 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Gosh, I guess it's even more of a challenge to want to become an artist while still keeping the freedom to stay wherever you want.

Well, I like a challenge.

Cedric C

5/14/2010 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Pam Farrell said...

EFNY is definitely New Jersey's gain!!!

5/14/2010 05:31:00 PM  

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