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Martians Land in Bushwick

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Michael David at his new gallery space at 56 Bogart (image courtesy Life on Mars)

The Bushwick boom continues. When it opens its doors on Friday, October 4, the painting-focused Life on Mars gallery will be the newest entrant to the Bushwick art scene, joining the bustle at the 56 Bogart building. That brings the count over at Bogart to eleven galleries; Life on Mars will be joining C.C.C.P. North Light Gallery, et al projects, Fuchs Projects, Honey Ramka, Momenta Art, NURTUREart, Robert Henry Contemporary, Slag, Studio10, and Theodore:ART.

The total number of galleries in Bushwick is now pushing well over 40, and it is precisely this concentration of energy and art that brought Life on Mars into being. Splitting time between Atlanta and New York, Life on Mars curator and director Michael David, a painter himself and a member of the Soho art scene in the 70s and 80s, was struck by how the work and environment he found in Bushwick reminded him of those earlier days in Manhattan, down to even the smell in the studios.

Spurred by this feeling of continuity and vitality, the gallery, David says, is excited to help foster a dialogue between those divided days as well as one around painting — between painters and an audience — in the digital age. To that end, at 1,600 square feet, the studio is designed to be a free, unencumbered space — just three long walls and a side of windows. David calls it a “beautiful square” dedicated to presenting, viewing, and considering painting. Plans for the future include exhibitions of local artists alongside such figures as Thornton Dial; in the works is a show pairing self-taught and more traditionally schooled artists and arguing that they’re more alike than their divergent titles suggest.

For now, though, Life on Mars is just focusing on getting ready for the opening night, the debut marked by a conceptually appropriate show called Scale. Featuring 14 artists, the exhibition approaches matters of scale — size, circumstances, precedent — from a host of perspectives and concerns: “How does the ‘scale’ of work affect your experience of your work? How does ‘scale’ influence your most primal interaction with this combination of materials sitting on the wall.”

Scale opens at Life on Mars (56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn) on October 4 from 6–9pm and will run through October 31.

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