This March 28, Pocket Utopia will return to the New York art scene but this time on Henry Street in the Lower East Side. During its first incarnation the idea of Pocket Utopia, which is the brain child of artist Austin Thomas, opened on Flushing Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn in the Summer 2007 and continued for two years as a place for experimentation and a space that put the artist first.
“[The first Pocket Utopia] was a response to the 2006 art boom, when artists were being written out of the equation,” Thomas says. “Saying that now seems ridiculous since there are so many artist-run spaces in Bushwick and elsewhere but in 2006 all we were seeing was artist as commodity.”
The new version of the project, which has since been written into the lore of the rise of Bushwick as an art destination and community, is springing up in another art-borhood and she’s not doing it solo this time out.
“I’m collaborating with Armin Kunz, who is an old friend, art historian and an Old Masters and print dealer. We’re doing this together. He is really interested in the Bushwck scene and collects Bushwick artists like Matthew Miller, Meg Hitchcock and me,” she says, though she laughs a little at the idea that she’s a Bushwick artist since she lives and works in Manhattan even if she socializes and exhibits in the north Brooklyn neighborhood.
Kunz is the executive director of CG Boerner, a leading gallery of Old Masters prints and drawings that has locations in Dusseldorf and New York. “We talk and joked about bridging about the gap between Rembrandt and Bushwick,” Austin says and that is what they intend to do.
“The new space is on the periphery of the sourthern border of the LES. I felt there was a healthy arts community and I could afford it. It is probably the same price as Bushwick,” she says. “And I don’t have to cross the river since I live in Manhattan.”
The whole Pocket Utopia project is part of Thomas’s own development as an artist and she’s excited to see what will happen after the LES version opens. The diverse programming planned for the space may suggest what we can expect from this new space.
Pocket Utopia LES will kick off with a one-night show on Wednesday, March 28 featuring playwright Donald Steele’s “royal” photographs, titled The Queen and I. That show will immediately be followed by an exhibition of 18th C. engravings of artist portraits, which will be followed by a solo show of the art of Ellen Letcher, of Famous Accountants Gallery fame, a Bushwick space that quietly closed last year.
“I’m trying to expand, and it’s my own expansion,” Thomas say. “And that’s the gosh honest truth.”
Pocket Utopia (191 Henry Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan) will open on Wednesday, March 28 (6-8pm EST) with Donald Steele’s The Queen and I, followed by Portraits of Artists: 18th Century French Engravings, which opens Thursday, March 29.
The Tweet comparing an ominous screen capture from the Tucker Carlson Show to one of Holzer’s Truisms is being sold as an NFT to benefit crucial organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Rapper Maykel “Osorbo” Pérez was sentenced to nine years.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo 50 years of constitutional rights to abortion, artist Elana Mann’s “protest rattles” feel especially poignant and urgent.
This week, Title IX celebrates 50 years, the trouble with pronouns, a writer’s hilarious response to plagiarism allegations, and much more.
PLEASE SEND TO REAL LIFE: Ray Johnson Photographs reveals the “career in photography” that occupied the artist in the last three years of his life.
Since antiquity, women’s eyebrows have been sites of intense scrutiny, constantly shifting between trend cycles.
A landmark show of 30 artists at Jeffrey Deitch gallery in New York keeps the category of Asian figuration open-ended.
Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition.
Hall makes no attempt to entice the viewer to begin looking and to look again, letting her methodical craft compel viewers to reflect upon their experience.
In Benglis’s latest works, the forces of gravity that defined her seminal poured latex and polyurethane pieces are traded for luminous bronzes.
A new project by Columbia’s Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation explores queer histories that have been suppressed by gentrification and urban development.