Archie Lee Coates III is one of seven curators of Beginnings-, a new gallery that launched Thursday night on a side street in Greenpoint. He met with me a few hours before the opening of their inaugural exhibition to discuss the challenges or the lack thereof to running a space with seven pairs of hands in the kitchen.
One of the common threads that brought this collective together is a person, Joel Speasmaker, who is the founder of The Drama, a now defunct quarterly arts magazine. During the nine issue lifespan of that magazine, Archie met Joel, who always offered a helping hands when needed, which led to meeting Andy Jenkins, who performed during one of the release parties, which led to meeting contributors Matt Leines and Caroline Hwang, and somewhere in there a couple falls in love and two others join the mix until you have the current circle of curators at this newfound space.
After many weekly meetings where everything from art, electrical rewiring, and cleaning up the walls were discussed Beginnings- was born. The curatorial process for their inaugural show was fairly democratic and each curator contributed a list of artists they’d like to work with, which after a process of discussion, led to the show that is currently on display.
“Having the show was a great excuse to be able to see the works of artists we’ve been in love with online and to have this opportunity to see them in person in a physical space.” says Joel. “There is no curatorial thread, just experimenting and discovering how we were going to work together, figuring out our quirks and pushing each other and the artists involved to work together.”
A collective voice guided their aptly titled exhibition, “The Beginning,” which showcases the works of 29 artists from various parts of the world, many of whom have never been shown in New York.
There is a bounty of works on paper and canvas and one sculpture sits by the display window. David Jien’s “Willie’s dip n’ slip/ William’s Folly” (2012) gives erotic 19th century scroll paintings a makeover with a giant reflective penis fountain, while Matt Leines’ “Young Turks” (2012) portrays ladies — who are part Picasso and part psychedelic pop art — playing chess. Both artists toy with composition and have a playful attitude towards their two-dimensional surfaces as they jazz them up with geometric grids and skewed patterns.
The team have already planned the first year of the gallery, which will include three group and seven individually curated shows (one per curator). Their mission, I’m told, is to bring artists, curators, and communities together. “Our mission is to show what needs to be shown, have conversations with artists, educate the community about the works and begin friendly lasting relationships,” Joel says.
Artists participating in the gallery’s first show are Mari Andrews, Nick Butcher & Nadine Nakanishi, Heather Culp, Stephen Eichhorn, Amze Emmons, Matt Furie, David Giordano, Matthew Giordano, David Jien, Daehyun Kim, James Kirkpatrick, Chris Kline, Aidan Koch, Oliver Kossack, Matt Leines, Isaac Lin, Matt Lock, Simon Massey di Vallazza, Otto Milo, Mumbreeze, Peter Nencini, Daniel Owen, Nick Payne, Jenni Rope, Andreas Schimanski, Eric Shaw, Lanya Snyder, Marta Stockwell, James Ulmer
The Beginning is on view at Beginnings- gallery (110 Meserole Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn) until October 17. The gallery is open Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.
The Women Artists Commemorated on an NYC Sidewalk
The signatures of Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, and six other historical women artists are engraved on a small stretch of sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Met Museum Repatriates 15 Objects to India
The sculptures were all at one point sold by the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Placed on Russian “Wanted” List
Tolokonnikova has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s regime.