Anti-corporate art, part II

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I loved Space 1026 the first time I set foot in the place. Now if you’ve been there you know I’m not talking about how beautiful the actual space is.

What’s beautiful about Space 1026 is the energy and the spirit of community that keeps the place moving, pushing and chugging along in spite of occasional plumbing disasters and run-ins with the police at opening night parties (happily a thing of the past I believe).

Back in 1999 Ben Woodward was the first person I met when I walked up the stairs, unannounced and not really knowing what to expect. Woodward showed me around, talking non-stop about everything in his smart, funny way. He showed me the dorm-like artists’ cubbyholes and the silkscreen table, and along the way, he shoveled a bunch of his “lost” animal prints (top image) into my hands saying here, have some. Back then, the “lost” posters were all over town, on bridges, some boarded up buildings and places you’d never expect to see beautiful four-color silkscreens. They were a gift to the city by someone who clearly liked to give things away. (image right is another Woodward give-away)

Over the years Space 1026 has continued to chug along, seemingly oblivious to the dictates of buying and selling and what people normally think of as commerce in art. They set up an online store a while back and while that sounds commercial, you look at the prices, which seem to max out at $30, and know that this, too, is meta-commerce and not real, full-blown, McCommerce as we know it elsewhere.

The gallery, which now seems to be in the capable hands of the distaff side of the organization, Liz Rywelski and Courtney Dailey, brings in interesting shows from out of town –mostly work imbued with the same kind of generous spirit that defines the Space.

Trois Pipis dans la Neige” the current show, is a good example. The art show by the three French Canadian artists, Julie Doucet, Genievieve Castree and Dominique Petrin, consists of mostly small works, some of them delicate and lovely, and all of them rooted in the alternative culture of zines, teen sketch book art and the craft movement. (image left and right are Doucet‘s works)

Doucet‘s wall of saleable merchandise, including dolls, a zine, posters and miscellaneous boxes, seems almost a parody of capitalistic enterprise. Doucet’s merch comes for the most part in plastic bags with nicely done graphics on the labels. Her dolls, anti-Barbies, are colorful and have stocky, everyday bodies that evoke you, me and everyone else.

Petrin‘s work swings between painted posters of ambi-gendered figures like “Hermaphropops” (shown left) and magazine photo-collages of things called “love” that juxtapoze chunks of pink ham with grisaille de-populated office space. It took me a while to get into them but they have staying power and complex ideas at their core and are handled (the paintings in particular) in such a kind of angry, anti-art way (rough brush work, rough, non-standard painting surfaces) that I found compelling.

Castree‘s gouache paintings on what looks like pink stationary are perhaps the loveliest works in the show. Castree’s hand is delicate and her stylized works have a forlorn, fairyland charm. (image right and left are Castree’s works)

 

Taking a trip to Space 1026 is itself like journeying into a land that runs parallel to ours. By all means go, and consider spending a few bucks on a work of art.

In addition to the work available in this show, the Space has a gift shop loaded with zines, postcards, t-shirts and other great merch, all affordably-priced and guaranteed not available in shopping malls anywhere on the planet.

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