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Gallery or Restaurant? The Hole Swirls Both Together

DIOR BEAUTY Celebrates 50 Years of Dior Vernis with Artist Holton RowerDavid X Prutting/ The Hole’s dinner for Dior Vernis.

After blurring the line between art and landscaping, The Hole is now bending the boundaries between art and food. Last night, the Bowery gallery held a dinner party that introduced attendees to the medium of “pour painting,” and this summer, The Local has learned, it will open a pop-up “artist cafe,” cheekily dubbed Hole Foods.

The pop-up cafe is in part the vision of The Hole’s founder, Kathy Grayson, who described herself as an arm-chair restaurant critic and food blogger. “I had never seen an artist-designed restaurant, only restaurants with a few sad paintings on the walls,” she told The Local. “I thought that the artists I represent are all interdisciplinary and are capable of doing not just painting and drawing but sculpture, video, design, installation, furniture, you name it.”

On Wednesday, the Meatball Factory temporarily closed on 14th Street and Second Avenue so that Brooklyn-based artist Joe Grillo could install a mural on its walls, ceilings, and floors. Read more…

OWS Exhibit at JujoMukti

If you just can’t get enough of the images coming out of Occupy Wall Street, you’re in luck: JujoMukti will be hosting a photo exhibit of the protests on Dec. 1. The Local’s photographers and videographers have filed numerous dispatches from Lower Manhattan and Union Square; one of our contributors even spent two nights behind bars. Doors open at 7 p.m. at the tea lounge on East Fourth Street between Avenues A and B. Just be careful where you park your bicycle.

Night Vision at Y Gallery

Plague of Darkness video by Juanli CarrionCourtesy of Y GalleryFrom a video installation by Juanli Carrion.

The subjects lurch to and fro in a drunken, slow-motion dance across the barroom floor, enveloped in a thick and sultry green fog. Then the action cuts to a solitary young woman who stares silently through this murk into a computer, until you the viewer turn away to find distraction in a barren art gallery as if possessed by a waking nightmare.

Such is what Juanli Carrion’s wall-sized video brings to the eyes in an exhibition entitled “The Plague of Darkness,” at Y Gallery on Orchard Street. The green-tinged night-vision technology so valued for military applications is employed here by Mr. Carrion to evoke its authoritative intrusion on a very personal level.

The work of other Latin American artists was also on display. Some speak to the history of totalitarian regimes in their native countries, and the will of the artists to survive them. Associate director Yoab Vera, himself from Mexico City, guided me through the gallery, and explained that although Y Gallery’s representation was 50 percent Latin American, the true goal was to open a dialogue between cultures, theirs and ours.

Y Gallery is located at 165 Orchard Street, between Rivington and Stanton. The exhibit runs through July 31.

Mixed Messages at LaMama

mixed_messages_02aIllustration by Tim Milk

Last night saw the opening of an exhibit at LaMama Galleria, curated by John Chaich for Visual AIDS, a contemporary arts organization dedicated to HIV prevention and AIDS awareness. Entitled “Mixed Messages,” the show hosts a bevy of star names, among them Yoko Ono, John Giorno, Gran Fury and General Idea. It features the seminal provocation piece by David Wojnarowicz, “Untitled” (1990), more popularly known as “One Day this Kid…”.

Much of the work recalls the typographic-heavy message art which prevailed in the 1990’s. Indeed, one could say that this exhibition is in part a retrospective of that period.

The exhibition is accompanied by associated talk and benefit events. More information can be found on the La Mama website.

Galleries Inching Back To East Village

GALLERY.1Mark Riffee There are 23 galleries on Orchard Street between Canal and Houston Streets and 71 total in the Lower East Side.

In the more than three years since to The Times declared, ‘Here comes art,” with the opening of the New Museum space on the Bowery in 2007, the galleries indeed have come to the Lower East Side.

They occupy ground-level storefronts of skinny buildings with wrought-iron fire escapes zigzagging up their front facades on the seven tree-speckled blocks of Orchard Street between Canal and Houston and in the New Museum’s vicinity, too. They teeter on the edge of Houston. When Miguel Abreu opened his eponymous gallery at 36 Orchard Street in 2006, he can remember no more than four or five reputable galleries in the area. By the time the New Museum opened the next year, the Times counted two dozen. Now there are 75.

And the movement is inching northward.

So, East Villagers, is this a cultural revival on the scale of the 1980’s, which spawned the likes of Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Jenny Holzer? It’s hard to ignore the similarities. Like the East Village was, the Lower East Side has become a hotbed of intimate spaces at the bottom of tenement-style buildings run on low budgets by young gallerists eager to be the first to show New York’s freshest talent. The new scene is home to “very idealistic people who believe in the art. And that’s incredibly admirable,” says Pepe Karmel, 55, a professor of art history at NYU and a former art critic for The Times. “There’s really a place for that in the art world.”

Like their predecessors, the participants of this new scene put authenticity above all else. Mr. Abreu, 48, chose his Orchard Street location because adding to the Chelsea “super-market,” land of the “homogenous white cube,” wouldn’t allow any potential for distinction. In the Lower East Side, collectors and gallery-goers can expect to “discover something” and engage in “some kind of conversation with the work,” says Mr. Abreu Read more…

After 23 Years, A Gallery Returns

Ronald Sosinski, 62, is the director of The Proposition art gallery at 2 Extra Place and an East Village resident for more than 20 years. He and his business partner, Ellen Donahue, opened E.M. Donahue Gallery for Contemporary Art on East 11th Street between Avenues A and B in 1985 and followed the art scene to SoHo in 1987 and to Chelsea in 2002, where the space was renamed The Proposition. After more than 20 years away from the East Village, Mr. Sosinski and Ms. Donahue reopened the gallery on Extra Place (First Street just off of Bowery) in 2010. Mr. Sosinski discusses The Proposition’s current show and the gallery’s new location.

NYU Journalism’s Mark Riffee reports.

“A Step Back into the Future” is on display until May 1. The show features mid-20th century furniture by James Mont, custom wallpaper by Este Lewis, and a sculpture by Mickalene Thomas.