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Tribes Headed for a Truce?

Steve Cannon

The founder of Gathering Of The Tribes, Steve Cannon, says that negotiations are underway with his landlord, and that the lengthy dispute should be resolved by the end of the month. “It looks like she’s going to agree what we want,” said a confident Mr. Cannon. “I feel relieved. It’s going in my direction.” In April the founder of the art space won a legal victory when a Housing Court judge ruled that his dispute with his landlord, Lorraine Zhang, should be settled in State Supreme Court. Nevertheless, Ms. Zhang served Mr. Cannon with a 10-day notice to leave the building at 285 East Third Street in May. (The notice was ignored). Ms. Zhang would not comment on the latest developments in the saga, which has been brewing since March of last year.

A Word With the 23-Year-Old Curator of ’93 Til Infinity,’ Closing Tonight

Photo on 2012-05-31 at 18.11 #3(3)Clayton Patterson Jessie Mac

At 23, Jessie Mac is one of New York’s youngest curators. Tonight at 9 p.m., her third show at Gathering of the Tribes, “’93 Til Infinity,” closes with a party featuring a screening of “Captured,” the 2008 documentary about photographer, curator, and local historian Clayton Patterson. The exhibition features Mr. Patterson’s early-90s photos of the Lower East Side amid floor-to-ceiling graffiti work by Mint&Serf of the Peter Pan Posse art collective. Ms. Mac spoke with The Local about working with Steve Cannon, the founder of Tribes who is fighting to hold onto the space.


How did you wind up as curator of Tribes?


I started working at Tribes a year ago as an intern when I met Steve Cannon. We cut a deal: if he taught me to curate I would dedicate my time to Tribes. It’s a non-profit so Steve is always in need of an extra hand. I never thought a blind man would be my artistic mentor, but I honestly would not be a curator without him. He taught me everything I know in the New York art scene. When people ask how he feels about not knowing what’s on the walls in his own space he says I’m his eyes. But I would have no direction without him. Read more…

DocuDrama: Gathering of the Tribes Told to Leave Within 10 Days

285-287 East Third StreetG.V.S.H.P. The Gathering of the Tribes building.

The battle between Gathering of the Tribes and its landlord rages on.

Yesterday the founder of the art space at 285 East Third Street, Steve Cannon, was served with a formal “10-day notice of termination” for “continued use of the premises as an office and art gallery, which is contrary to the lawful usage permitted by the certificate of occupancy for the building.”

The document (below) goes on to cite a violation from the Department of Buildings, as well as parties that have “disturbed the quiet enjoyment as well as affected the safety of other tenants in the building” as other reasons for the notice. Read more…

Tribes Heads to State Supreme Court

A housing court judge ruled last week that the eviction of Gathering of the Tribes should be settled in State Supreme Court. The decision led the founder of the homegrown art and performance space, Steve Cannon, to express guarded optimism that he could reach an out-of-court settlement with his landlord, Lorraine Zhang, because the scope of the case now goes beyond a standard eviction proceeding. Ms. Zhang had no comment on the latest development in the case, which hinges on the validity of a written agreement she signed when Mr. Cannon sold her the East Third Street building that houses Tribes in 2004.

Tribes Awaits Ruling with Guarded Optimism

Steve CannonRuth Spencer Steve Cannon

The founder of Gathering of the Tribes is awaiting a ruling from a Housing Court judge regarding his pending eviction, and is hopeful that his case will be moved to State Supreme Court.

Steve Cannon, the blind poet who runs the freewheeling art space on East Third Street, said that his lawyer preferred trying the case in Supreme Court because it would allow him to pursue a broader legal strategy and avoid the arduous process of staying an eviction through Housing Court. Mr. Cannon was not sure exactly when the ruling would come down.

“Our lawyer thinks that [the judge] is leaning towards taking the case to the Supreme Court due to our unique circumstances,” Mr. Cannon wrote in a newsletter. “Up until this point we weren’t sure how our efforts would be met in the courtroom, but now it seems that the ruling ‘might’ be in our favor.”

Meanwhile, the new exhibition at Tribes is called “Exquisite Poop: Blind Reproduction.” The show places an artist’s work alongside the work of another artist who attempted to reproduce the same piece by only reading a written description of it. Why the name? “I’m not going to comment on that — you know what that means,” Mr. Cannon said.

Video: ‘Occupy Tribes Now,’ an Art Show to Save Gathering of the Tribes

Earlier this month, and then again in a preview of gallery openings, The Local reported that Steve Cannon was planning an exhibition to raise money for his legal battle against the landlord who is attempting to push him out of his apartment and art space, Gathering of the Tribes. On Friday, The Local visited the opening of “Occupy Tribes Now” and came back with this video.

Gallery Scene | ‘Raw Spaces,’ ‘Remnant Memories,’ and More

If you missed the opening of “Two Heads Are Better Than One” at The Hole earlier this week, don’t worry: there’s a shindig at Gathering of the Tribes tomorrow and three more openings next week. Here’s what’s new on the gallery scene.

Screen shot 2012-02-16 at 2.27.14 PM

Occupy Tribes Friday (Feb. 17 to March 4) Steve Cannon’s homegrown gallery soldiers on despite an eviction notice and lawsuit. Ama Birch curates an exhibition of artwork inspired by housing issues; proceeds from all sales will go toward Mr. Cannon’s legal bills. Opening reception Feb. 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Gathering of the Tribes, 285 East Third Street, 2nd Floor, (212) 674-3778

Screen shot 2012-02-16 at 2.15.11 PM

Raw Spaces (Feb. 23 to March 31) Lisa Lebofsky’s first New York City solo show. The painter, who has studied art at the New York Academy of Art and SUNY New Paltz, depicts natural scenes using oil on sanded aluminum. Opening reception Feb. 23, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Milavec Hakimi Gallery, 51 Cooper Square, (817) 975-5488.


Remnant Memories (Feb. 24 to March 11) Graffiti artist John Matos, better known as Crash, presents aluminum pieces, watercolors, and silkscreens inspired by his salad days of painting murals on subway cars. Opening reception Feb. 24, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. TT Underground, 91 Second Avenue, lower level, (212) 673-5424.

Read more…

Tribes Founder Seeks New Landlord

285-287 East Third StreetGreenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The Gathering of the Tribes building at 285-287
East Third Street.

The blind poet behind Gathering of the Tribes is on the hunt for a wealthy benefactor who will buy his building on East Third Street near Avenue C — a move that would, in theory, stop his pending eviction.

In an e-mail forwarded to The Local, Steve Cannon urged his supporters to spread the word that his landlord, Lorraine Zhang, wishes to sell the building.

“Ultimately, what we were told was Lorraine wants to get rid of the building,” wrote Mr. Cannon. “Is there a possibility of any interest in investing/buying the building and making it all Gathering of the Tribes and getting someone to run it?” Read more…

DocuDrama: Gathering of the Tribes Heads to Court

IMG_0003Ruth Spencer Steve Cannon, founder of Gathering of the Tribes.

Tribes is fighting back.

The landlord attempting to evict Gathering of the Tribes has no right to do so, and actually owes the founder of the quirky arts group at least $8,400, a new lawsuit alleges.

In December, Lorraine Zhang, the landlord of 285 East Third Street, served Steve Cannon, the blind poet, playwright and founder of Tribes with a notice that he must leave the building by Jan. 31.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in State Supreme Court and reprinted below, says that the notice is “invalid” and that “Cannon is entitled to remain as an occupant of the second floor of the premises subject to the terms of the agreement” that the pair signed when Mr. Cannon sold the building to Ms. Zhang in 2004. Read more…

Tribes in the Spotlight

The embattled art space Gathering of the Tribes gets the “Place of the Month” treatment on Place Matters. The website recounts founder Steve Cannon’s heyday as a professor by day and “professional heckler” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe by night. “The man is the space is the art is the man,” according to the profile, which also addresses recent landlord troubles. Mr. Cannon and his followers remain optimistic despite the looming legal showdown: “It seems that many, including Cannon, believe that he may have the last word.”

Party On at Gathering of the Tribes

IMG_9997Ruth Spencer Steve Cannon, founder of Gathering of the Tribes.

An eviction notice has been served to Gathering of the Tribes, but the revelry will go on at least until the end of the month.

Steve Cannon, the founder of the eclectic art collective on Third Street, has a bash planned for tonight and Jan. 14. The announcement comes less than a week after the landlord, Lorraine Zhang, told Mr. Cannon he would have to leave his headquarters by Jan. 31.

“I’m not going to stop what I’m doing, I’m going to see how I can fight her,” Mr. Cannon said of his landlord.

Ms. Zhang isn’t backing down either, and it seems likely the litany of complaints that she and Mr. Cannon have against each other (which are long standing) are bound to be aired in court. “I do what I got to do as a landlord to protect my other tenants,” Ms. Zhang said today. “He doesn’t clean up the backyard for weeks after he uses it. He left me no choice. He doesn’t own the property.”

Tonight’s party commemorates the final night of the “Where Am I” exhibit, which takes inspiration from Mr. Cannon’s blindness. The next exhibit, “Zero, Infinity and the Guides” showcases “archetypes present in the inner life” of artist and CUNY student Erin Cormody. “These eight paintings also portray the phases of the moon. Also, she paints the ‘words’ of an internal universal voice, which wants to share the paradox of truth,” according to a press release.

Gathering of the Tribes to Be Disbanded?

285-287 East Third StreetG.V.S.H.P. The Gathering of the Tribes building.

The landlord of Gathering of the Tribes says she will now make good on her longstanding threat to send the freewheeling artistic space into exile.

The relationship between Steve Cannon, the blind poet who founded Tribes, and his landlord, Lorraine Zhang, seems to have been contentious virtually from the moment he sold the building at 285 East Third Street to her in 2005 for $1.2 million.

The space regularly hosts gallery openings and music shows; a magazine is put together there, as well. But all the foot traffic, artistic exploration and revelry comes at a price Ms. Zhang says she can’t afford.

“My attorney is going to send him a notice that he must remove all the events from the building or remove himself,” she said. Read more…

After Luckless Landmarking Effort, Gathering of the Tribes Clashes With Landlord

285-287 East Third StreetThe Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation 285-287 East Third Street. Preservationists would like to see it landmarked, and a local poet would like to keep holding events in it.

It’s been 10 months since the building housing Gathering of the Tribes was put on the market, and the relationship between the artistic space’s founder, Steve Cannon, and his landlord is as tense as ever.

The latest dispute revolves around the regular art events organized by Mr. Cannon that take place at the federal-style townhouse on East Third Street.

“He’s made assurances that he wouldn’t do anything that would disturb other tenants in the building,” said Simon Chow, a partner of the building’s landlord. “If other people are complaining about noise, am I supposed to give him consideration over the tenants in the buildings?”

Mr. Cannon countered that only one person in a neighboring building had complained about the noise. Nevertheless, he said, the landlord, Lorraine Zhang, had threatened him with eviction. Read more…

Blindness Highlighted at Gathering of the Tribes

An exhibition opening today at the artistic haven Gathering of the Tribes is inspired in part by the blindness of its charismatic founder, Steve Cannon. “Blind Light” features photography that attempts to toy with the senses, according to a listing on NY Art Beat. “When one sense is diminished, the others are heightened, creating unique perceptive experiences from the remaining information,” the listing reads. The last time The Local chatted with Mr. Cannon, Gathering of the Tribes was still in limbo after his landlord put the East Third Street building on the market for nearly $3 million.