Saturday, November 14, 2015

Street Work

Though the neighborhoods have their share of talented artists & small gallery spaces, it's unlikely that anyone would think of Park Slope/Greenwood Heights as synonymous with street art. There are some murals (those striking, Groundswell works spring to mind), the occasional wheat-pasting (just who is responsible for those pseudo-gnomic one-liners scattered around the place right now ?), some store-shutter paintings, and the usual street-tagging stuff you find all over the city, but they're fairly thin on the ground. Gowanus has had more in the way of street art over the years - remember Neck Face? - but hardly a whole lot. and the Bat Cave's messages are frozen at the Stop & Frisk protest.   You're more likely to see street art on delivery trucks than on buildings.

Now, however, there will be street art in a local gallery space, if not on a street corner. According to articles in DNAinfo and South Slope News, the 210 Gallery (210 24th Street) is under new ownership, and will have a new emphasis on street art.  The new owner, variously described as Michael Victorovich (DNA) and Mikail Novikov (SSN), has redesigned the small gallery space.

Victorovich said the public appetite for street art has exploded since Banksy's 2013 visit to New York and as New York street artist Alec Monopoly has gained notoriety. 
 "To me street art is almost like fine art at this point," Victorovich said. "There's so much more meaning to it than just graffiti. I support the creative freedom and the expression."  (DNAinfo)

After leaving his position earlier this year as a creative director in manufacturing at Industry City, Novikov took over the gallery in July.
“Usually people see galleries as a city [Manhattan] thing, so this will be a sort of an underdog gallery,” says Novikov. And he feels passionately about the mission he has established for 210. He describes street art as “very urban but also very refined. The approach can be symbolic, anonymous, secretive.” (SSN)

New York, of course, has a long tradition of street art, handed down from artist to artist, and the "fine art" debate was settled decades ago, at least as regards its best practitioners.  The public appetite's been there from the beginning too, and hovering dealers almost as long.  Take a look at Wild Style. And galleries have long found homes beyond Manhattan.

The opening show at the new-look 210 will feature the work of Brooklyn artist AINAC (Art is Not a Crime), who cites Banksy as an inspiration.

“We built off the Banksy hype,” AINAC told us this past August. “Banksy had just left and everyone was hyped about street art. So we were sitting on my balcony one day and we said, ‘If this motherfucker can do it, why can’t I?'” (SSN)

The AINAC show at 210 is coming complete with commercial sponsorship (Mo√ęt, car2go, Brooklyn Brewery, and the Llubtish Media Group).  It'll be interesting to follow the gallery's development.

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