Rarely are artists given an environment/a space to create engagement/a place they have the freedom to become the master artists of. Gavin Brown Enterprise hands artists this opportunity.
Last week I had the privilege of traveling to New York City with a group of fellow painters from Savannah College of Art and Design to do the gallery circuit and be exposed to the art scene that we are working to be a part of in the near future. Led by my professor, Jason Hoelscher, we sped through the Chelsea galleries, and Lowe-East Side spaces, and more, meeting friends of his along the way and connecting artwork and spaces with the reality of life as a successful, hard-working, and emerging artist.
Gavin Brown Enterprise was a space that shifted my ideas of what a gallery can be.
Walking into a space without windows or doors, expansive letters captured my attention across the massive wall space. Using the entire walls as his canvas, floor to ceiling, artist Rirkrit Tiravanija had painted the statement on which his entire exhibit hinged:
FEAR EATS THE SOUL.
The exhibition included and array of approaches to Rirkrit Tiravanija 's concept. From the wall painting to removed windows and doors (creating a space open 24/7 and requiring a security guard) to a t-shirt factory (printing his iconic phrases onto t-shirts by custom order) to a soup kitchen. Yes, I mean a soup kitchen. A space that is open to the public and free of charge, beyond a dollar donation for ingredients. Serving up a fresh pot of soup daily pipping with delicious ingredients, the soup kitchen is way of engaging the idea of consumption and community space that tie into his creation of the entire exhibit.
We have the privilege of tour the show with Associate Director Bridget Donahue. With a calm collectiveness she led us through the spaces and engaged with us as emerging artists. This visit is one that resonated with me as an artist and I will definitely be keeping up with GBE and Cleopatras, Donahue's project space, because they will have a role in the expansive ways in which artists reinvent spaces as their works in the future. Thanks for the great soup and conversation.