Event recap: Artists Guarding Artists @ Family Business Gallery

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What does the future look like? It’s that unpaid 20-something intern that calls themselves a artists, regardless of the art establishment not having a place for them. Like a thorn in the paw of Chelsea, Family Business sits as an avant-garde project space. Its a walled off section of an established Chelsea gallery. It kind of reminds me of that one kid at the party dancing with all the old ladies. It kind of reminds me of myself.

Next-door, an intern, just about my age, takes bags of the Gagosian’s garbage out to the curb, just as FBG’s crowds begin to swell. I’m greeted with hugs & kisses by the gallery folk. This feels more like my family barbeque, but my family doesn’t eat art. On a day so hot that I am sweating beneath my eyes, people gather in the small closet- or maybe elevator-sized gallery. It feels like a sauna. There’s no such thing as ‘personal space’. This show, “Artists Guarding Artists” features museum workers, whose pent up creativity was neatly unleashed on FBG’s walls. The artists in the show are ignored by their respective employers (The Guggenheim, The Met, The New Museum, MoMA) so they made their own life-sized dollhouse museum. The gallery space was complete with bootleg velvet ropes, Persian rugs, & very ghetto frames.

A borderline homeless man waltzes in & announces, “I never seen anything like THIS before.” Hell yeah you haven’t. Welcome to the future.

 

 

Laura Murray

Curator for “Artists Guarding Artists”

Intern/Gallerist @ Family Business

Visitor Services @ New Museum

Q: What is the philosophy behind this show?

A: “As someone who sees the inner workings of a museum, we are liaisons to the public. The museum acts as a honeypot for artists after leaving art school. It’s a community gathering like bees to honey.”

 Q: What is your relationship with the art establishment?

A: “This place is very subversive, this tiny crazy closet next to the Gagosian”

 Q: What is it like to work at a museum as an artist?

A: “Its like a secondary school, it requires me to study. You get access to all these events & it gets you into more museums for free. You get to know your museum colleagues as a family.”

Q: What does the future of art look like?

A: “Theres a new sincerity in art that is more open to figuration & landscape. The group of artists I associate with are being very sincere. We are trying to heal the problem. The future is pretty damn hopeful. Maurizio (Cattelan) is bored, hes looking for art that’s trying to find a place.”

Q: What is discouraging about the art world?

A: “I feel weird giving a definite answer. I’m really competitive I enjoy obstacles & things that require hard work. Its hard to get a foot in the door. It’s a closed off community. I’m not totally pessimistic but it has serious barriers to overcome.”

Q: What is inspiring about the art world?

A: “The fact that it exists is inspiring. It is possible to live off of your artwork. Family Business allows me to curate a show in Chelsea at age 22. I’m thrilled that its allowed me to meet new people, opened up this network of artists that I really like, & opened up new doors for me.”

 

Peter Hoffmeister

Curator for “Artists Guarding Artists”

Security Officer @ The Met

Former Editor/Founder of Sw!pe Magazine (feat. artists who also work at museums)

Q: What is the philosophy behind this show?

A:  “The people that you don’t even notice in the galleries are artists themselves, often unknowingly to the public. At the Met you have to have a four year degree to be a guard … We are inherently over qualified. Out of everyone in the world we spend the most time with the collection”

 Q: What is your relationship with the art establishment?

A: “I’m not represented by a gallery…  I don’t feel alienated by that, I am doing things with my peers.”

 Q: What is it like to work at a museum as an artist?

A:  “I suppose that’s the most ironic aspect of our situation, we are the unseen guardians of collections of which we dream to be a part. I am a double agent observing the inside of a machine. We watch everything, and absorb everything that happens at our museums. As one of my older and more experienced friends told me once – ‘Steal with your eyes'”.

Q: What does the future of art look like?

A: “By allowing us to enter the curatorial process (Maurizio Cattelan, co-founder of Family Business) is breaking the mold, breathing new life into the art world… He is purposely looking for people not of that world.”

Q: What is discouraging about the art world?

A:  “I wish getting residencies or gallery representation was easier, but this is the reality.  The question is how do I respond to this? I guess with a show at Family Business.”

Q: What is inspiring about the art world?

A: “What really does inspire me is that there is always an opportunity to do something, besides working in the studio… After all, we’re just a spec of light in the big black void, and failure doesn’t exist on that scale.”

Fred Fleisher, Elvis in the Clouds
Jeff Elliott, Fuck You Picasso
Sandro Rodorigo, Sandro at Work: The Great Self-Portrait
Left to Right: Lucia Love Asst. Director, a stranger, and Daria Irincheeva Director
Emilie Lamakis, and her oldschool Met security uniform
LET THE JUICE LOOSE!

 

  • jeff

    That “ghetto frame” for Fuck You Picasso is actually a frame from an artist named Pavel Tchelitchew. Look him up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Tchelitchew
    I scored that from the Met.

  • Fred Fleisher

    great read! thanks!