How You Turn an Art Gallery Into an Airport Jetway

11/12/2010 9:41 AM |

Andrew Ohanesian Jetway at Famous Accountants

Tonight Andrew Ohanesian‘s new exhibition opens (7-10pm) at Famous Accountants in Bushwick/Ridgewood. Ohanesian creates meticulous installations that turn entire galleries or parts of galleries into completely incongruous and fully-functional real-world spaces—this past summer, for instance, visitors to English Kills entered the gallery through a deli’s walk-in freezer he had made (and kept stocked!), an unexpected and welcome blast of cool on hot days. For this new installation, “Untitled” (The Jetway), he’s turning the entire narrow Famous Accountants basement space into an airport Jetway—you know, the thing you walk through to get from the terminal onto the plane. Yesterday I asked Famous Accountants co-founder Kevin Regan about the installation process, and how exactly you turn an art gallery into an airport Jetway…

The L: Were you worried at all when Ohanesian told you his plan?
Kevin Regan: Andrew is pretty amazing to work with. He’s very organized and very professional. He’s a meticulous, detail-oriented artist—with enormous willpower. I think the biggest challenge with this piece was carefully planning the fabrication.

How did that work?
Everything was fabricated off-site, at Andrew’s studio in Bushwick, and then brought to the gallery for assembly. It was a big challenge making sure we could get all the fabricated parts, mainly the Jetway panels, into the basement for final assembly. All the parts had to be brought in through the trap in the back of the building—and it’s a smallish opening. I think the next big challenge after that was getting the cab. This is the part of a Jetway that smashes up against the doorway of a jet. It would have been too difficult to fabricate. This is the only part of the installation that’s found. And here’s the crazy part: it was salvaged from a site in Indianapolis. So, less than a week ago two of Andrew’s crew flew to Indianapolis, filleted it, put it in the back of a truck with a forklift (the thing is heavy) and drove it back to Bushwick. Cutting the cab up into pieces that we could get into the basement, again, through the trap, turned into another big challenge. Andrew spent two days dealing with this: cutting it into pieces with a plasma cutter. The last big challenge, I would say, has been not pissing off all the other tenants in the building.

Is the installation finished?
We are in the final stages of assembly right now. So far everything is powering along very smoothly. We are very excited. It’s going to be amazing. As I said, Andrew is a huge pleasure to work with. He’s professional and he knows what he’s doing. The design of this installation is based on actual Jetway designs. This is something Andrew has been researching for the past few years.

And the narrow, hallway-like space seems to lend itself well to a Jetway makeover…
We took the back of the gallery out, so the Jetway itself will more or less fill up the entire footprint of the building. All this has gotten us wondering… what the hell would Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge think of this crazy project?! As you may know she grew up in the building (and lived there with Genesis for about 14 years). Imagine discovering a Jetway in the basement of your childhood home… Huh? Whoa.

Andrew Ohanesian’s installation at Famous Accountants takes off tonight, and flies through December 19.