Friday, April 29, 2011

After Fire, Open Source Gallery Mounts Show in Burned-Out South Slope Brownstone

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 8:57 AM

The old Open Space Gallery burned down, but the owners fire-damaged home is open for a temporary exhibition.
  • The old Open Space Gallery burned down, but the owners' fire-damaged home is open for a temporary exhibition.

Last November a fire at 17th Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope destroyed Open Source Gallery's small storefront space, and badly damaged co-owners Monika Wuhrer and Gary Baldwin's adjacent home. No matter: they turned the construction fence into a poster gallery, launched a pop-up in Greenpoint and, this week (with an assist from co-curator Frank De Leon-Jones), turned their badly damaged home into the massive, wonderfully intimate and incredibly rich site-specific group exhibition Associated with works by friends and artists who've shown at Open Source.

The facade of 257 17th Street, its fire escape wrapped in silver, fluttering in the storm winds.
  • The facade of 257 17th Street, its fire escape wrapped in silver by Ethan Crenson, fluttering in the storm winds.

There are tours today at 1pm and 7pm (meet at the front door of 257 17th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), and another tomorrow at 1pm concurrent with the fund-raising Carneval party.

In the front entrance or foyer, Hubert Dobler had a jolly time ramming knives, sticks and a Rubiks cube into the drywall (the piece is titled Double Heart).
  • In the front entrance or foyer, Hubert Dobler had a jolly time ramming knives, sticks and a Rubik's cube into the drywall (the piece is titled "Double Heart").

Monika Wuhrer, who co-directs the gallery with Gary Baldwin and Raphaela Riepl, gave me a tour on Thursday afternoon, "This situation has been such a source of stress for the past six months," she said, "but this makes me feel good about it again. Part of me wants to leave it this way and just put a bed in the middle of a room." She said that the building that used to house Open Source is being rebuilt as upscale apartments and retail that they won't be able to afford, but she has her eye on a new, larger space on 17th Street nearer Sixth Avenue.

Another view of Doblers drawing and architectural incision.
  • Another view of Dobler's drawing and architectural incision.

Associated may remain on view past this weekend and until the next, depending on when renovations begin on their. In the meantime, I highly, highly recommend making the trip to South Slope for this truly unique experience and excellent exhibition.

A view up the stairwell, criss-crossed with Doblers slingshot-like rubber bands.
  • A view up the stairwell, criss-crossed with Dobler's slingshot-like rubber bands.

In what would have been the ground floor kitchen, Anja Conrads photo, printed on canvas, of a German window display with bathtub.
  • In what would have been the ground floor kitchen, Anja Conrad's photo, printed on canvas, of a German window display with bathtub.

A drawing installation by ten-year-old family friend Maya Engstrom.
  • A drawing installation by ten-year-old family friend Maya Engstrom.

In the former kids room, a projector scrolled through the story of the three little pigs at an illegibly fast pace in an installation by Patrick May.
  • In the former kids' room, a projector scrolled through the story of the three little pigs at an illegibly fast pace in an installation by Patrick May.

In the main ground floor room, an abstract, fireplace-like bas-relief by Christian Brown entitled Mantle.
  • In the main ground floor room, an abstract, fireplace-like bas-relief by Christian Brown entitled "Mantle."

On the other side of the room, an amoebic sculpture and series of prints by Katerina Marcelja.
  • On the other side of the room, an amoebic sculpture and series of prints by Katerina Marcelja.

Up to the second floor now, this playful turquoise wood monster arm by Raphaela Riepl rests on the mantlepiece, playing with a matching yoyo (Riepl found all the materials, monster hand included, on-site).
  • Up to the second floor now, this playful turquoise wood monster arm by Raphaela Riepl rests on the mantlepiece, playing with a matching yo-yo (Riepl found all the materials, monster hand included, on-site).

Facing the yoyo claw, Evan Robarts removed a huge section of tiles from the upstairs bathroom, rotated it ninety degrees and hung it with a few smashed tiles re-attached. Its one of several very Gordon Matta-Clark-y pieces in Associated.
  • Facing the yo-yo claw, Evan Robarts removed a huge section of tiles from the upstairs bathroom, rotated it ninety degrees and hung it with a few smashed tiles re-attached. It's one of several very Gordon Matta-Clark-y pieces in Associated.

Alcohol on a painted cart by Jason Reppert (the piece is titled Manhandle, heh).
  • Alcohol on a painted cart by Jason Reppert (the piece is titled "Manhandle," heh).

Also by Reppert, the extremely phallic, somewhat scatalogical angel Meeting God.
  • Also by Reppert, the extremely phallic, somewhat scatalogical angel "Meeting God."

On the second floor landing, a cool bit fire debris hanging on by an electrical cord.
  • On the second floor landing, a cool bit fire debris hanging on by an electrical cord.

The literal and symbolic centerpiece of Associated, this ripped-apart room installation by Amanda C. Mathis is appropriately titled FDNY (257 17th Street).
  • The literal and symbolic centerpiece of Associated, this ripped-apart room installation by Amanda C. Mathis is appropriately titled "FDNY (257 17th Street)."

Details of Mathiss wallpaper-peeling installation.
  • Details of Mathis's wallpaper-peeling installation.

In the stairwell headed up to the third floor, Brad Engstrom covered these holes in the walls in black pigment to create that chared look.
  • In the stairwell headed up to the third floor, Brad Engstrom covered these holes in the walls in black pigment to create that charred look.

Also in the stairwell to the third floor, red felt pipes by Johanna Unzueta.
  • Also in the stairwell to the third floor, red felt pipes by Johanna Unzueta.

Peter Feigenbaum photographed parts of his Trainset Ghetto inside the damaged house, giving the images that added derelict Brooklyn look.
  • Peter Feigenbaum photographed parts of his Trainset Ghetto inside the damaged house, giving the images that added "derelict Brooklyn" look.

After Jason Repperts saintly phallus on the floor below, this is some seriously yonic wool.
  • After Jason Reppert's saintly phallus on the floor below, this is some seriously yonic wool piece by Annelise E. Ream.

A slightly morbid, mostly Sesame Street-y installation by former occupant Reamonn Byrne.
  • A slightly morbid, mostly Sesame Street-y installation by former occupant Reamonn Byrne.

A closeup on Byrnes installation in the room that was his studio pre-fire.
  • A closeup on Byrne's installation in the room that was his studio pre-fire.

One of two stunning video bathroom installations by Stefanie Kossef, this one with swimmers legs kicking across a sink.
  • One of two stunning video bathroom installations by Stefanie Kossef, this one with swimmers' legs kicking across a sink whose faucet doubles as a diving board.

Amazing suitcase terrariums (terraria?) by Kathleen Vance.
  • Amazing suitcase terrariums ("terraria"?) by Kathleen Vance.

Close-up view of one of Vances incredible Traveling Landscape pieces.
  • Close-up view of one of Vance's incredible "Traveling Landscape" pieces.

In the third floor kitchen, Alex Darseys beautiful photograph of the fire marks a fitting finale.
  • In the third floor kitchen, Alex Darsey's beautiful photograph of the fire marks a fitting finale.

Back outside, on the scaffolding where Open Source used to be, poster series by Allison Read Smith and Letizia Werth.
  • Back outside, on the scaffolding where Open Source used to be, poster series by Allison Read Smith and Letizia Werth.

One of Allison Read Smiths Thugs posters.
  • One of Allison Read Smith's "Thugs" posters.

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