On March, 20, 2013 we hosted our first DELVE Networking night at 61 Local in Brooklyn. Though we aren't fans of the word "networking" we like what it implies: a chance to meet new people in an environment focused on your profession. We began the DELVE series to provide an opportunity for artists, creatives and arts professionals to get together in a relaxed environment and to simply get to know each other outside of crowded gallery openings.
By bringing in outside speakers whose paths have been various and unique, our goal is to inspire and perhaps light that proverbial flame underneath all of us. In addition, we are excited to bring together speakers who are open and transparent about how they do what they do. Hearing about the leaps of faith people have taken to propel them towards success, the reasons why certain projects gained momentum or failed, and about someone's struggles and the realizations about how to sustain a credible art practice in New York are all really important. So, DELVE frees us from our studios, computer screens and inhibitions for a little while and gives us a place where we can get real.
After some socializing, Emma Katz, the Executive Director of Recession Art, kicked off the presentations. Emma comes from a theater background and is often amazed that she is in the position to be leading a popular gallery selling affordable art, which recently moved to Bergen Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. She started the gallery with her photographer sister, Ani, during the time of the 2008 recession. By keeping prices for art work low (one cent to under $1000) the idea is that anyone can buy art. Recession Art has a constant stream of opportunities for artists, and we recommend checking them out. Emma and her staff are working hard to create an open, fair platform for artists to sell work, which is so important.
Charlotte Becket, an artist and faculty member at Pace University, took us on the path of how her kinetic sculptures have evolved over the past ten years. In the photograph below, you can see Charlotte showing us her elaborate mechanisms that she builds to move her pieces. Her sculptures are usually large and made of simple materials such as notebook paper or tape, but their motorized heaving/breathing/opening/closing create a cyclical, never-ending loop that is simultaneously transfixing and disturbing. Until, that is, you unplug them. Charlotte is very open and funny when talking about her work which is really refreshing, since her work is smart, serious and really compelling.
Marshall Weber, artist and co-founder/curator of Booklyn, an artist-run, non-profit 501 (c) (3), consensus-governed, artist and bookmakers organization headquartered in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Check out their (brand new!) site and explore all of the incredible artists they work with. We recommend getting over there for a visit the next chance you get. Marshall is a performer and activist in addition to an artist specializing in artist books. One of the most poignant moments of the evening was when he explained his struggles with being in the studio making work and objects to sell, when he wanted to be out making things happen. So he revealed his compromise: to devote his time to both making objects and activism, and to follow his intuition. He shared projects he has worked on with many different organizations, such as Just Seeds and the Combat Paper Project.
Marshall's comment that the gallery system is slowly becoming a dinosaur and that all that is happening in Brooklyn right now is a new form of an arts renaissance was really right on. This first night of DELVE truly reflected that. So many creative people in one place who make their own opportunities is really inspiring and uplifting. Thanks to all of you who attended!