Tribeca art space with a big vision
Lea Rekow, artistic director of Gigantic Art Space on Franklin St. Rekow has traveled around the world photographing and filming people in developing countries. Downtown Express Photo by Elisabeth Robert
By Tanya Alina G. Warren
The brand-new Gigantic Art Space (GAS) is not all that gigantic. But what GAS lacks in square footage, it more than makes up for in concept. This multi-discipline art gallery encompasses film, video, music, and interactive multimedia. GAS founders will focus on the intersection between music, politics, pop and international cultures, according to the gallerys mission statement
The international culture part was brought aboard by founding director Lea Rekow. A native of Australia, Rekow has spent the last decade living and traveling in over 50 developing countries, shooting film and still photography.
I will always need to travel, Rekow says, but for now I am happy to bring the travel to the gallery.
From the material she gathered on her many voyages, Rekow has produced a number of ethnographic projects which have been shown internationally. (Some of this fascinating work can be viewed on her website: learekow.com.) She is also the former director of Harmonic Ranch, a new media studio in Tribeca, and director of media programs at the Center for Peace and Human Security.
Brian Devine, the owner and founder of GAS, is as multi-media as his gallery. Devine has a background in film and TV production, and he is a singer-songwriter who has recorded two albums with his band, Spanish Speaking Psychics. A few floors above the art gallery on 59 Franklin Street, is a fully-equipped recording studio, which the gallery plans to use to break new ground at the intersection of art and music.
D Troit is the inaugural exhibit on display until the end of January. It is an examination of the fertile Detroit art scene and the particular blend of influences that have contributed to it. These include the decline of the automobile industry, the race riots of 1967, the white flight from the city to the suburbs, and the ensuing urban decay of what was once a model of the modern industrial city.
The shows curator, Trevor Schoonmaker, first became acquainted with Detroit when he was getting his masters in Art History from the University of Michigan.
I spent four years there studying, and I had a lot of opportunity to get to know the city. But it was the friends I made who circulated in the different worlds there music, art, etc., that really opened my eyes to the beauty of it.
Schoonmaker says Detroit is the kind of city that you need an introduction to, in order to get a deeper understanding of what can flower out of urban decay.
Detroit has a sort of hip cachet right now, but it is important to try to see what is really going on there things like the Heidelberg Project [created by artist Tyree Guyton] that are such an important commentary on urban revival. He is thrilled to introduce many of these Detroit artists to the New York art community. When Lea approached me about curating a show, I thought of Detroit right away
The work of the nine artists and one music journalist contributing to the D Troit exhibition has grown out of their personal experiences in post-industrial Detroit. The exhibit includes work from Tyree Guytons famous Heidelberg Project, race riot footage by Susan Cook, photographs of Detroits decaying architecture by Doug Coombe, comic illustrations by Mark Dancey, and film footage from Nigerian artist, Andrew Dosunmu (the only artist not from Detroit). Music journalist Mike Rubin provides an extensive historical overview of Detroit area music of the last forty years
The first stated goal on the Gigantic Art Space website is: To extend the range of art experience. With GASs first exhibit as an example, it would seem they are well on the way.