The panting dog was somewhat unsettling, but the click of a digital camera was just plain upsetting, because both seemed to violate the air of silence and vulnerability as Lisa Levy sat naked on a toilet seat in an ironic homage to Marina Abramović’s The Artist is Present. Then again, these weird ways of interacting with the artist were more exciting to watch than people who approached the porcelain throne and looking blankly at Levy for what could easily be dismissed as a glorified staring contest.
For the second time since his eponymous Bushwick gallery opened, Christopher Stout logged onto Facebook to find that his account had been frozen. The gallerist, whose interest lies in “subversive art,” had posted an image of Lisa Levy, who plans to sit naked on top of a toilet for two straight days in order to call out “the bullshit trendy art dialogue” that she says is plaguing the art world. The image shows the long-haired artist sitting sideways, naked. “You can see her top, but you can’t see her bottom,” Stout said. “It’s just such a crazy, conservative kind of standard.”
Christopher Stout, founder of Bushwick Art Crit Group, has just opened his gallery in the disputed territory of East Williamsburg, the realization of plans we first heard about in early September. I had a chance to check the place out on Friday, and found that Stout is already keeping good on his pledge to show “subversive art.” The centerpiece of the gallery’s inaugural show, Shepard by Phoenix Lindsey-Hall, is a massive, meticulously crafted porcelain replica of the iconic fence Matthew Shepard (the victim of a notorious hate crime) was bound to before he was tortured and left for dead back in 1998. Not easy-to-swallow material, to say the least.
Founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group, Christopher Stout is now the head of his own gallery, which has its very first art opening with sculptor Phoenix Lindsey Hall’s solo exhibition, “Shepard.” The centerpiece of the show, a 14-foot replica of the fence Matthew Shepard was chained to while his assailants tortured him to death, is a stark confrontation with a symbol of hate and anti-gay violence. “It’s a very somber show,” Stout explained. “New York tends to show very serious work in the fall and it seems like a very important way but also a very different way to talk about some of the issues we’re interested in exploring.”
Read more about the gallery here.
“This gallery is my baby,” explained Christopher Stout, founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group. This fall, Stout will host his inaugural exhibition as a gallery owner at his new space, the first of several anticipated art institutions inside an East Williamsburg warehouse space. BACG is “a not-for-profit community resource for everybody,” Stout explained. “But it felt like it was increasingly challenging– in a negative way– to make programming that was about everyone.” In order to host exhibitions that relate to specific subjects that Stout is more personally invested in, without having to worry about “alienating everyone else,” he said, “it really needed to be separate and become its own thing.”
Last Wednesday, the Bushwick Art Crit Group met for an evening of critique that in many ways wasn’t out of the ordinary. Yet the founder of the non-profit community art organization, Christopher Stout, admitted later that during his opening comments his voice began to shake as he introduced the curator and opening presenter, Anthony Rosado. “No one likes to feel like you are part of the problem, especially when you are working so hard to bring good into the world,” Christopher said in a follow-up interview with B+B.