Greenpoint artist Allison Sommers is once again gathering the most unconventional art from 30 local artists for a popup art show called The Happening, held this year at Cloud City. Tomorrow the Williamsburg art space, founded in 2013 from the ashes of Dead Herring, will be overrun with artists hanging their work and preparing music and dance performances. It promises to be unlike anything you would find at a traditional gallery.
The catch? You have to see it Saturday night, because come Sunday all the art will be taken down and The Happening disappears until it’s resurrected again next year.
Sommers, who organized the show with her husband Garrit Roessler and Amanda Levin, said its name was a nod to the rebellious ’60s gatherings. “It’s a community effort kind of thing. Everyone pitches in,” she said. “There’s a lot of new work from artists that hasn’t been shown elsewhere, which I find really exciting.”
She told Bedford + Bowery that she’s been encouraging participating artists to use the informal setting as a place to show their less traditional work. “A lot of them are professional artists in one way or another, but we often are constrained by what art galleries want from us. This is a place for stuff that’s not safe for galleries, so I’m really trying to nudge them to experiment with more avant-garde stuff,” Sommers said. “A lot of people are doing things outside of their cannon.”
There will be dance, performance art, musical performances and, if these photos from previous years’ Happenings are any indication, generally interesting stuff to look at, thoughtfully crammed together in one place. It’s the first year the event hasn’t been held in a regular gallery.
“I think Cloud City is a great venue for something like this,” said Sommers. She first discovered the space when she attended RIP DIY, a photography show lamenting the loss of Brooklyn DIY venues like Death By Audio and Glasslands. That’s fitting, considering the collaborative effort to throw The Happening (which basically has no budget) is a kind of DIY event in of itself. Having originally made a name for herself as an artist in California, Sommers was amazed to see how many New York City artists were willing to donate their time to the event. “I was flabbergasted that the whole thing pulled off,” she said, laughing. “It was terrifying; the first year bought couple boxes of wine and said, ‘Let’s see how it goes!’”
She doesn’t have to worry about rounding up enough great artists this year – the full list of participants includes Caitlin Karolczak and Brooklyn painter Mu Pan. “I’m really excited about his piece,” Sommers said. “I find that his work is very rude, and it’s extremely combative, almost, in a way that I think a lot of his peers are not.”
The Happening III, Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. Cloud City, 85 North 3rd Street.