On 10th Avenue, outside the Exit Art "L Factor" opening on Saturday night
Border fence, rasor wire and observation tower installed at the entrance to the show
On Saturday night Exit Art opened its latest show, "The L Factor." The curators' assignment was to challenge a group of wonderfully fecund young North American Latino visual artists to create work relating to North American Latino (large and small-c) culture. It's a great show, with some pretty heavy stuff alongside of, and sometimes within, works of great wit.
The opening party was very decorative, but something less than what we'd imagined it would be. Everyone had apparently been doing some serious community outreach, but at least up until the time we left the party everything was still pretty straight in every way, especially for an art crowd.
Maybe it was the impact of the chain link fence at the entrance, topped with rasor wire and dominated by a watchtower crowded with visitors with cameras.
Exit Art is redefining the geography of the Chelsea gallery scene, even if it's new location is not a part of Chelsea by anyone's definition and even if right now I think it's still some seven blocks north of its nearest colleagues, Sean Kelly on 26th Street. Time Out New York now has offices in Exit Art's building, and Art Resources Transfer may soon be moving to 33rd Street. It's hard to imagine that the west 30's could remain dominated by shipping companies and tire repair stands much longer. And, no, we don't need or want a stadium - ever.
The High Line development will change everything, but I hope that even with that reinvention there will still be room for people other than the moneychangers.
Anyway, it's worth the trek right now, and there's a neat cafe once you get there.