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HAPPENINGText: Michael Foronda

The latest installment of art in the city premiered at a new space on 129 Lafayette under the guise of Ground Zero. The opening event held on August 16th was accompanied with the following mission statement:

“Reinventing the potential for a building in transition, Tribeach Holdings LLC, current owner of 129 Lafayette, graciously provided space in the as yet unprogrammed building. Independent curators and artists responding to the unique dynamics of the recently renovated building inhabit six floors to create Ground Zeoro:01. Each floor presents a distinct vision, including work ranging from site-specific installation and fabricated environments to investigative painting and analytical photography. The collected work of Ground Zero:01, filling some 30,000 square feet of exhibition space forms a body of new material capable of stimulating sophisticated discussions concerning the relevance of a wide array of directions for artists.”

The conflation of real estate and art has a longstanding history. Properties have often made strides to accommodate the display of art, in some cases allotting a percentage of the building costs for such causes. However, in the case of Ground Zero, the act of art making and it’s potential for creating a buzz appears to have come to the fore. With the future of the space remaining unclear this puts into question the motivations of property owners. The white washed spaces with panoramic views appear more primed for hip creative outfits than galleries with sensitive needs for artists. This particular sentiment surfaced while walking through the exhibition and continues to resonate with me.

As for the work, the diversity of mediums was in full force. In addition to the forays into painting, sculpture and photography were site-specific installations that succeeded in capturing the attention of those in attendance. Ryan McGinness of Flatnessisgod notoriety provided the space with a conglomeration of larger than life logos plastered along the ceiling, walls, and floor suggesting some sort of critique akin to Adbusters sensibility. Tronic Studio installed a piece displaying a digitally composed figure animated to the coordinates of the space which was then reinserted and projected back on to it. Finally there was the environment created by XMAC that looked at a number of materials and issues of scale to investigate the architectural form in an art context.

The Ground Zero:01 show gave clear indications the art making in New York City has significant vitality and people are willing to not only come out in droves to be a witness to it but also be the purveyors of it’s existence.

Ground Zero: 01
Date: August 16th -, 2001
Place: 129 Lafayette, New York

Text: Michael Foronda
Photos: Michael Foronda

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