Associated Gallery is an artist run space fueled by the combined energies of artists Jen Hitchings, Theresa Daddezio, and Julian Jimarez-Howard. They recently got together with Leah Oates to talk about what it means to be young artists running a gallery out of Bushwick.
Leah Oates: How did Associated Gallery form and what is your collective vision for the gallery?
Associated Gallery: Associated evolved out of Weeknights Gallery, a previous curatorial project that Jen had been running in her studio at The Active Space. When time came to renew the lease in the space, Theresa and Jen, who are both painters and had neighboring studios, thought to combine forces and share studio #28 for painting and turn #27 into a full gallery, which became Associated when they asked another friend, artist, and curator, Julian Jimarez-Howard, to join. We collectively aim to engage the community of artists and showcase those who are underrepresented. We also have aimed to bring totally new ideas to the curatorial world, like with our plant show, “You Are My Sunshine,” in the fall, which received a Critic’s Pick by Jerry Saltz in New York Magazine.
LO: Bushwick has a thriving art scene composed of galleries, non-profits, artists studios and performance spaces. How do you see Bushwick changing and growing and is it the place where the newest, freshest art is being created and/or is its now getting to expensive to pull these things off as much?
AG: We were just talking about this! We are excited for the possibilities that the growing community lends itself to, but also nervous that the increasing rent costs will drive out the thriving art scene before artists really have a chance to settle in the neighborhood. We are worried that Bushwick is becoming more about commercial consumption rather than artistic production. This might seem to be good news for us as a gallery because we rely on people buying work from us (hey collectors!!), but it’s a kind of double-edged sword as we constantly consider the eventuality of being priced out of this neighborhood that we all consider home, or even worse, being stuck in an overly commercial and artificial neighborhood, like what has happened in lower Manhattan since the 80’s.
LO: Are the three of you artists and what do you think of artist run spaces? There seems to be a resurgence of artist collectives and artist run spaces in the NYC area. Do you think that artists bring something to the table that non artists do not?
AG: We are all artists actually. But our energy as a group isn’t really like an artist collective. Artist run spaces like ourselves, Regina Rex, or Parallel Art Space operate like a standard gallery, showing the work of other artists, and not our own work. The fact that we are artists definitely informs our curatorial approach and aesthetic, but at the end of the day, at Associated, we’re three curators working together to create professional and compelling exhibitions.
LO: What advice would you give to emerging artists who are just out of BFA/MFA programs or who have just settled in NYC?
Julian Jimarez-Howard: Buy lots of vegetables because they’re cheap and healthy, even better, farm them.
Theresa Daddezio: Stay positive and motivated.
Jen Hitchings: You have to work together, and stay in touch with your mentors/professors.
LO: Who are your favorite artists and why?
TD: Artemisia Gentileschi because she’s badass.
JJH: Gabriel Orozco and Francis Alÿs have been decent sources of inspiration for me over the years, but really my favorite artists are my friends. I think that probably goes for all of us, though.
JH: Allison Schulnik, John O’Connor, Lisa Sanditz, and some musicians such as The Caretaker, since music makes a big impact on my painting practice.
LO: What shows and projects do you have coming up at Associated Gallery or elsewhere.
AG: Our next show, opening in late February, is a group show of artists who work with materials in the outdoors, or who create work that exists just outside of the “art world.” It’s a broad take on “outsider art.” The following show is a two-person exhibition concerning landscape, and in May we will be showcasing some BFA candidates from SUNY Purchase (where Theresa and Jen graduated are alumni). We hope to eventually have some exhibitions travel elsewhere, but that’s an idea for the future.