If you’ve seen a show at Microscope Gallery, you know that a small space can’t contain the huge impact their programs can have on your life. For example, at Microscope you might see a show that will forever remind you that uncertainty is a beautiful thing, or you might get to witness the miracle of a live birth as performance art. The 300 square foot space can, however, contain a number of people smushed up against each other on a hot summer night. That’s one reason why the gallery is on the move, and is looking for support from the Bushwick community and arts communities everywhere to keep their event series alive as they grow to a new space.
Microscope Gallery opened in 2010, and nestled into a cozy spot right behind Little Skips Coffee Shop on Charles Place off of Myrtle Ave…and anyone who’s ever read a craigslist apartment listing knows what “cozy” means. After 35 exhibitions, over 250 events (including performances, video work, talks, films, readings, lectures and sound installations), and a ghastly 60% rent hike, Gallery co-founders and co-directors Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti didn’t have much of a choice but decide it’s time to move out of their starter space and into one that will allow for proper exhibition space, and the other accommodations it takes to run a gallery (an office/storage room, etc.)
Marni Kotak during her 6-week durational performance “Mad Meds” (installation view)
After seeing space after space and seeing offers fall through as they do, Burchill and Monti finally got lucky on a 2,000 square foot space right off of the Jefferson Ave. L train stop. “The possibilities of our new space seem endless.” Said Burchill in an email interview with Bushwick Daily. “We can do many shows we couldn’t previously do.” The new space will make it possible for the gallery to continue to run regular shows, while simultaneously continuing their weekly event series, something the co-founders and co-directors emphasize as an integral part of their work and a founding principal of the gallery. “So often, although it’s now loosening up, works are forced into a white box setting, when really they would be better appreciated on a huge screen in the dark, or the reverse.” Burchill explained. “We’re trying to blur the distinction that still exist between the two and this was the concept from the very start.”
“Optipus” expanded cinema group during a performance at Microscope, July 2014
And this is the very spot where you come in! While Burchill and Monti have a lot of work and expenses ahead of them to lock down the fundamentals on the space—rewiring, gallery lighting, security system, insurance, and the move itself—they’re asking the Bushwick Community for support in keeping their event series alive in an Indie Go-Go campaign, where the duo aim to raise $16,000 by July 30th. Many events like the ones they curate take place in venues that provide to be an extra business (think food and drinks after a performance at Brooklyn Fireproof.) Since it’s the duo’s sole and personal mission to keep the series alive, they’re asking for your donations to support things like a strong AC unit, soundproofing for the walls, projectors, speakers, and all the things that will make your viewing experience comfortable so all you have to focus on is…what is that clown doing with that garbage bag?! “If you’ve ever been to the events there is a real sense of community happening there. People stay afterwards, discuss each other’s work, start collaborations, make new work and we do our best to facilitate all of this,” Burchill said.
When you donate, you have options based on different price points to receive different gifts, ranging from sneak peeks of the gallery’s progress, to artwork, to memberships, and all donations above $10 are tax deductible. But what you’re actually getting, is the knowledge that you contributed to an important part of art history. You helped a gallery that supports its community, celebrates up-and-coming talent, takes risks, and never compromises it’s mission to bring unique and influential works to the community it loves, no matter how big—or in this case, small—the road bump in the way.