When you go to a nightclub, you don’t expect to see 20-foot tall murals while waiting in line to pay the cover, or conceptual video art on the dancefloor. Nevertheless, Bushwick nightclub and music venue, Elsewhere, is embracing creativity in its space by inviting contemporary artists to install work in unexpected places through a program called Landscape. Led by the club’s art director, Molly Surno, Landscape aims to break the tradition of keeping art in the white cube by reconceptualizing how people interact with it.
While the installations for Landscape will be placed all over the nightclub, one of the main installations, “DISCO MOSS” by gloflo, will highlight Elsewhere’s courtyard and rooftop. “When considering new installations, we look at the bones of the building first,” Surno explains about the process of curating each edition of Landscape.
“DISCO MOSS” is faux flora and fauna made from fake flowers and foliage, disco balls, and other found materials. The creation is inspired by both the natural world and the multifaceted viscerality of being in a nightclub, which on the surface may seem incompatible. “Through these installations, I want to authentically merge art and the nightclub scene,” says Surno.
Other artworks that are part of Landscape’s summer program are a new video installation by interdisciplinary artist Bread Face, a huge stairwell installation by transmedia artist Zoe Burke and a pop-up movie theatre with films curated by Cristin Tierney gallery. There are also permanent installations such as painted toilet seats by Madeline Manning and courtyard murals by Hisham Akira Bharoocha and Grace Miceli. “I’m constantly thinking about how people move and react to the space,” Surno tells Bushwick Daily. “I want to put art in unexpected places to evoke a whimsical and spontaneous experience.”
This year, Landscape also has its first artist-in-residence, Marissa Zappas. When thinking about the residency, Surno took into consideration the intensely stimulating experience of going to a nightclub. “It’s more of a conceptual residency. I wanted something that goes with the experience of being out on the dance floor rather than something traditional,” Surno explains. Also a perfumer, Zappas will be creating custom scents for each season inspired by Elsewhere to diffuse throughout the space.
Elsewhere’s primary goal is to integrate visual art into inviting spaces without the stigma of price or elitism. To achieve this, a portion of every ticket sale goes towards Landscape’s budget. “Essentially everyone who purchases a ticket at Elsewhere becomes a patron of the arts,” Surno explains. “I don’t want this concept to be specific to Elsewhere though; we need to think about how to keep the art world fresh and accessible to people who don’t normally go out to galleries.”
As an artist herself, Surno notes that it’s a challenge to think about new and creative ways to bring art to people. “I think a nightclub is a great place to see art. You’re already relaxed, so when you come across a work that really catches your eye, you’re able to really experience it.”
Landscape’s summer edition opened June 11 and will be up through October. For more information about the art, artists and Landscape program, head over to Elsewhere’s website.
Images courtesy of Elsewhere.
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