Art accessibility think tank Curbs & Stoops just opened its Active Space at 566 Johnson Avenue in Bushwick. The plans Ashley Zelinskie and Jeffrey Peña have sound really great. Bushwick Daily chatted with Ashley about the mission of Curbs & Stoops, its current show, its artists in residency and the wall project.
When was Curbs & Stoops started?
My partner Jeffrey started Curbs & Stoops about 3 years ago in San Francisco. I joined about a year ago. Jeffrey started mostly showing street art because that work in it’s nature was accessible. For his first public project, he took photographs of people on the street and provided high resolution portraits immediately online.
What’s the idea behind Curbs & Stoops?
The basic idea is to make fine art accessible to everyone. Sometimes the fine art world can be really pretentious, exclusive or really expensive. We are trying to make art accessible. If you can’t be there, we’ll help you to be there. I often go to art shows in Manhattan and other places, and I take pictures, blog about the shows or stream them with my phone. I streamed Art Basel Miami, for example. I am trying to write in a really simple way, describing only facts, avoiding judgments, so it’s easy for everyone to understand.
You opened an art space in a Bushwick industrial building at 566 Johnson Ave recently. Tell us about your plans.
Yes, the space in Bushwick is our physical space. Right now, only the second floor is open, but we’re renovating the gallery space on the ground floor around the corner and the first floor. Part of the building will serve as studios and will also experimental exhibitions, shows and music. The third floor will be renovated next year. And then there is a roof with an amazing view of the city; we would like to make it viable to host events up there.
Can you tell us about your current exhibitions?
We opened on Beat Nite, with five exhibitions. The first comprises of two artists who are in residency: Rachel Labine and Jonathan Chapline. As a part of our residency, artists have several opportunities to show in venues in New York including our own. Noah Becker from White Hot Magazine will come next month to review their work. The idea is to provide them with space, exposure, community, and positive competition. The other featured show was a duo exhibition with Brian Maller and Sebastian Vallejo, who have their studios here. The “Island Hoppers” show was curated in response to the rise of artists migrating from the Carribbean Islands to New York. And the final show is called “Suspended Animation… or Animated Suspension”.
What about your upcoming projects?
In April we will be building a curated mural wall wrapping around the corner. It will be curated as a gesture towards our neighborhood. Our conversation with the city. We will invite street artists or any other artists who are interested in exploring this venue. The first participating artist is our friend Chor Boogie, who did the murals for the Beijing Olympic Games and whose piece on the Berlin wall sold for half a million euro. He’s donating prints to the first 50 people who donate $ 500 or more to our Kickstarter campaign. You can check out our Kickstarter video and donate. After that, Jorge Rodriguez Gerada will be doing a large scale charcoal drawing exploring Bushwick’s identity on our facade. That project is still in the works.