This past Thursday we had a cocktail party to celebrate the five teams who have been developing the pop-up art spaces that will be displayed around the city beginning in mid-April. The kick-off party was in the new addition to the H Street neighborhood’s art scene - Industry Gallery (right above Conner Contemporary).
Walking from the Metro, rain beginning to fall and the wind whipping dirt into my eyes, I had two thoughts running through my head: “What is with this weather?” and “Where am I?” The first still remains unanswered, while the latter concluded a few moments later as we finally happened upon Industry Gallery.
Walking inside I was met by a vast array of unusual functional art pieces. After speaking with a few guests, finding out there were much easier ways to get to the gallery (check out a free shuttle on H Street for instance) and getting myself a glass of white wine, I proceeded to explore the gallery.
The current show features work by Tejo Remy and Rene Veenhuizen. There were chairs that at first appear to be inflatable, but with further investigation are discovered to be poured concrete. There were intricate felt-fabric rugs and wooden pieces with fascinating lines. There was also a small display promoting the gallery’s next show; a collection of furniture made from melting a form out of mounds of rope and other plastic materials.
Since it’s opening in January, Craig Applebaum (the owner of the Industry Gallery) has made functional art his primary focus. It seemed a fitting venue for an event by an organization whose main objective is to provide functional spaces for artists.
The CEO of the CuDC, Anne Corbett and the President of the Board, Michael Abrams gave short speeches. Craig welcome everyone to the gallery and in refreshing contrast to the the “stay-behind-the line” attitude we’ve come to associate with art venues, he encouraged everyone in the room to touch and sit on all the furniture. The artist of the next show, Tom Price also said a few words about his upcoming exhibit. The general tone of the evening was one of excitement and pride for the upcoming gala and the art being produced for it.
After doing one more round of the gallery, no longer feeling guilty for sneaking a touch here and there, and sitting on some surprisingly comfortable pieces of art, the night wound down and the guests began to leave. All-in-all if this kick-off is any sign of what’s to come, I fully expect a successful May 1st evening ahead of us.
On Wednesday our five pop-up teams came to Flashpoint to tell us about their projects. I heard someone say “the mead theatre lab looks like developer architect prom!” But seriously, how cool was it to see everyone come out to present their concepts to one another and get feedback. Everyone has really embraced this project and all of the ideas are fabulous yet radically different. Here’s a taste:
Team Live – JBG, Studios & Andrew Wodzianski – are taking “live” literally designing a 100 s.f. compact residence in which Andrew will live for approximately 2 weeks. Can’t wait to peek at him in this ultra-modern, not-so-secret lair on U Street b/t 13th & 14th.
Team Work – Lakritz Adler, Sorg & Edgar Endress – are exploring commerce and the value of community. They charted a path from their site at the Moderno to Long View Gallery and will be giving people they meet along the path shawbucks in exchange for personal mementos. Someone asked how the architects could resist building something.
Team Play – Vornado, VOA & Gediyon Kifle – are creating an urban playground in Crystal City. They want to see how people interact with it. Gediyon, a photographer, says he’s outside his artistic comfort zone and he loves that.
Team Create – Artspace, Bognet Construction, Hickok Cole & Paige Hernandez – are creating a mirrored backdrop for Paige to perform her theatrical mixed tape. This pop-up will live in a temporary dance studio when Brookland Artspace Lofts breaks ground this Spring. Great dual purpose.
Team Connect – Cohen Companies, CORE & Jefferson Pinder – are making a metaphor for the neighborhood transition in Near Northeast. This 10 foot cube made of found materials from the community is designed to morph depending on where it’s installed. Several years ago, I fell in love with Jefferson’s assemblages – and now with his team he can really take one to scale.
Keep an eye out here for video of the creative process and of course plan to check out all five sites April 19th.
Cohen Companies is the developer for our fourth Pop-Up Gala group, Team CONNECT.
The architect behind this group is CORE Architecture + Design (Fun fact: These guys are also responsible for the architecture of Georgetown Cupcake)