112 Greene Street Revived by Street Artists

In Work To Do on March 14, 2009 at 9:19 pm


NEW YORK, NY–112 Greene Street in Soho was the original home of 112 Workshop, a raw space open between 1970 and 1980, offering exhibition space for installation and performance for the new generation of conceptual and performance artists who emerged as the Vietnam War and racism were ripping the country apart. In the early ’70s the economy had tanked, New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy, bleeding money and jobs and with virtually no commercial infrastructure for experimental art in place, artists had to create their own marginal, bootstrap model.

As Holland Cotter from the NY Times recently wrote:

“They moved, often illegally, into the derelict industrial area now called SoHo, and made art from what they found there. Trisha Brown choreographed dances for factory rooftops; Gordon Matta-Clark turned architecture into sculpture by slicing out pieces of walls. Everyone treated the city as a found object.

An artist named Jeffrey Lew turned the ground floor and basement of his building at 112 Greene Street into a first-come-first-served studio and exhibition space. People came, working with scrap metal, cast-off wood and cloth, industrial paint, rope, string, dirt, lights, mirrors, video. New genres — installation, performance — were invented. Most of the work was made on site and ephemeral: there one day, gone the next.”

Artists were given almost complete control to curate their shows, the space put on challenging and inspirational work of hundreds of people. During the life of this laboratory it produced a list of influential performers and artists that helped shape the cultural cityscape over next 30 years, including names like Vito Acconci, Italo Scanga, Laurie Anderson, Joseph Beuys, Louis Bourgois, Chuck Close, Spalding Gray, Phillip Glass, Fran Lebowitz, Jeffrey Lew (co-founder), Gordon Matta Clarke (co-founder), Richard Mock, Richard Serra, William Wegman, Dennis Oppenheim and Chris Burden just to name a very few.

After 112 Workshop moved on to become White Columns, the basement space where 112’s founder Jeffrey Lew had built a recording studio that he subsequently sold to Steven Loeb, Loeb turned his Greene Street Recording into the laboratory for what became the 1980’s hip hop movement.
From the Bronx came Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” and Love Bug Starsky’s “You Gotta Believe” then Hollis Queens’ Run/DMC’s with “Its Like That” and Salt & Pepa’s “My Mic Sounds Nice” and “Push It”
After a decade of showing some of the most groundbreaking contemporary art, 112 Greene St now shifted to sound and became a laboratory for much of the new cultural movement that came to be known as hip hop.

But with action there is reaction followed by another cycle.
Ironically the sound being invented during the 1980’s at 112 Greene like Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force’s “Planet Rock” or LL Cool J’s “Radio” would greatly influence scores of new visual artists who were then doing their art outside the conventional gallery environment – on subway cars, on building walls or in doorways, and many of these street artists would emerge a decade later recognized by an international audience.

NYC artists like Bast, Faile, Aiko would go from the streets to the galleries to the auction houses. And more are following in their footsteps.

A spirit of collaboration and lively exploration returns to this incredibly creative space on March 26 when street artists well known in North Brooklyn today electrify the walls with a new era of youthful big ideas – and with thanks to those who came before in this hallowed space.

Royce Bannon, core member of the collective ELC (Endless Love Crew), is curating an audacious and boundless graphic cavalcade of street art styles to christen the historic space that honors the creative spirit. While ELC has a rotating roster that sometimes totals as many as 9 artists with a variety of styles, the currently active members of the ELC for this project will be Abe Lincoln Jr., Anera, El Celso, infinity, and Royce Bannon. With everyone working collaboratively, the “Work to Do” show pays homage to the new president and embraces a new reality that artists and creatives in the city are feeling right now.

The 112 Greene Street space is christened The Combine with this inaugural show. Steve Loeb and John Robie, called the “inventor of hip hop” by the LA Times, writer and producer of seminal hip hop groundbreaking hit records “Looking for the Perfect Beat” , “Planet Rock”, are creating The Combine to provide a new environment for the exhibition of art; an alternative to the traditional gallery opening and exhibition, transforming static work into multi-media, performance oriented events.

So far the lineup for the show includes: Endless Love Crew, Moody AA, Cabahzm, Cake, 2Easae, Avone, Chris RWK, Veng RWK, Brando * Nev1 * Sinatra Smart Crew, AVOID pi, infinity, Deeker, Keeley, El Celso, Dain, Pufferella, Skewville, Royce Bannon, AnerA, Abe Lincoln Jr., Ellis Gallagher AKA Ellis G., Matt Siren, Overconsumer, Kosbe, Aiko, Abby Goodman, Hush, Alone art, Bast, Ben Jackson, Bobby Hill, Buildmore, C. Damage, Chris Brennan, Christopher Gordon, Dark Clouds, Deeker, Destroy and Rebuild, Erica Faulke, Keely, Pufferella, OHM, Smells, Stikman, U.L.M.

The show “Work To Do” opens March 26/ Opening reception is 6 – 10 with Africa Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force performing live and then will run through April 16


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: