Fitzpatrick, Lowman and Liden Open Downtown Gallery
A cheeky new art space has popped up in the window front of 54 Franklin Street in Tribeca. Christened the Home Alone Gallery, the project is the brainchild of actor/artist Leo Fitzpatrick and artists Nate Lowman and Hanna Liden.
Currently on view is Paul McCarthy's golden inflated sculpture Brancusi Tree (Gold), 2007, which has been on display since the second week of July. As the title suggests, the piece at first glance evokes the work of modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi. A soaring abstract shape with gentle tiers and a tapered form reminiscent of a pine tree, it also doubles as a larger-than-life butt plug.
Subversive humor is what this trio is all about. A.i.A. spoke with Fitzpatrick, who described the project's genesis as three friends, who have known each other more than a decade, "sitting at a bar, drinking beers together and talking about art." He claims that "there's no business side to it, we're just trying to make each other laugh."
Fitzpatrick, a self-described art-world outsider, has worked with Liden and Lowman before. In 2009, Fitzpatrick recruited the two artists, among others, to contribute pieces to his solo show, "Fuck Friends," at Terence Koh's Asia Song Society. Fitzpatrick also included their work in "Ray's a Laugh," a group exhibition that he curated at Half Gallery last summer. Liden and Lowman, for their part, showed together with "Come As You Are Again" at Salon 94 in late 2010.
The project's name is almost a joke—upon the record-breaking sale of Edvard Munch's The Scream (1895), Fitzpatrick mentioned that it had been the inspiration for the iconic Home Alone movie poster, and "in about five drunken seconds, we had our name." Winking reference to Macaulay Culkin aside, Home Alone seems a fitting title for a gallery where work sits unattended, open only to window-shoppers, recalling the punky, even tinier Wrong Gallery, run by Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick from 2002 to 2005.
Fitzpatrick, Lowman and Liden wanted a space where they could show work "without having the responsibility of explaining it or trying to sell it or anything of that." The original plan to set the project in the window of a pornography store failed to get off the ground when Fitzpatrick was unable to find a willing host: "It's really hard to get a straight answer from a pornography store owner—they thought I was a narc!"
Luckily, a small window space (5 by 6 feet with a 9-foot ceiling) near Lowman's new studio became available, and Home Alone Gallery was born. Works generally will be loaned by the artist. The current space is available only until the end of the year, but the curators are open to continuing Home Alone, should anyone want to loan them a window.
Fitzpatrick imagines a 24-hour space that will catch the eye of bikers and other passersby, especially at night, but right now work is displayed only from around 1:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. daily, so as to not burn out the inflatable Brancusi Tree's motor.
The next show will be a piece by Spencer Sweeney that Fitzpatrick saw at Gavin Brown's old gallery/bar, Passerby, perhaps 14 years ago. "Last night, when I was talking to Spencer about it, I found out it was actually the first piece he'd ever shown, so that's kind of exciting-not only for us, but for the artist to revisit his work years later and present it again, maybe in a new way."
There won't be any openings or closings at the Home Alone Gallery—the trio will just swap out the art whenever they decide on something new to show (Brancusi Tree [Gold] will most likely be up until the end of the month).
To get ideas, Fitzpatrick and Lowman will sometimes go on Chelsea gallery walks together and see what catches their eye, but mostly they just get together with Liden, crack open a beer, and discuss what they've been thinking about recently. Says Fitzpatrick, "it's more like a nerdy thing than anything: the way most guys talk about sports, we talk about art."