The four founders of Cleopatra’s Gallery—Bridget Donahue (formerly a director at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, who also owns her own Lower East Side space), Bridget Finn (co-director at Mitchell-Innes & Nash), Colleen Grennan (associate director at Andrew Kreps Gallery), and Erin Somerville (deputy director at White Columns)—wanted to create a space that wasn’t dictated by professionalism and commercial value. Founded in 2008, the gallery has staged many idiosyncratic exhibitions featuring such artists as Irving Feller, a neighbor who owned a fur shop around the corner and made black-and-white drawings, and Cary Loren, a lyricist for the Detroit punk band Destroy All Monsters; Loren once transformed the gallery’s space into a lagoon.
For his second project as Issue Project Room 2017 Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow, DeForrest Brown Jr. presented the premiere of Elevator to Mezzanine, a new commissioned project between Brown and Berlin-based artist, musician and writer Steven Warwick taking place at Secret Project Robot.
Elevator to Mezzanine (E-M) is a cataloguing space and focus group established in 2017 by Steven Warwick & DeForrest Brown Jr. and proposes itself as a “War on Style.”* E-M opens in a club environment and takes the form of a play-as-platform, a ground-level press conference, and a prepared sound design piece. The performance-as-installation features a staged version of E-M’s conceptual department store and sets out to investigate, scale and perform this flat non-space and its orbiting culture of collapsing economies and corroding identities.
Featuring Warwick performing selections from his 2016 PAN release Nadir, described as a mixtape by both the label and artist, the piece “utilizes oblique and pulsing electronics and his own voice to weave reflective poetics and diaristic snapshots over disjointed rhythms.” Overall, the work offers observations of millennial placelessness, an inescapably fearful media climate, the emotional disaffection and degradation of the pressures of wage labor, contemporary uncertainty and urban isolation. It suggests collapse in lieu of the obligation to offer answers, which in itself opens up a space where bodies are still amongst each other and together.
A second iteration of this project is coming to Cleopatra's Sunday October 8th! Mark your calendar. @martin_nigella @clinicalpoetics @secretprojectrobot @issueprojectroom @ilya_lipkin