Unfinished Story




“If you Google ‘Deitch’ and ‘Hole,’ all the articles about Jeffrey going to [MOCA] say that he’s leaving a hole in New York and there’s a hole in the community. It was this weird word that kept popping up and, of course, we feel the same way,” former Deitch Projects director Kathy Grayson recently told me. To fill that void she and the gallery’s former director of operations, Meghan Coleman, have spent the past few months readying their own aptly named gallery, The Hole, which opens tomorrow. “We’re going to try and keep exciting stuff going in the spirit of Deitch,” says Grayson, “With our own unique take on things.”  

With that goal in mind, Grayson and Coleman, with some collaborative input from Deitch executive director Suzanne Geiss, have carved out their own niche at Goldman Projects’ former Greene Street space (provided rent-free for seven months by Tony Goldman, who was going to open an art cafe there with Jeffrey Deitch before he decamped to L.A.). “It’s too nice, we need to fuck it up a bit, break it in a little, take the curse off a little with the first show,” Grayson told me. Artist Taylor McKimens has been tasked with mussing it up (think artistically rendered paint spills and construction flotsam) for their debut, Not Quite Open For Business, a group show featuring unfinished works from 25 artists including many Deitch alums like Barry McGee, Kembra Pfahler, Francine Spiegel, Jules De Balincourt and Rosson Crow.

“It almost looks like the space was abandoned in the middle of construction, as if it’s not demolished but not yet finished,” says Coleman, adding, “We’ve been going through so many ups and downs to this point, we just decided why not make a show of unfinished artwork playing with the whole caught-with-your-pants-down kind of thing. Plus, you never know when [a piece] is exactly finished.” To wit: Rosson Crow turned in a painting, unfinished of course, of the shuttered East Village tavern The Hole (now The Cock), Aurel Schmidt offered an in-progress version of her detailed detritus drawings, while Jim Drain made a yellow block sculpture with eyeballs leaning on a drumstick. “It looks like a person,” says Coleman. “I don’t know what it’s going to become, but it looks like it’s going in the right direction.” LEFT: NATE LOWMAN, UNFINISHED PAINTING, COURTESY MACCARONE

While the emphasis is not on sales, interested patrons will have the option to buy the pieces, provided the artists are amenable. “Artists can decide if they want to sell it as is, or if they want to finish it,” says Coleman. “But that’s up to the artists.”

Grayson explains they will “not be representing artists in the traditional sense, not doing traditional shows, and thinking beyond the gallery walls for different projects, like art parades,” she says. “It’s about community service, downtown culture, not being a boring gallery.” They’ve already got plans for exhibitions at Frieze and Art Basel Miami, solo shows with Cody Critcheloe and Matt Brinkman, a recreation of Kenny Scharf’s Cosmic Cavern, even an Rafael de Cardenas-designed shop, Holey Books, in the back selling “the best things [think music, art books, fashion, etc] that people in this community make,” adds Grayson. As for Jeffrey? “He’s thrilled about it. He thinks it’s great. He loves our show ideas, our graphic design, the name. He’s totally excited.”