Photo by Jule Pike, FIFI projectsWhat promises to be a good new gallery just opened in the Lower East Side: FIFI projects, 29 Essex Street.
Even though the gallery is small, their first show is a seven-person exhibition of really handsome large photographs. I particularly loved the largest work (75” x 40”), by Mathias Kessler (no relation), of an iceberg in Greenland shot at night using movie lighting. Barbara Kasten (she showed with John Weber -- I miss seeing her work) used to do a similar thing, but used mirrors and brightly colored gels.
Another space also just opened in the area -- 169 Bowery: Collective Hardware. At first I didn't know if it was a gallery or what it was. The entire, relatively raw, ground floor had an exhibition by Steve Olson, but the door was wide open and no one was sitting the show. I heard talk upstairs so I walked up a flight and there were some people sitting around what looked like a living room in a large loft with a hair salon in the front. I asked them if this was a gallery and they said they didn’t know anything about the place and just wandered in like me, but they pointed to a guy passing by that might know. I asked him and got a major Charles Chamot type schpeel.
It’s a collective all right -- the entire building. FIVE stories! And it indeed includes a gallery and a hair salon, but also a clothing design studio and show room, a recording studio, a special effects studio and probably a lot more than I could take in from the guy. Their website isn’t completed yet, but he promised it would be ready soon. It isn’t far from the New Museum; check it out when you’re in the area.