With American Medium moving from its home of three years at 424 Gates Avenue in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn to a new location in Chelsea near David Zwirner this fall, a new gallery called Housing is taking over its former space and will present its first show there next month.
“We’re stepping in on the heels of American Medium’s move out to Chelsea,” Housing’s creative director, Eileen Isagon Skyers, said in an email to ARTnews. “The gallery aims to de-gentrify the space, effectively supporting only the practices of black artists and non-black POC.”
For the remainder of its lease, American Medium will sublet the storefront to Housing, which organized a show at the space earlier this year (under the name Freeman Gallery). “When the idea for HOUSING was proposed, it seemed the most appropriate way for us to transition out of bedstuy,” Josh Pavlacky, one of American Medium’s cofounders said in an email. (The gallery stylizes its name in capital letters.) “We are happy to see a dedicated POC gallery and we support whatever language and mission they deem appropriate to best utilize the gallery and garden space.”
The email from Housing (which also quotes the famed Bed-Stuy rapper the Notorious B.I.G.: “If you don’t know, now you know”) said that the gallery is “guided by a desire to stimulate public discourse through the work of artists & creative practitioners whose works show critical commentary & intent,” and adds, “Part of our motivation is to support artistic practices & aesthetic experiences that contour the limits of visibility, & advance the conditional inclusion of artists of color.” Its first show will be a two-person outing with Winslow Laroche and Brandon Holmes, opening September 22. Exhibitions by Keijaun Thomas and Rafia Santana, among others, are also on the calendar.
American Medium, which was founded by Pavlacky, Daniel Wallace, and Travis Fitzgerald, represents artists like Harm van den Dorpel, Ann Hirsch, Kareem Lotfy, and Wickerham & Lomax. Daniel Wickerham, one half of that last name, told the New York Times in a story about their planned move in April, of the founders, “They want to win.” It will debut its Chelsea space in October with a solo show by the artist and Rhizome editor Aria Dean.
Through an IndieGoGo campaign, Housing—which is run by Skyers along with K.J. Freeman, the gallery’s owner and director—is currently attempting to raise $20,000 to support its operation. “By providing any contribution to HOUSING, you are effectively funding the continuation of cultural programming in Bedstuy,” a statement on the fundraising page says. The different funding levels are named for streets that run through the area (Halsey Street, Dekalb Avenue, Stuyvesant Avenue, etc.).
Housing’s website includes a list of businesses that the gallery asks that visitors who “have never been to the area before” visit. Mentioned are bars and restaurants such as Peaches Hot House, the Crabby Shack, and Brooklyn Blend. It reads, “We kindly ask that you engage with the history & background of the community & its inhabitants, which have witnessed significant shifts & displacement as a result of renovations, new developments &, consequently, inflated pricing.”