By the artists, for the artists
Fri Nov 10 2006
On Wednesday night, propelled to a party by my renewed faith in democracy, I headed down to Soho for Artists Space's annual benefit, "Night of 1,000 Drawings." The nonprofit gallery—which on a normal day feels friendlier than most NYC art spaces—was especially convivial, buzzing with gallerygoers talking loudly, clinking bottles of free beer and graciously buying up affordable artworks (all of them priced between $35 and $65). I was impressed by the success of the arrangement: a whole lot of drawings (maybe not quite a thousand, but close), all hung by binder clips and strung across the gallery walls in four tiers. No fancy frames, no real order, just artists' works suspended next to other artists' works in simple solidarity. When a show admits all submissions unconditionally (as this one does), there's a real potential for disaster. But the charming pieces outnumbered the naive and distasteful ones, and overall the show was a smashing success—for all parties involved. For one night, every artist went home feeling noticed—even broke-as-a-joke art lovers walked out with original drawings under their arms, and Artists Space raked in a good profit. God love an egalitarian system that works.