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Bosco Sodi
Photograph: Zach Hyman

A new museum is opening in the Catskills this month

Assembly is set to debut in Monticello on May 21.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

A new museum-cum-art-space seeking to bring people together through creativity is set to open in Monticello, in the Catskills, on May 21. Aptly named Assembly, the project is the brainchild of Mexican-born and Brooklyn-based artist Bosco Sodi. 

"I really believe that art is a tool to better understand the universe," says Sodi. "I believe it can help you change your relationship with other humans, with yourself and with nature."

The story of Assembly starts off with a former Buick dealership, the 23,000-square-foot space that Sodi fell in love with and decided to take over and re-purpose.

"Every time I would pass by it, I would remark what a beautiful building it is," he reminisces, mentioning that he actually owns a house nearby. "Two years ago, my family came to celebrate my 50th birthday from Mexico and my brother said to me, 'Did you see that beautiful building that they are selling?'" The rest, as they say, is history.

Photograph: Zach Hyman

This isn't Sodi's first foray into art spaces. He is, in fact, the man behind Casa Wabi, a nonprofit artist residence and foundation in the Mexican province of Oaxaca. He is also responsible for the Santa María exhibition space in Mexico City and the art residency program Casa Nano in Tokyo.

He's also a prolific artist in his own right. A few years ago, his installation "Muro," a wall of bricks made in Mexico, was built in Washington Square Park—and taken down the same day by visitors who took down a brick each.

Photograph: Zach Hyman

But don't expect Assembly to solely be filled with Sodi's own works. The museum is made up of three spaces in total. To kick things off, the inaugural exhibition—organized by Dakin Hart, the senior curator of the Noguchi Museum in Queens—will focus on, according to the New York Times, "artworks [...] rescued from the isolation of storage crates and being re-entered into the world, where they can play their role in the marketplace of ideas."

Other smaller shows will also be on display, including one featuring a number of contemporary sculptures by Sodi himself and 16 other Mexican artists, plus a selection of the founder's pieces (including a smaller version of "Muro").

Sodi explains that, given the magnitude of the project, folks can expect for exhibits to rotate about once a year for now. The museum will be open Thursdays through Sundays by appointment only starting next week.

As for the town's response to the endeavor, Sodi could not have hoped for anything better. "Everyone in Monticello knows about this and is positive about it," he says. "The whole town is on board. We've been contacted by schools and associations to collaborate on projects." Given the fact that no similar venue can be found within 30 minutes of Assembly, the general feedback should come as no surprise.

"Monticello is the second poorest town in the state of New York so people are seeing this with some hope," says Sodi. "We can begin to bring people in and enjoy the Catskills."

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