Simon Draper has recently invited me to participate in “Habitat for Artists,” a site-specific, collaborative exhibition project in Beacon, NY. Draper, who is interested in concepts regarding habitat and shelter in his own art practice, will provide each artist with a basic 6ft. by 6ft. wood shed, to be considered as an artist’s habitat/workspace throughout the summer.
Project co-organizer Amy Lipton curated a 2006 outdoor exhibition at Abington Art Center Sculpture Park in Philadelphia titled “Habitat” in which Draper participated with his shed titled “Private Reserve.” This work, which remains on view, acts as a shelter and contemplative space for the viewer. For Draper, the work also functions as a metaphor for his personal art making activity and provokes larger questions regarding marginal spaces, artists as pioneers in developing neighborhoods and communities and the ongoing migration of artists from these places they helped to nurture and create.
In this new project, the sheds will function as temporary studio spaces. The question becomes, in a time of escalating prices for artist’s workspace and as artists flee Manhattan and Brooklyn in search of more affordable workspace such as in the Hudson Valley region – how much space does an artist need to create their work? How will this “shantytown” evolve?
Each artist involved in this project will adapt their shed to suit their own needs. The sheds will come outfitted with simple openings, doors, windows or skylight. As much as possible, the materials used in the creation of the structure will consist of reclaimed and re-used components. How they adapt the space will be dependent upon their own resourcefulness and inclination. They may decide to work independently or collectively.
Participating artists include: Sharon Butler, Dar Williams, Chris Albert, Matthew Kinney, Kathy Feighery, Marnie Hillsley, Sara Mussen, Lori Nozick and Roy Staab.
“Habitat for Artists,” Curated by Simon Draper. Beacon, NY. Sponsored by Ecoartspace, Curator Amy Lipton.