Long-haul New Yorker’s (and East Villagers like me, especially) constantly bemoan the fact that Manhattan is becoming increasingly gentrified. The innumerable local-business closures caused by the pandemic have only exacerbated the loss of historical identity in an area that was once arguably the coolest neighborhood in NYC. When the legendary Rock & Roll boutique Trash & Vaudeville was forced to relocate from St. Mark’s Place after four decades in the same location, it really felt like nothing is sacred. It is a small conciliation then that a new contemporary art gallery, Public Access, opened this past September in the downstairs storefront formerly occupied by Trash. I recently had the chance to check out the gallery’s current exhibit, a solo show of paintings by artist Marika Thunder entitled Dress Up My Lindsay. The series has an interesting autobiographical backstory for the painter.
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Dress Up My Lindsay presents 10 large-scale oil paintings depicting actress Lindsay Lohan, all based on Thunder’s childhood scrapbook created during the years when the actress was starring in tween-appeal films such as Freaky Friday, The Parent Trap, and Mean Girls, and the artist was a fan of around 9 or 10 years of age. Thunder’s original scrapbook of collaged magazine photos, enhanced by comments in the artist’s juvenile scrawl, appears in a vitrine on display in the gallery.
I wish I had taken a better photo of the scrapbook.
Considering what we know in hindsight about Lindsay Lohan’s career trajectory and her struggles with substance abuse and mental illness, there is a nostalgic mix of fun, sweetness and sadness to these works. The classic good-girl-gone-bad, it’s hard not to get lost in imaginative extrapolation of what might have been had Lohan experienced, say, the benefit of more responsible parenting, for example.
In a majority of the paintings, the rendering of Lohan’s physical likeness is quite accurate, and you can see that Thunder clearly has an abundance of artistic talent. She is an artist whose work indicates a career worth keeping track of.
Public Access is run by Leo Fitzpatrick, an East Village resident and former director at the Marlborough Gallery (and a former child actor as well). Fitzpatrick offers that Public Access aims to showcase local and up-and-coming artists, and to also be a neighborhood space with a welcoming vibe where kids can come and hang out. Sadly, he did confess in our conversation that he may need to find a new home for the gallery sooner rather than later due to a likely rent increase on the space. Landlords aren’t very sentimental in New York City.
Dress Up My Lindsay By Marika Thunder Will Be On View Through April 11th, 2021 at Public Access Gallery, Located at 8 Saint Mark’s Place (Downstairs). Appointments (Recommended But Not Mandatory) Can Be Scheduled at This Link .