Tag Archive | Martina and Frank Russo

Last Rites Gallery Celebrates Amazing Interior Renovation with Two New Exhibits!

“If it works, don’t fix it” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and with good reason. It seems like as soon as you get comfortable with something, or figure out how it operates, it changes – and usually not for the better (see: FaceBook). Those who read this blog regularly know that the Last Rites Gallery is my favorite art space in Manhattan. Also home to the tattoo studio of artist Paul Booth, visiting Last Rites has always felt like going to an art Theme Park or the abandoned set of a horror movie. Aside from the cutting-edge artists they represent, the space has such an engaging vibe that you want to just hang out there, enjoy the art and talk to people for hours. I had no idea that Last Rites was undergoing an extensive renovation that is simply breathtaking. A combination of ambitious visual design and expert execution has come together to make an already unique space even more impressive than you could imagine.

Previously, one entered Last Rites through the dungeon-like tattoo parlor before encountering the brightly lit, white walls of the rear gallery space. With the new redesign, a larger, more open gallery space is now upfront, putting the emphasis on the fantastic art featured in this one of a kind gallery. At the rear of the floor you’ll now find tattoo stations set amid a large and comfortable lounge space, which picks up the darker, Gothic theme with its cathedral-like architectural features, marble finishes, candle-it illumination and dark red fabrics. They’ve also added a separate bar area for serving drinks during opening receptions, promoting a nightclub feel which very much reminds me of the late great Limelight, especially during the era when that club featured a collection of Clive Barker-esque horror art. Paul Booth and his renovation crew from a small basement renovations Toronto, ON have done a simply fantastic job transforming Last Rites into an inviting new venue that must surely exceed their expectations, vastly improving on a space that I never even thought needed to change a thing. Great job guys!

Friday July 22nd marked the gallery’s grand reopening, where the scene was lively and welcoming. In the crowd we spotted Martina and Frank Russo from the MF Gallery and Kevin Wilson of Sacred Gallery on lower Broadway, as well as artists Michael Mararian and Jason D’Aquino (both of whom have previously exhibited at Last Rites), hot artist Martin Wittfooth and the wildly talented Eric “Eyeball” Richardson – who assisted with the renovation and told me that they had only just finished painting the walls a couple of hours prior to opening the doors that evening.


“Racecar” By Chet Zar

In what was a fantastic atmosphere to talk with artists whose work I love and to catch up with friends, it seemed like everybody on the Manhattan art scene was there to congratulate Paul and to enjoy two new exhibits: Chet Zar’s Faces of Death and Craig LaRotonda’s Eternal Consequences. Faces of Death fills the front of the gallery with Zar’s collection of gruesome yet compelling portraiture featuring an otherworldly group of subjects – alien to us but somehow not unsympathetic nor entirely unfamiliar to each other. Zar’s paintings are bold and disquieting but, much like Travis Louie’s Curiosities series, they encourage imaginative extrapolation in the viewer as to who these beings are, what kind of world they inhabit and how they came to sit for these portraits.


“Pink Elephant” By Chet Zar

Craig LaRotonda’s Eternal Consequences consists of portraits of anthropomorphized primates painted in a religious or renaissance style; very provocative and quite a departure from the artist’s previous works. With Last Rites extended evening hours, escape the heat and head over to check out the new space before these exhibits end.

Chet Zar’s Faces of Death and Craig LaRotonda’s Eternal Consequences will be on Exhibit through at August 18, 2011 at Last Rites Gallery, Located at 511 W. 33rd Street, 3rd Floor, New York City. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 2 – 9 PM and Sunday 2 – 6 PM.

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MF Gallery Presents the 2010 Toys Show Exhibit!

For the eighth year in a row, MF Gallery proudly presents a Holiday Season Art Show of hand-made Designer Toys. The pieces in this show are produced in very limited quantities by some of today’s top Underground Artists. Each item is a one-of-a-kind work of art, making them highly sought after collectibles. These toys make great unique gifts, because no two are exactly alike! Most of the items in this show are priced between $10 and $100, making them affordable to all collectors. Not sure what to buy for that friend of yours who has everything? Want to get yourself something extra special this Holiday Season? Why not pick up a collectable Art Toy from The 2010 MF Toys Show? Or you can also get some spinning toy to pass time from Top9rated fidget list, is really fun.


“Blibby” Plush By Jenny Harada

This year’s show includes pieces by: MF Toys, Jennybird Alcantara, Christine Benjamin, Sheri Debow, Jacqui Gallant, Heather Gargon, Jenny Harada, Moses Jaen, Abe Lincoln Jr., Enrico Macchiavello, Drew Maillard, Matt Maguire, Angie Mason, Bianca Panzram, Julie Pinzur, Veronika Rabinovich, Carisa Swenson and many others!

“Make Of Our Hearts One Heart” Doll by Sheri Debow

The 2010 MF Toys Show will be open by appointment only until Thursday December 23rd. You can contact Martina or Frank at (917)446-8681 or email info@MFgallery.net for an appointment, questions or press inquiries. The toys in the show can also be viewed and purchased online at MF Gallery Dot Net and can be shipped anywhere in the world in time for Christmas!

MF Gallery is located at 213 Bond Street (Between Butler and Baltic Streets) in Brooklyn, NY. Take the F or G to Bergen, (Exit at Bergen and Smith, walk 2 blocks east on Bergen. Turn right on Bond. Walk south on Bond for 3 blocks), the A to Hoyt/ Schermerhorn, (Exit at Schermerhorn and Bond. Walk South on Bond for 8 blocks), or the R to Union. (Exit at Union and 4th Ave. Walk west on Union for 3 blocks. Turn Right on Bond. Walk North on Bond for 4 blocks.)

Must See Art: I Need Your Skull!

“Urrrr” By John Russo ($130)

All Photos By Geoffrey Dicker

Readers who recall the joys of Skull Week, which we celebrated here on the Worley Gig back in October of 2008, know that we love skulls! Right now, Brooklyn’s MF Gallery is featuring a truly unique exhibit called I Need Your Skull and, as you might infer from the title, it is a collection of skull-themed art that will knock your socks off.

“Winged Skull” By Annie Aube ($400)

From Soft, plush skull sculptures that look and feel downright cuddly to needlepoint skulls to wood cuts, triptychs and traditional paintings on canvas, the diversity represented by the 30 plus international artists who contributed to this exhibit surely means there is something for everyone! Since MF’s hours are by appointment only, co-owner Martina Russo, who operates the gallery with her husband Frank (they are both artists) was kind enough to open the gallery on a Sunday afternoon so Geoffrey and I could enjoy the skulls and thus share them with you (see more pictures on his blog, According 2 G).

“My Flame Broiled Skull” By Lance Laurie ($350)

All proceeds from the sales of Skull artworks will be going towards purchase of a custom constructed 20 foot tall fiberglass skull, which will adorn the front of the gallery building. I see a ton of contemporary art and I must say that these works are very reasonably priced (most under $500). Please help MF Gallery realize its dream!

Partial Gallery Shot, Click Image to Enlarge

I Need Your Skull will be on display through June 20, 2010 at the MF Gallery, located at 213 Bond Street in Brooklyn (Take the F Train from Manhattan). If you can’t make it to Brooklyn, you can also see the art and make purchases through MF’s website at this link.