The scene inside I-20 Gallery was as hot as the temperature outside for last night’s opening of Make Skateboards, a group exhibition and pop-up skate shop that has to be one of the most fun and original exhibits I’ve seen all year. Conceived as a throwback to the days when art took precedence over branding and a welcoming vibe met you at the door, the show is a playful take on running a skateboard shop, transforming I-20 into a functional retail space. While open, the shop will be offering a custom line of artist-designed skateboards, skate-related ephemera and accessories, original artwork, vintage objects, custom furniture and clothing by up-and-coming New York designers. You gotta check this place out!
A true working skate shop, Make Skateboards offers decks that are fully skate-able yet designed to an artistic standard. Two types of boards will be available: affordable, limited-edition silk-screened skateboards; and one-of-a-kind decks altered and embellished by hand, including several conceptual takes on the idea of skateboarding itself.
Video Projection on Board (Left) Next to Curtis Kulig’s “Love Me” on the Right (Photo By Geoffrey Dicker)
Artists participating in the show include: Michael Alan, Michael Anderson, Hawkins Bolden, Tony Bones, Slater Bradley, Carlton DeWoody, Chris Dorland, David Ellis, Orly Genger, Debra Hampton, Drew Heitzler, Horse Cycles, Grant Huang, Andrew Huston, Timothy Hutchings, Junk Prints, Jacob Kassay, Marina Kappos, KCDC, Sarah Kurz, Curtis Kulig, Wes Lang, L.A.N.D., Robert Lazzarini, Cameron Martin, Moris (Israel Meza Moreno), Scott Ogden, Olek, Erik Parker, Parts + Labor Workshop, Joyce Pensato, Portia & Manny, RePOP, Prophet Royal Robertson, Jenn Ruff, Tom Sanford, Eduardo Sarabia, Peter Saul, Bill Saylor, Kenny Scharf, Ivory Serra, Shelter Serra, MiYoung Sohn, Vincent Szarek, WHIT Clothing, Wood & Faulk and Michael Zahn.
A few of my favorite boards are several by Curtis Kulig – famous for his ubiquitous “Love Me” tag that has now been integrated into functional design items and clothing – crochet artist Olek’s yarn-covered deck, Tom Sanford’s Zombie Mao Zedong deck (pictured above) and Kenny Scharfs’ colorful contribution, which features a replica of the design from his amazing mural that was up at Bowery and Houston until just recently.
While contemporary art, skateboarding and other forms of street culture are at the forefront of current popular tastes, these worlds remain surprisingly inaccessible to much of the public. The creative interaction and welcoming feel of Make Skateboards will attempt to bridge this divide from a convenient location in the heart of the Chelsea art district, just a few short blocks from the Pier 62 Skate Park.
Make Skateboards’ inventory will change and grow throughout its two-month run, offering ever-changing aesthetics and variety to art patrons and skaters alike. Some of the pieces exhibited will result from collaborations with community groups such as the Brooklyn-based League Education & Treatment Center’s L.A.N.D. Gallery, a creative-outreach program for artists with disabilities. The shop will also join forces with KCDC, one of New York’s most established and respected skate shops. A string of weekly parties will celebrate new shop arrivals, book signings, album launches, and secret band nights. While most galleries close their doors for much of August, the Make Skateboards shop will stay open, serving as a refuge from the hot summer weather.
Make Skateboards will be on Exhibit Through September 17, 2011 at I-20 Gallery, located at 557 West 23rd Street, New York City. The show was conceived by artist and filmmaker Scott Ogden and organized in conjunction with Gallery Director, Jonathan Lavoie. Summer Hours are Tuesday – Sunday, Noon – 8 PM. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 645-1100.